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The Rocky Mountaineer Train, Canada

Updated on April 30, 2015

The Rocky Mountaineer Train Journey in Canada

The Rocky Mountaineer is a luxury train that runs from Vancouver to Jasper via Kamloops, through the beautiful Canadian Rocky Mountains. It is expensive and billed as being one of the best train journeys in the world, comparable with The Orient Express, but is it worth it?

This lens is about my experience in The Rockies and on the Rocky Mountaineer, photography and some travel tips, advice and recommendations.

Please also see related articles:

Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies

Jasper

Jasper
Jasper

Rocky Mountaineer Train

The Rocky Mountaineer runs from Vancouver and Jasper through the Rockies and was a train billed as being one of the best in the world, compared to The Orient Express both in terms of style, luxury and food. I have not been on The Orient Express, but I doubt this to be entirely true. There are two classes of travel: Red-Leaf and Gold-Leaf. We were advised, by Audley Travel (www.audleytravel.co.uk) who arranged the taylor-made trip for us, to take the lower class on the basis that the view is the same and the food still very good, and it is far less expensive.

Map of the Canadian Rocky Mountains - Map of the route of the Rocky Mountaineer train

show route and directions
A markerVancouver, Canada -
Vancouver, Canada
get directions

B markerJasper, Canada -
Jasper, Canada
get directions

C markerKamloops, Canada -
Kamloops, Canada
get directions

View from the back of the train

View from the back of the train
View from the back of the train

Rocky Mountaineer Train

Check-in was a fairly ordinary affair and we certainly didn't get the impression that we were being treated in a special way, and on arrival in our carriage we were extremely disappointed. A very ordinary carriage, with fairly small windows which had there been a view to see, at that stage of the journey, would not have shown it off to full effect.

The first meal of the day arrived in plastic trays, in the style of an in-flight meal. Certainly not the culinary delights that we thought had been implied. We foolishly ate the food and sat there complaining quietly to each other in a very English way, rather than complaining to anyone official. It was only when the second mediocre meal arrived, the scenery started getting exciting, and its visibility impaired that we started voicing our discontent. The very professional staff immediately apologized and promised an upgrade for the following day. After-all we had eaten the food, the scenery is even better on the second day and we would need to pay for the full day's upgrade (£170 or about $250 each per day!) so if we went the next day we could upgrade for half the price. We accepted. But was it worth it?

View from train

View from train
View from train

View from the vestibule

View from the vestibule
View from the vestibule

Photographic Equipment

I have written some articles about the best digital SLR and digital compact cameras:

digital SLR cameras

digital compact cameras

Canon Powershot G10

A Bear on Vancouver Island

A Bear on Vancouver Island
A Bear on Vancouver Island

Gold-leaf class

It was certainly worth Upgrading

The Gold-leaf class "dome" carriages have a glass roof and larger open-air Vestibule at the rear. The separate dining room down-stairs served food of the quality we were expecting. Most of the other inmates set off for a show on arrival at Kamloops, at the end of the first day, but having experienced such things in the past, we opted for a dinner at a restaurant next to the motel we had been checked into. No doubt we would have been somewhere more salubrious had we already been in Gold Leaf class, but a good view of river and almost edible food compensated. The following day we checked in at the Gold Leaf Class for the stunning train journey to Jasper. On arrival we searched for the Rocky Mountaineer train manager to pay for the £350 (about $US 500) for upgrade to Gold Leaf. He refused charge us and said,"Happy Anniversary"

Elk

Elk
Elk

Banff Hotel

Banff Hotel
Banff Hotel

Lake Louise

Lake Louise
Lake Louise

Essential Travel Kit

Please also see my review of how to choose a good digital camera: digital SLR cameras

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    • karen-stephens profile image

      karen-stephens 5 years ago

      Thanks for the great Canadian site. I live in Edmonton that is near Jasper. Trust me. This train trip is everything that this lens says it is....you must see in person! She has done a 100% job at creating this lens. And thanks for visiting our site on why we love Canada as a beautiful (and cheap) place to retire in!

    • OrlandoTipster profile image

      OrlandoTipster 5 years ago

      Nice touch of the conductor on your anniversary.

    • SayGuddaycom profile image

      SayGuddaycom 5 years ago

      Good stuff

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      I love train rides and this is definitely something I would love to do. Blessed!

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 5 years ago from London, England

      @TheLittleCardShop: Thanks very much and for featuring my lens on your Vancouver page.

    • TheLittleCardShop profile image

      Malu Couttolenc 5 years ago

      Beautiful page and images of the Rockie Mountaneer. Hope I can do the journey someday, it is on my wish list. I featured it on my Where to travel around Vancouver page because it is a lovely compliment for it. An experience lots of people would enjoy.

    • TheLittleCardShop profile image

      Malu Couttolenc 5 years ago

      Beautiful page and images of the Rockie Mountaneer. Hope I can do the journey someday, it is on my wish list. I featured it on my Where to travel around Vancouver page because it is a lovely compliment for it. An experience lots of people would enjoy.

    • tcorbs profile image

      tcorbs 6 years ago

      The picture of Lake Louise looks inviting!

    • efriedman profile image

      efriedman 6 years ago

      Back again - I am featuring this lens on my European trains lens.

    • efriedman profile image

      efriedman 6 years ago

      Great experience, beautiful views, fun lens! I've only been in the Canadian Rockies 4 times, a few days each. But it's one of the most beautiful places of my life. We were sitting at a stoplight in Jasper, waiting for the train to pass, and I said how much I'd like to ride it one day. Found out a week later that friends from San Diego were on the train, going to Calgary! What a hoot.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I've driven through the Rockies a few times, but it must be absolutely gorgeous by train, and being able to truly enjoy the scenery!

