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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

TRANS CANADA: Day 8--My Journey on VIA Rail Canada

I left Vancouver on Friday, and, half a day late, finally arrived in Toronto.  Most of the passengers were peeved.  Frankly, I enjoyed the extra day of snow scenes and two free meals, an extra lunch and an extra dinner.

This terrible delay, however, will need to be sorted out soon, or people will stop taking the VIA Canada Rail service.  What happened about a year ago is that "Americans" got majority ownership over CN (Bill Gates owns the most shares), the Canadian train freight company.  Both were once government entities.  However, the freight portion was privatized, and, incredibly enough, negotiated priority over passenger service.  In other words, if a freight train wants to use any common railway, passenger trains will need to wait.  There have been delays of almost a day just between Vancouver and Edmonton.  That's not even halfway to Toronto.


We were lucky in only being 12 hours late.  Whew.  But I loved it.  I don't leave Toronto until Thursday.


My train was more than a quarter mile long:


Oh, there is no internet and no television.  See that window?  That was my entertainment:


This is what the scene looked like, in Winnipeg:


The meals were mostly okay to excellent:


There are tables for four only, and you get sat according to when you come in to fill the next one.  You meet all kinds of people.  For example, one retired couple, both in their 50's, I think, sold their home in Tasmania, and has been using an internet source to place them in residencies where they pay nothing to take care of the place.  They bought around world fares and find a way to do this.  They are on to Minnesota, where they plan to somehow get to see the Super Bowl, and said they bought tickets (paid $390) for an Eagles concert somewhere.  They don't return to Australia until July.  One more thing, they bought shares in a keg with some friends from a Tasmanian whiskey company some years ago, and in 2014, Sullivans Cove was selected as the World's Best Single Malt Whiskey.  They pick up their 42 bottles next year.  The company was only formed in 1995, and they are friends with the owner.

The food on the train comes with the fare, but you pay any alcohol.  The best of the trip was an outstanding rack of lamb:


The scenery rolling by was mesmerizing.  I saw enough snow landscape for several lifetimes.  That's our train in the first two photos:


Here are three more fanciful sunsets:


More snow:


I'm staying at the Sheraton Centre Toronto, and this is my view of the CN Tower, which from 1975 to 2007 was the world's tallest tower until overtaken by Burj Khalifa and Canton Tower, but still the highest in the Western Hemisphere:


The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit another all-time high, up 119 to 24,504.

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