Mo & Terry Smedley


A Unique North Country Rail Tour
Prince Rupert to Prince George

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A CN 6-axle freight locomotive heads up the consist as we depart Prince Rupert.  We later learned that the "event recorder" (black box) in the Canadian Pacific F-unit was not working properly, so it could not operate as the lead locomotive. A sad but common site in Prince Rupert.  The Skeena pulp mill sits idle.  It looked like it was being dismantled. Mom and Dad enjoy the comfortable seating in one of the four Rocky Mountaineer coaches on our train. These petroglyphs are said to be about 200 years old.
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We stopped at Terrace for a lunch break.  We found this bear figure that had been inlaid into the brickwork near the station. Here's a close-up of the handiwork to make that bear.  This took somebody a long time to do! A popular car during our trip was the "Henry Pickering".  When we first saw this car two years ago, it was named the "Mount Garibaldi" - click here for a picture of the car (and the 4069) at the Squamish Rail Heritage Park in 2002. There are open sections at the front and back of the observation car, as well as a central section that's a little warmer but still provides great visibility.
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We all took turns enjoying the scenery from the open air car. It was pretty chilly in the morning, but by afternoon it warmed up in the sun.   Mom and Dad are watching from the observation car with Ron Pajala, whom we met on our 2001 BCRail journey.  Here's a picture of Mom with Ron on our 2001 tour.
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I really lucked out with these pictures.  After departing Terrace, we pass a set of in-line tunnels.  Here we're entering tunnel 1. And now from tunnel 2 we can see tunnel 1. Inside tunnel 3. Departing tunnel 3, you can still make out tunnels 1 and 2.  I've been through these tunnels twice before on the Skeena train, but had never been able to get a good picture of them.
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Fresh snow in the rugged mountains on the way to Smithers. I'm not sure there's a really good way to get a picture of a train on a trestle from the trestle.  Here's what I could do by leaning out the observation car on the rear.   At Smithers for the night, the CN engine crew pulled the freight locomotive forward so we could get good pictures of the 4069 "on the point".
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Departing Smithers on Monday, the mountains were a sign in the early morning sun. On this charter train, the vestibule doors were wide open for great viewing (usually a little warmer than the open air observation car). I spent a lot of time trying to get just the perfect picture of the train stretching out ahead of us on a curve.  It's pretty difficult to tell them all apart now. A picture perfect day heading towards Prince George.  Waters were smooth as glass.
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A "meet" is an exciting time.  Here our train meets the Westbound Skeena on its way to Prince Rupert. I've included "only" four pictures of the meet here.  I think I took around a dozen total.  Too many you say? The Skeena now makes use of these cars that were built by Colorado Railcar for the Whistler Northwind for the short period of time it was operated by BCRail. And the unmistakable "Park" series round-end observation car heads West.
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Mom hangs out of the observation car as we are switched into the Prince George Railway Museum. The Museum cleared out this entire track so our train could be parked right inside the Museum grounds! We were greeted by a piper. Trains come into the Museum infrequently.  Here you can see the "mini rail" operators re-laying their track across the spur we just came across.
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This was a big event in Prince George.  Several passengers (including me) were "interviewed" by the local media (PG-TV) about our trip. In case you don't believe me that the rail spur into the Museum isn't often used....  If you didn't know the tracks continued across the road, you'd think they stopped right here. Here's the 4069 shining brightly in the afternoon sun at the Prince George museum. Dad talks to one of our Prince George greeters.
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Mom and Dad enjoy the afternoon sun.  I can only guess that this sign is for the Museum's Halloween festivities. A mini-rail runs around the Museum grounds.  Mom & Dad are on the car after the orange CN caboose. The mini-rail route leads right through a wigwam (teepee) burner. Here's the rail run through the burner.
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For the trip South from Prince George, our lead locomotive will be BCRail #601, formerly used on the Pacific Starlight dinner train out of Vancouver. Here's my lesson on technological obsolescence.  This track was manufactured in 1907, and is still serving its original purpose today.  How many of today's manufactured goods will still be in service in 2100? We walked from our hotel in Prince George to the "Waddling Duck" restaurant for a nice dinner. Our greeter from yesterday came out to the Museum again on Tuesday morning to see us off on our Southward journey.

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