      ~ Blessed by a Squidoo Angel of the Travel Canada neighbourhood ~

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      Lensrolled to Trains!

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      Lensrolled to Trains!

    • profile image

      RedSportNiac 7 years ago

      Cool place. Have been a long time since riding a train.

    • squid-janices7 profile image

      squid-janices7 7 years ago

      Thanks for the commentary and letting me ride along with you - great that you got the anniversary upgrade:)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      This lens is awesome. I love it. I am going to tell my editors on my Thai News website to write something about this lens and probably feature it.

      I will comment here again once we do.

      Great Work

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 7 years ago from London, England

      @anonymous: Hi Ian,

      Yes. I got the joke (I read physics at university) Very good though. I hadn't thought of that. Shame the groups have disappeared, but the ex-group lenses still work to a certain extent. I shall add your lenses as featured lenses in my ex-group lenses.

      Andy

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Hi Andy,

      I started writing some lenses explaining how to book train tickets on various European web sites. Then I thought it would be a good idea to join a Group that was interested in train travel.

      Then I found out that Groups were no more, they were in fact ex-groups, just lenses now.

      So I've made something for myself. Train Travel Compound Lens

      A compound lens is lots of little lenses that are grouped together to work as a single lens. Science teacher joke, sorry.

      I've tried to keep it simple, and am still relearning my HTML skills to make it a prettier.

      Since you have a lens that includes something about travelling by rail, I hope you will take the time to have a look at my work and perhaps join the group (with a small g) for mutual benefit.

      Comments are welcome, either at the Train Travel Forum, someone has to be first, or direct to me.

      Best wishes,

      Ian. aka Pan_narrans

    • profile image

      Sub-Mind 7 years ago

      Great lens and superb photos. 5* to you !

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      This is really a beautiful page you created, nice pictures. Excellent! 5*

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 7 years ago

      This is such a fantastic lens! What an adventure. I love trains. I have been riding them since early childhood and took my first train trip alone when I was 12 from Ohio to Colorado. I loved it! When I was a little girl, I remember asking Santa for a train set so I could have one all of my own. Merry Christmas!! Thank you for the virtual train ride trip!

    • CastleRoyLisa profile image

      Lisa 7 years ago from Rhode Island

      I enjoy all your photos so much wonderful lens I would love to be able to take a train trip with both comfort and beauty

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 8 years ago

      Fantastic photos. I had gathered information about this trip several years ago, but it fell off the radar somewhere along the line. Sounds like it's worthy of further consideration. Thanks for the info.

    • profile image

      biggly 8 years ago

      Hi Andy, I recently did the trans-Mongolian train ride - far from luxurious! I'd really like to do a train journey in Canada next, maybe the trans-Canada. Great photo of the bear, by the way.

    • profile image

      trainlover 8 years ago

      Amazing photos! And riding that train is now top of my 'to do' list for my upcoming trip to Canada! Thank you :)

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Wow! Comparable to the Orient Express? I've always wanted to take a luxury train ride -- we had a remarkable experience coming out of Venice to old Vienna on a night train -- I won't soon forget THAT experience -- trust me!

    • julcal profile image

      julcal 8 years ago

      My God these pictures are magnificent! Great lens!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Great lens!

      Thanks for sharing

      Lizzy

    • profile image

      Travelse 8 years ago

      Very cool and nice lens. I really like the pictures too, makes you want to travel to the destination. Gave a 5**. Why don't you rate my lens on Travel Africa and comment.

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 8 years ago from Royalton

      Some day I hope to ride this train. Thank you for introducing it to me.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      One day I will catch this train! I adore train travel. Lensrolled to my own trains (/great-train-journeys-of-the-world)

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 8 years ago

      Fun lens, really enjoyed it - and I'll keep in mind to shoot for the Gold Leaf Class... :)

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 8 years ago

      Fantastic lens you have done on my corner of the world. I especially love Lake Louise. 5 star lens.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 8 years ago from Massachusetts

      This looks like an amazing ride. I just featured it on my ExSquidition Travel Journal blog.

    • profile image

      PosterChildSmile 8 years ago

      Rockie Mountaineer is a lovely place to see! - Thank you! -

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Andy, I haven't even been able to travel the Rocky Mountains. I seen them from Colorado! Does that count?

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 8 years ago

      I sent away for information on this trip several years ago, it looks sooo wonderful. The views are amazing! (the food sounded good too) I haven't saved up for it yet but it would definitely be on my list of things to do in the next few years.

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 8 years ago

      I lived in the Rocky Mountains, But my mountains were in Denver. What a gorgeous lens, beautiful pictures.

    • SylvianeNuccio1 profile image

      SylvianeNuccio1 8 years ago

      What a beautiful tip that may be!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Looks like one of those journeys of a lifetime. Love the photos. 5*****

    • Rich-H profile image

      Rich 8 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      Great lens, Andy! Really enjoyed the pictures and my visit :)

    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 8 years ago from PA

      This is beautiful. I enjoyed it.

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 8 years ago

      Beautiful lens Andy! The Gold Leaf class trip looks interesting (but the price for this trip doesn't =). 5*

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      I would love to take a trip like that.

      Great lens

      Lizzy

    • anthropos lm profile image

      Lamar Ross 8 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for joining ”Anything and Everything Travel” Group. We look forward to seeing your other travel related lenses in our group. Keep up the good work. For a categorized list of my travel lenses and other lenses see my Lensography..

    • billco1 profile image

      billco1 8 years ago

      Very informative account of your trip. We have always wanted to take a train out west. We haven't gotten around to it yet, but there's always next year.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 9 years ago

      Welcome to All Things Travel.