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New Skeena review

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jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
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Somewhere in Southern Ontario
For those interested, here is a recent review of VIA's Skeena route in northern Alberta and British Columbia. It used to be an overnight train, but now stops at the mid-point, requiring a hotel stay. It shows the service during the pandemic and a couple of problems along the way. The reviewer is Mike Downie.

Part 1

Part 2
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
2,291
Location
Somewhere in Southern Ontario
Nice videos, thanks for posting!

Boy, talk about a “private train”...😎
If only they'd had access to the Park car for that scenery.

Also, given the discussions on this and other forums regarding food service, cafe cars and contemporary dining, I wonder who'd be anxious to sign up for two 12+ hour rides in coach with no food or beverages even for purchase.
 

railiner

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Joined
Mar 20, 2009
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Palm Beach County
Why is the Park Car unavailble?
I would imagine to minimize the motion of people and consequently contact and risk of spreading virus. I believe they want to discourage recreational travel, and limit it to only “essential” travel, such as the “grocery run” for one of the other passengers.?

I was surprised that they did have that “tour group”...
 

Seaboard92

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Dec 31, 2014
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South Carolina
I really liked his video. He's young, he's fun, and seams like an all around nice guy. And the scenery just convinced me that i need to ride the Skeena as soon as I can. That was beautiful. I also love the stretch stops at random sidings along the route. Consider the Skeena added to my travel list for 2021. Now I wish they would extend it to Edmonton so you could get the access from the airport there.
 

Palmetto

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May 12, 2014
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Miami
I’d love to ride it one way, and then the Alaska Ferry down to Bellingham.

But I’m going to wait until access to the dome is restored...😉
That sounds like a good plan. It's one I've been thinking about, as well.
 
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Willbridge

OBS Chief
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Mar 30, 2019
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Denver
The CN used to sell this as part of a triangle package. The round trip on the Skeena line was a bit too much for some people but with the triangle one sailed on the CN steamer for the Prince Rupert > Vancouver, BC or v.v. side of the triangle. It gave them something to compete with the CP ships making the Inside Passage trip both ways. One can still do this but as with many things it's more complicated now than when it was a single carrier.

As I watched these enjoyable videos I was reminded of my dentist in San Francisco. In WWII he was assigned as a dentist in the U.S. Army at Prince Rupert (for American readers, the railhead for supplying Alaska). They were given Overseas pay. Nevertheless, Easterners bitched that they'd rather be somewhere in Europe where they'd be -- or feel -- closer to home. He, on the other hand, rode the train home to San Francisco for Christmas. He did admit that Prince Rupert winter nights in the wartime blackout was not much fun for soldiers who fell off the wooden boardwalks and banged up their teeth.
 

Siegmund

Service Attendant
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Nov 19, 2018
Messages
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Location
northwestern Montana
I’d love to ride it one way, and then the Alaska Ferry down to Bellingham.
Some bad news for you: that is not, and never was, possible, unless you want to also spend a few days in Alaska. The Alaska Marine Highway runs from both Bellingham and Prince Rupert to southeast Alaska, but not from Prince Rupert to Bellingham. Ships go nonstop from Bellingham to Ketchikan.

In a year with neither a pandemic nor an Alaska state budget crisis there will be 2 sailings a week to Prince Rupert and to Bellingham. In 2020, with both, there is one sailing every two weeks to Bellingham, and none to Prince Rupert.

A Canadian ferry from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy, BC, is also an option. In a previous era it would have been met by a bus that would have taken you to ride the Malahat.

Random VIA trivia: the ferry terminal is just south of downtown Prince Rupert and you have to cross the tracks to get to the dock. I saw my first Skeena go past while waiting in the queue to board the ferry to Alaska, one morning in August of 1993 (the Skeena was on the overnight schedule then and got into Prince Rupert about 10 in the morning. It was close to on time.) One F40 and four cars.
 
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