Sleeping on the Canadian for me involves waking up and going back to sleep fairly frequently what with all the bumps, stops, starts and noise from passing freight trains. Consequently the quality and quantity of my slumber left something to be desired. As such, when I woke up, if I was in a state where I felt renewed sleep was merely a eye closure away, I closed my eyes.
On Tuesday morn, I was aware of odd clunking noises from ahead of me, but I wished a few more winks even more than finding out what they were. I therefore missed the panorama car being added to the middle of the train just ahead of my car.
Afterwards, I made my way back down the Train. I stopped in the dome car to ask Cathy, the entertainment coordinator about the scarcity of kids with an eye towards Désirée. She laughed and said that during the summer months it was like kindergarten! She described several of the activities she typically organized. Seems my observations in a previous entry was wrong or at least not always the case.
Contrary to my expectation, the panorama car was not a dome, not rising above level of the other cars' roofs. It did have windows that curved to form most of the roof. They gave a very good view of the passing scenery.
I returned to my roomette for a morning snooze. I then sorted my clobber somewhat, before heading forwards for brunch. I ate in the company of Diane, one of the Brits and two others whose names elude me. I had French toast stuffed with cheesecake. Very indulgent, as was the complimentary mimosa. Borderline decadent.
As the Train rolled into Jasper, I noticed the Skeena train waiting on a siding. It consisted of a single locomotive and four cars. It looked dumpy in comparison to the twenty-two cars and two locomotives of the Canadian. :-) Incidentally, I was told that of the two locomotives, only one was actually pulling the Train. The other one was generating electricity (or head end power) for all the cars! This makes the locomotives all the more impressive as a staff member passed around a history of the Canadian with pictures of the it from the old days. None of them had as many cars as "my" edition but for ones approaching it, they had as many as four locomotives pulling. Evidently, the power of modern diesels has improved a lot.
It was gorgeously sunny as I strolled the streets of Jasper. I caught sight of a Supermoose T-shirt in a shop window. I didn't resist. I noticed a bike parked next to the end car of the Canadian. My guess was that it was used by the staff to make faster end to end transits. I was later find out more about the peculiar origins of said bike.
So all aboard the now twenty-five car train minus the load of Brits but plus a crew of Road Scholars from the States. I chatted with a number of them. A common thread of conversation in general was Via Rail versus Amtrak. (I had to inform one man from Colorado that it was "Via Rail", not "V.I.A. Rail"! It had been driving me nuts.) The consensus was that Via Rail generally came off better than Amtrak, especially the Canadian. However, I pointed out that Via had the "unfair" advantage over Amtrak as it had an obvious flagship train service into which it could pour its resources, whereas as Amtrak has many potential prestige runs. Now that I think about, I don't know if it has any one train comes as close as the Canadian does for coast-to-coast service. Not to mention the fact that it has to consider North-South service as well as East-West. If there were to be an Amtrak flagship run, it would likely be a New York to Los Angeles train.
I had walked back to the Park car for a G and T and was having a nice chat when I heard my service for supper being called. I made my way hastily back up the quarter mile to the dining car, where I had some wonderful short ribs in the company of Jill, a self-described wine snob from Napa Valley and Tom, a Road Scholar from Wisconsin. I got the impression the latter was hitting on the former to her bemusement.
I gathered my clobber from my room and set off up the Train where I made the acquaintance of Janet, the train manager. It turned out she was a cycle tourist herself recently returned from a Vancouver-Alaska trip. On that trip, she and her partner had found a bicycle in the ditch still attached to a bumper that was not still attached to an RV. As it was functional, they disassembled it in order to haul it out on their bikes! If I recall correctly, this was somewhere in the Yukon. The bike was the one I'd seen in Jasper, now used for train work.