9 October 2016
Again I found it difficult to sleep. We must have stopped at Edmonton very early in the morning (around 1.30am) but I don’t remember it. However, I was awake around 4.15am - we were stopped somewhere with lights and signs of civilisation and the train moved backwards and forwards several times, shuddering and making a lot of noise.
I finally went back to sleep and woke up around 7.00am. It was dark but I could still see that everything was coated in snow. When I first went up to the dome car there was ice on the outside of the glass. We had moved away from the mountains and were travelling through more level farming country with sparse spindly trees.
Another morning of watching the scenery go by! We arrived at Saskatoon at 1.30 for a twenty minute refuelling stop, which turned into a forty minute stop. I didn’t get out because it was raining and looked really cold. After Saskatoon the snow covering became patches of snow and eventually no snow (we are heading south).
During the afternoon there was an announcement that we are now running six hours behind schedule … six hours! We seem to spend more time stopped for freight trains than actually travelling. And the freight trains are huge. A passenger said that there could be more freight trains on the rails today because tomorrow is Canadian Thanksgiving and with less traffic tomorrow we should be able to make up some time … I hope he was right.
I was talking to a couple at dinner and they had taken the same train from Toronto to Vancouver and now they were going back … I couldn’t handle doing this trip twice. On the first trip they had seen the Northern Lights late at night over the open plains where we are now. Although the weather has cleared I’m not hopeful but I’ll be watching for the green tinge in the sky tonight.
10 October 2016
I kept checking through the window but no green tinge of the Northern Lights. Another night of disturbed sleep and I’m starting to feel very tired. We arrived in Winnipeg sometime between 3.00 and 4.00am and stopped there for over an hour as there was a changeover of staff. Winnipeg looked to be quite a large modern city with a lot of high-rise buildings.
After breakfast and a shower (quite an experience on a train) I got back to watching the world go by. We had left the open plains behind, then we were surround by lakes in Northern Ontario, with huge expanses of water. The train made a short refuelling stop at Sioux Lookout. The train didn’t make up any time last night and after lunch was seven hours behind schedule.
Today was Canadian Thanksgiving and for dinner I had turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce with mashed potato and broccoli. I thought I’d better try the pumpkin pie for desert … I didn’t particularly like it but at least I’ve tried it now.
I’ll be really pleased to get off the train tomorrow and won’t be in a hurry to take another long distance train journey. It’s been a very long three days. I chose The Canadian train trip because it fitted in with my other plans and I like to try new types of travel, and I thought it might be fun. But I haven’t enjoyed the jolting movement of the train and the tedium of just sitting (eating or watching the scenery). Or the constant waiting for freight trains – at dinner time the train stopped for an hour waiting for a freight train to arrive. On the positive side I got to see snow falling and see the landscape covered in fresh snow … that was incredible.
We were originally scheduled to arrive in Toronto at 9.30am tomorrow, so if we don’t make up any time arrival with be 4.30pm or even later if we lose more time!
11 October 2016
This morning’s revised time of arrival in Toronto is 2.30pm – the train seemed to be travelling quite fast during the night so must have made up a couple of hours.
Today’s scenery was lakes and rivers fringed by trees bearing leaves of vibrant autumn colours. Further north the autumn leaves had already disappeared but we were travelling south and the trees were beautiful shades of red, yellow and orange. And the sun was shining brightly.
We arrived at Toronto Union Station at 2.30pm – only five hours behind schedule. I travelled with VIARail but the train tracks are owned by Canadian National Railway (CN) and VIARail pay for the use of the tracks but don’t have right of way when there is a single track , which seemed to be a lot of the way.
I made my way to the Union Pearson train (the city - airport train) and my friend Judith was waiting at the airport to take me to her place. After a couple of days on the train it was so nice to be welcomed into a lovely home with a big comfortable bed.