I want to say a little more about the train I’m on. I could tell simply from the VIA Rail website that it’s the crown jewel of their fleet (for lack of a better word). However, it wasn’t until the numismatist in me got curious before I discovered that it is a National icon. Check out what’s on the ten dollar bill:
And that’s not any old train, it is specifically the one I’m on: The Canadian/Le Canadien (I feel like I’m picking up a lot of French because the farther east you go, the more of it you hear and see) I’m sure there’s a rich history and tradition behind the train and the line—I don’t imagine the passage through the Rockies we made yesterday was a small feat—but I don’t pretend to know that history, so I won’t claim to be an expert.
Here’s what I do know: this train is a monster. At one of the station stop we were given fifteen minutes to walk around. From the coach car in the very front where I am to the last sleeper and back took the entire time. As I’ve indicated, I’m used to traveling coach on Amtrak. Naturally, there are a few differences, but here’s the one I appreciate the most. Look at the size of this window:
Today I saw a lot of farmland out that window as we went across the prairies of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Here’s a sight I saw so many times I’ve completely lost track of exactly where this particular farm was: