Western Canada by train: Rockies on a roll (Guardian)

Western Canada by train: Rockies on a roll (Guardian)

Robin Williams once described Canada as a luxury loft apartment that sits above a really great party. The comparison flattered the United States (presumably the fun place underneath), but you can see what he meant. Canada is a soothing oasis that has space and tranquillity. It’s a destination that is … well it’s lofty. And given that Canadians are this year celebrating their homeland’s 150th birthday, it should be a priority in any self-respecting traveller’s bucket list.

And to be specific about its attractions, there is nothing to beat the Rockies, one of the planet’s greatest mountain ranges: a wilderness of glittering white peaks, hidden valleys, vast forests, very few people and a smattering of wonderful animals that include wolves, elks and bears. All you have to do is to find a way to see these wonders.

The solution is straightforward: take the train. The Rockies have some truly spectacular rail routes that were carved into mountain sides and cliffs, and over alarmingly narrow ledges, in the late 19th century as Canada opened up its western reaches. Vast freight trains, some with more than 100 wagons, still trundle over them – though today these are interspersed with the elegant, double-decker Rocky Mountaineer trains which have been transporting visitors for more than 25 years through western Canada. This is the stylish way to see the mountains. Read more

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