Friday, 8 August 2014


One day (when I was about five years old) Dad had a medical appointment at a doctor's office in Mission and Mom needed to do some shopping so all of us went. At that time there was a passenger train that came out from Vancouver on the Canadian Pacific Railway line each morning, went up the valley to Mission, and then returned. Also, there was the fledgeling Pacific Stage Lines bus which covered the same route.

Dad and Mom decided that we would take the train into Mission and back and I was so excited! We went to the railway station in Ruskin and waited and waited and waited - but no train! There was no other option but that we take the bus. I was so disappointed that I was sobbing - and I have never had the opportunity to ride on a train in the Fraser Valley - nor did I get to ride on any train until I was in my late teens.

Alda and Leo had met each other, fallen in love, were married and moved to Forest Grove in the Cariboo country. I was an articled student at a chartered accountant's office in New Westminster by that time and was earning a salary so - when my vacation time arrived - I decided to spend part of it with Alda and Leo at Forest Grove.

I had heard that a railway connecting Vancouver and Prince George was being planned by the B.C. Provincial Government and that it had been completed. As the train stopped at Exeter (the railway station for the 100 Mile House area) I decided to take the train and ride in more comfort than a seat on a Greyhound bus! As the entire trip from end to end could be accomplished in one day, the train consisted of an engine, a baggage car and a passenger coach. It left the 'home' station in North Vancouver at 8:00 AM and arrived at  Exeter in mid afternoon (a railway employee came through the car with sandwiches and drinks so there were refreshments).

The line was brand new and - for most of the route - the scenery was spectacular! After passing through the suburban areas of North and West Vancouver the railway hugged the eastern side of Howe Sound (which actually is a fjord) stopping at Britannia Beach and Woodfibre on the way to Squamish which is at the head of the sound. Leaving Squamish the railway climbed up to what is now the resort area around Whistler and on to the Pemberton Valley.

                                                    The Pemberton Valley

Thanks to Michael W. of Vancouver for giving me permission to use two of his photos.

Leaving Pemberton the railway passes along the shore of two mountain lakes - Anderson and Seton. I am not sure if the following photo was taken along the shore of either of them but this will give you an idea of the scenery.

                                    This photo is also through the generosity of Michael W.

Leaving the lakes the railway descends to the bank of the Fraser River and the historic town of Lillooet and then wends its way up onto the interior plateau known locally as 'Cariboo Country'.

I never rode on the railway beyond Exeter - my travels further north were always by driving up the Cariboo Highway (or riding the Greyhound bus through Williams Lake and Quesnel to Prince George).

In Australia I rode on trains to Alice Springs and back - which were memorable rides described in my blogs about living there - from Kalgoorlie to Melbourne (mentioned in my blogs about traveling around that continent) - around the State of Victoria and from Brisbane north to Gladstone and back  while journeying to and from Heron Island.

On a trip to visit me a few years ago, Ric had his itinerary disrupted by sudden changes to flights on American Airlines so had to return to his home via Amtrak. He was so impressed by that experience he has promised me that we will do that same trip together.

I am looking forward to that!  

No comments:

Post a Comment