April 17 - Sudbury, Ontario to Winnipeg, Manitoba

The Canadian train is definitely the Orient Express of the Western World. I sat in car 102, second from the front with a 120cm long window all to myself. The train was quite busy but everyone had 2 seats to himself or herself so they could recline them both and with the raised footrests it is like sleeping on a double bed that is a foot shorter than normal. With a few pillows and blankets it makes for quite a comfortable rest.

Moments after leaving Sudbury, the train was headed north through the bush and wilderness. All that was to be seen were cabins every now and again where the only way in or out was the train. Some were located near roads so they could snowmobile into town but that would be no quick trip.

It was 8 hours before we arrived at the first place on the map! The sunset in the dramatic tree and lake filled landscape and I fell asleep.

The walk to the rear restaurant car where breakfast was to be served was quite a trek. It was about 9 cars behind me and each car is about 30m in length making the total walk over 1/4 of a kilometre, a third the length of the train. The wait and the walk were worth it. The $10 breakfast was a full on feast of toast, cereal, juice, ham and eggs cooked to order and served in style with a view out across the north of Ontario.

As I sat back in my chair the train made its way through the deepening snow to the Indian Reservation of Collins about 200km north of Thunder Bay and Lake Superior. Here a few people in an all-wheel-drive Argo and a guy on a snowmobile met the train. There was no railway station here, just 2 sofas lay by the side of the track providing some comfort in the sun but no protection from the ensuing weather that was turning from a soft dusk to a rainy morning.

Just before midday the train rumbled into the small northern city of Sioux Lookout. The rain had turned into freezing ice pellets, something that is quite a dangerous thing to be out in. I had just met 4 Scottish women who were on the train with me, and they decided to risk the weather to go to the grocery store across the street from the station. I was getting hungry and thirsty so I went too.

I spent most of the afternoon in the upper deck of the observation car. The sun was shining through the now separating clouds as the train picked up speeds and left the Ontario bush and lake lands for the Manitoba Prairies.

The train was just over 2 hours late into Winnipeg’s Union Station, but after being on the train for over 26 hours, 2 hours was nothing! The sun was out and the clean, quiet city of Winnipeg waits.

Related Pages

Travel Guide - Getting Around in Canada

Travel Diary

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