I was lucky enough to travel on the Rocky Mountaineer train from Vancouver, Kamloops, through the Canadian Rockies to Banff and then on to Calgary in late April 2018, on the First Passage to the West route.
The Rocky Mountaineer is the largest, privately owned luxury tourist train company in the world.
Did you know that the Rocky Mountaineer have their own train station in Vancouver? We were welcomed into the buzz and excitement of joining this iconic train journey through the Canadian Rockies by a man playing a Grand Piano, he was very good! There was merchandise for sale as well as complimentary coffee. When it was time or board the train a fellow passenger was welcomed onto a podium to have everyone sing ‘happy birthday’ to and then she rung the train bell, announcing that it was time to board before a bag-piper piped us all out on to the platform. All of the Rocky Mountaineer staff from the stations came out the wave the train off, which was a lovely touch.
There are 4 different itineraries that you can take on the Rocky Mountaineer -
First Passage to the West – Vancouver, Kamloops, Banff, Calgary
Coastal Passage – Seattle, Vancouver, Canadian Rockies
Journey through the Clouds – Vancouver, Kamloops, Jasper
Rainforest to Gold Rush – Vancouver, Whistler, Quesnel, Jasper
All Rocky Mountaineer train journeys can be combined with additional land tours, cruises or can be combined to make circle itineraries.
Did you know that you can have a conference or team meeting on-board the Rocky Mountaineer? Rocky Mountaineer have a custom built carriage that can be added to the train for conferences or meetings.
There are two categories to carriages on the Rocky Mountaineer -
Gold Leaf – this is a bi-level carriage that has a full glass-dome so you can get the best views of the Rockies as you travel through. The seats are very comfortable - I would liken them to business class seating on an aircraft. On the lower lever of the carriage is the dining room where your daily breakfast and lunch is served.
Silver Leaf – this is a single level carriage with an oversized glass-dome, where you breakfast and lunch is served at your seat (there is ample leg room).
The glass in both Gold Leaf and Silver Leaf are UV-protected but I would recommend sunglasses and even a sunhat.
I was able to sample both Gold Leaf and Silver Leaf and found the staff in both categories to be very knowledgeable able the environments/towns etc. that we were travelling through and the food excellent.
The days’ travel on the train were between 9 and 11 hours, this can vary depending on how busy the train lines are on the day as the train may have to pull into a siding to let a freight train pass heading in the opposite direction.
See Part 2 for more on the First Passage to the West itinerary