Irish Sunday Mirror - - TRAVEL -

Rocky Moun­taineer’s First Pas­sage to the West trip in Goldleaf Ser­vice starts at €1,431pp for two shar­ing: two days on the train, ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion for one night in Kam­loops. rock­y­moun­, 0044 800 0885 541

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are re­flected in vast lakes.thin wa­ter­falls cas­cade down cliffs, feed­ing bub­bling rivers that course over rocks and un­der bridges.

We passed the scene of the Great Train Rob­bery of 1906. That may be a bit of an ex­ag­ger­a­tion as the Billy Miner Gang took $15 and a hand­ful of liver pills be­fore be­ing caught shortly af­ter­wards.

At times, even the great Rocky Moun­taineer was halted, lit­er­ally in its tracks, as mile-long con­voys of freight trucks rum­bled by. Then it was back en route into Glacier National Park and across Stoney Creek Bridge be­fore cross­ing Kick­ing Horse River seven times.

Our car­riage lights dimmed to blue as we en­tered the first, 3,255ft-long, spi­ral tun­nel, emerg­ing 50ft higher af­ter turn­ing 290 de­grees. We gained an­other 56ft af­ter the sec­ond, 2,933ft­long, spi­ral that turns 230 de­grees. Pick­ing up speed as we headed down­ward again, we en­joyed pic­ture­post­card land­scapes as we passed Lake Louise and pulled into Banff.

But this fi­nal stop doesn’t have to be the end of the Rocky Moun­taineer ad­ven­ture. You can add on ex­cur­sions in­clud­ing a cruise across Lake Min­newanka, a raft trip on the Bow River in Banff or a guided hike in Jasper.

Many Bri­tish hol­i­day­mak­ers com­bine the train with a cruise from Van­cou­ver to Alaska. Guests can also buy self-drive pack­ages to ex­plore more scenery. In 2019, these will in­clude a stay at Sun­shine Vil­lage, known as Canada’s top hik­ing area with an el­e­va­tion of 7,200ft, two nights at the newly con­structed Mal­colm Ho­tel in Can­more, or two nights at Pomeroy Kananaskis Moun­tain Lodge in rugged ter­rain.

In Banff, our group stayed at the Rim­rock Re­sort Ho­tel, which has fan­tas­tic views of the Rock­ies from many of its rooms.

Wak­ing up early and watch­ing from my bed as the sun rose over 9,672ft-high Mount Run­dle was a mag­i­cal start to the day.

Later, I popped over the road to bathe in nat­u­ral hot springs where the water tem­per­a­ture can reach a com­fort­ing 40C be­fore tak­ing a ca­ble car to the sum­mit of Sul­phur Moun­tain for breath­tak­ing views over the town.

What­ever else you do while you’re in this beau­ti­ful part of the world, a jour­ney on its fan­tas­tic rail­way is a once-in-a-life­time ex­pe­ri­ence.

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