Monday, 30 September 2013

Vancouver or Bust

Canadian Pacific Railway's eastbound Train 2 crossing the famed Stoney Creek bridge east of Rogers Pass. Borrowed from the internet, this photo had no details, however, the image appears to be the Nicholas Morant photo that graced CPR public timetable covers in the 1950's.

If the calendar below looks at all familiar, then it is probably because CNR came up with the same tiered-fare concept ten years earlier in a more colourful manner known as, "Red, White and Blue"

My life-long dream at that time was to travel across Canada on CPR's famous train, "The Canadian" and something that I had planned for years. 

When one is young, a few years does seem like a definition of forever, but now...

This is the back of CP Rail's April 29, 1973, passenger train system timetable.

$76.00 was the cost of a one-way coach seat from Montreal to Vancouver on CP Rail's premier train "The Canadian" but meals not included. 

The cost may not seem high today but in 1973, $76.00 was more than a summer student's minimum wage, week's salary before taxes.

Although the date was not recorded, my train journey across Canada started on September 19, 1973, to take advantage of the lower fare for Wednesday departure and to arrive in Vancouver on Saturday, September 22, so that someone could meet me upon arrival.

The return trip on a "gray" date in October was less at $58.00.

In 1973, CP Rail tickets did not come with copies or a receipt.

This undated gray ticket receipt was issued by the train's originating conductor when my ticket was lifted. During the journey and after departing from crew-change stations, the relieving conductors would re-check lifted tickets against the receipts....and yes, even in the middle of the night.

Serving as home for 3 days and nights, Seat 18 in Car 173 was in the forward coach section of the skyline dome car. Today, Via Rail's skyline dome cars (inherited from CP Rail) no longer have a forward coach section. Also today, Via Rail runs the skylines cars in reverse direction in their trains.

Inside the April 29, 1973, pocket schedule for "The Canadian" included with the ticket and  ticket folder.

One significant change over the last 40 years is that most of the 435.3 miles of the Canadian Pacific Railway between Montreal and Sudbury no longer exist; first traffic changes, then abandonments and finally scrappers eventually taking their toll.

The Oddblock Station Agent

Addendum July 15, 2014

By chance I came across this image on the internet and the scene depicted reminded me of my first arrival into Vancouver on this train in September 1973... including the gray sky.

Circa early 1970's - CP Rail's Train 1 - "The Canadian" arrived at Vancouver.   (M.S. Horne photo)

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