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Irish Sunday Mirror - - TRAVEL -

WDave on the view­ing plat­form in­d­ing be­side rivers, clat­ter­ing through forests and chug­ging up snow-capped peaks, the iconic Rocky Moun­taineer, with its lux­u­ri­ous dou­ble-decker Goldleaf car­riages, is as far re­moved from our com­muter ser­vices as it’s pos­si­ble to be.

I trav­elled along the high­est part of the net­work, from Van­cou­ver on the west coast nearly 600 miles to Banff in the mid­dle of the moun­tain range.

As we crossed the con­ti­nen­tal di­vide, where rivers flow one way to the Pa­cific and the other to the At­lantic, we reached 5,332ft above sea level, the twin diesel lo­cos pulling 11 car­riages round two spi­ral tun­nels cut into the peaks.

Six of the car­riages were Goldleaf, the most lux­u­ri­ous level of ser­vice, with an ob­ser­va­tion dome on top and din­ing room un­der­neath. A small team of cooks pre­pared two sit­tings for break­fast and lunch, with a choice of mouth­wa­ter­ing dishes.

Even so, the scenery is so spec­tac­u­lar it’s hard to drag your­self away from your comfy, ad­justable seat up­stairs.

Our jour­ney be­gan with a flight to Van­cou­ver and a night at the “cas­tle in the city” Fair­mont Ho­tel. Early next morn­ing, a bag­piper wel­comed us on board at the Rocky Moun­taineer sta­tion.

As the train slowly picked up pace on the way out of the city, the rail­way fol­lowed the Fraser River, pass­ing Hell’s Gate, where 200 mil­lion gal­lons of water surge through the canyon ev­ery minute.

With a his­tory of hunters, pi­o­neers and gold min­ers, it was no sur­prise that the place names were as colour­ful as the land­scape - af­ter Rain­bow Canyon came Avalanche Al­ley and Jaws of Death Gorge.

Fol­low­ing an overnight stay at the town of Kam­loops, we were up again at 6am as the smartly dressed crew waited out­side the car­riages to guide us back to our seats.

For the rest of the day they didn’t seem to stop, whether it was lay­ing ta­bles for meals, serv­ing food, drink and snacks, an­nounc­ing any sight­ings of wildlife such as bear, moose, Un­in­ter­rupted views in Goldleaf car­riage ea­gle, osprey or elk, or com­men­tat­ing on the places we were travelling through.

Goldleaf car­riages have open plat­forms at the back where you can feel the rush of the air, hear the screech of the wheels and take un­ob­structed pho­to­graphs.

Pack spare camera bat­ter­ies and mem­ory cards be­cause there’s a pho­to­genic scene around al­most ev­ery bend as the train snakes along­side the water. Moun­tains, trees and re­mote town­ships

Cross­ing Fraser River



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