Canada Main Line May 2011
Having arrived into Winnipeg by air we soon found out from the information desk what bus we needed to catch into town, and where to get off near to our hotel, the Humphrey Inn & Suites. As it turned out our bus driver was an Englishman, who was as withered as us to find another English accent on the bus. Our journey into town was free as a result!
The Humphrey Inn & Suites is in walking distance of Winnipeg Union Railway Station, it was quite a nice hotel too, the staff were very friendly and told us all the best places to eat and drink nearby.
Our VIA Rail train #693 1205 Winnipeg Union – Churchill was formed of 2 x VIA Rail F40’s (6413/6421), baggage car, 2 x coach car, dome/dining car & sleeping car, only load 5. And with only 12 people on board we set off at 1205, bang on time. We spent the whole of the journey in the dome car talking to other passengers, there were more foreigners than natives on board and two other English folk too! The on board staff had been doing the run for years, and years, one of which could even remember the “good old days” when VIA used to use MLW FPA4s! What we’d have done to have those on the front of the train eh…..?
Lunch on board wasn’t up to much, just sandwiches or a burger, however dinner was nothing short of excellent. Freshly prepared by the travelling chef. My beef was cracking. Unfortunately VIA have now replaced the travelling chef with microwave meals…….
The pouring rain we’d started out from Winnipeg in gave way in the afternoon to glorious sunshine, which made for some fantastic viewing from the dome car, which was by all accounts a trial putting it on the train. It certainly cut out the monotony of what the journey would probably have been.
The only downfall of the trip was the fact that we got dumped into The Pas, Manitoba at 0220 the following morning, while everyone else on board was asleep. The inbound Churchill – Winnipeg was already in the station waiting to leave when we arrived.