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 B.C. Canada: Places to visit, things to see??
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DrifterNL
Hobo

Netherlands
82 Posts

Posted - 05/17/2012 :  15:22:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have been thinking about taking a trip to B.C. and all though I have a few places I would like to visit I was wondering if anybody had any suggestions on places to visit and things to see in British Columbia (railroad related or not).
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Oh... and any hotel recommendations.


Born and lived in Ont. Canada

da_kraut
Hobo

Canada
13 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2012 :  03:57:22  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi, this is a suggestion you might enjoy:

I was at the spiral tunnels in 2008. If you plan on flying out there, this is what I would recommend:

Fly to Calgary. From Calgary it is about 2 hours by car to the Rockies. Make sure your car has a sun roof, so that you can see all of the mountains. From Banff head west on Highway 1. Just outside of town there is a road that exits on the right side, it is called "Bow Valley PKWY" It is nothing more then a two lane road that winds its way along the base of the mountains on the one side and the river on the other. Between the river and the road is the CP. This road basically leads to Lake Louise, BUT shortly before you get to Lake Louise on this PKWY is Morants Curve. You can not miss this spot, there is even a lookout made for you to stop your car safely.

After Morants Curve you can continue to head west. After about a hours drive on Highway 1 you will come across the lookout for the spiral tunnels. It is actually a tourist attraction and you can pull off of the highway, at a location where they have these stationary binoculars that you pay a quarter for to use. While driving to the spiral tunnels from Morants curve you will have driven in parallel with the CP tracks practically all the way, but hidden from view due to rocks and trees.

Unfortunately all the vegetation covers up a lot of the train as it enters the lower spiral tunnel when you are watching from the look out location. When I was there I was able to watch a freight of tripple auto carriers snake through the spiral tunnel, then jumped in the car, drove for about half an hour to a road crossing, watched the same train still climbing a grade, then hoped back into the car and drove to Morants Curve and saw the same freight in full dynamics going towards Banff.

So if you ever get a chance to go out that way, enjoy and hope the above helps.

frank
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RhB_HJ
Hobo

Canada
52 Posts

Posted - 08/11/2012 :  23:35:53  Show Profile  Visit RhB_HJ's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Where to start?

Best bet, fly to Vancouver, rent a car.

First do a little side trip to Whistler - alpine location of the 2012 Olympics. Best time it so you're chasing the Whistler Rocky Mountaineer going up in the morning. Some excellent shooting locations along the shore line to Squamish and in the Chekamus Canyon (between Squamish and Whistler). On the way back to Vancouver stop in at the RR museum in Squamish.

Next start driving East to Hope (On the freeway!). At Hope take the exit to Hwy1 (TransCanadaHighway THC) and follow it through the Fraser and Thompson Canyons. There are very, very many places to get good pictures and video along the way. Keep following the TCH to Kamloops. Before you get to Kamloops there is a super view point at Cherry Creek (clearly marked at the summit of that climb) way above Kamloops Lake. CN is on the Northside of the lake and CP on the South.

Vancouver to Kamloops is an easy one day trip with a lot of stops.

Leaving Kamloops follow the TCH to Revelstoke. Lots of good spots along the South Thompson river. The CP does a big climb over Notch Hill (between Chase and Tappan), the grade separates on top of the hill, the Eastbounds use the old line down to Tappan, the westbound line does a very big loop at a lesser grade. Setting up in that loop you can follow the train through 250.
Next town is Salmon Arm. Between Salmon Arm and Sicamous the line runs along Shuswap lake. Big thing at Sicamous: the line crosses the river on a swivel bridge. Sicamous is the house boat capital of Canada, the bridge opens and closes quite regularly (during summer season) to let the large house boats pass.
A few miles East of Sicamous is Craigellachie - location of the Last Spike on the CP - with a souvenir shop that has some very interesting books apart from the usual touristy stuff.
Next is Three Valley Gap with another super photo/video location, then up Eagle Pass there are the tunnels at Clanwilliam.

Revelstoke has a RR museum, a large yard and mechanical facilities.

Driving East over Rogers Pass there are many photo/video spots on the west- and on the east slope.

After many intermediate stops you get to Golden and stop for the night.
There is a large coal yard at Golden - along with repair/maintenance facility - where the westbound 127+ car coal unit trains are assembled.

Next comes the west ramp of the Kicking Horse Pass. A few miles into Kicking Horse Canyon is a Rest Stop - right across the river is the CP line and the Glenogle siding on a hefty 2.1 and 2.2% grade - a good spot to catch the trains. If you're lucky the Westbound will be waiting for an Eastbound going up the hill. Good photo/video spots all along the route up to field.
Often you see the spots at the last minute - trust me, I do a lot of backtracking to get that train at that other spot just 2+ kms back , this despite me living here and being on the video chase once a week.
Field is the bottom of the Big Hill and the Spiral tunnels. It is also the crew change point - the other ones are North Bend in the Fraser Canyon, Kamloops and Revelstoke.
Big yard and some remnants of what used to be.
da_kraut gave a pretty good summary of what is between there and Banff. All I'd add to that, there are some good photo spots but you have to hike a little.

Anything else? Yes, check out the following albums on my video site

http://www.vimeo.com/album/99657 CP Trains etc.

http://www.vimeo.com/album/99662 CN Trains etc.

http://www.vimeo.com/album/101192 Rocky Mountaineer

Hope that helps!

Cheers

HJ
----
H-J Mueller
Coldstream BC Canada
http://www.rhb-grischun.ca
http://www.easternmountainmodels.com
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