The last session of this course was held on Tuesday 4th October. Bill finalised his study of the Canadian Rockies. A very good DVD was shown of a steam trip Bill was on in 1999, from Vancouver to Squamish. This area now comprises a new route of the Rocky Mountaineer through Whistler.
Bill described having ‘a really good day – the best day of the course’. Thank you Bill for the effort you have put into developing and delivering a course about which you have so much passion.
At our meeting on 6th September, Bill presented more on the railway though the Canadian Rockies. Member Wendy Sturgess, recently returned from a long holiday in U.S.A., gave a very good presentation on her travels, which included some on trains. To end the session a DVD on narrow gauge passenger trains in the Colorado State Mountains was shown.
The final session of this course will be held on Tuesday 4th October. Bill will finalise his study of the Canadian Rockies. A very good DVD will be shown, of a steam trip Bill was on in 1999, from Vancouver to Squamish. This area now comprises a new route of the Rocky Mountaineer through Whistler.
The Rail and Tourism Course day on Tuesday August 2nd did not go ahead.
Our President, Terry Case, myself plus two others turned up. We decided on account of very low numbers – the class would not proceed. After we had a coffee and a chat we all went home.
It is most demoralising for tutors/conveners to have this happen. To all my class attendees – please make an effort to attend! I will ring some people before next course day!
Next course day on takes us further through the Canadian Rockies from Revelstoke to Kamloops. The DVD to be shown is of the Denver and Rio Grande railway in Colorado, Rockies.
The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 6th September at 9:30 am
"If you have time, the following video of the trip from Banff to Kamloops is worth viewing. It doesn't have commentary, but somehow works better in conveying my memories of this trip more than more professional tourism based videos do. It's set in the warmer months, so the mountains aren't covered with snow. I taught in Kamloops in 1982, completing many train trips from Kamloops return to Banff and Kamloops return to Vancouver. Bev Lee"
At our next session on Tuesday 2nd August we will travel further into the Canadian Rockies from Field to Revelstoke. The DVD to be shown is about another famous Tourist Railway in Colorado The Durango and Silverton.
At our last meeting on 7th June, we started our Rail journey in the Canadian Rockies - going west from Calgary to Field. Bill has been there 4 times from 1960. He considers Rogers Pass as probably the most beautiful place that he has visited – however, these days the area is completely overwhelmed by tourists.
Bill told the story of Nicholas Morant - the long time photographer of the Canadian Pacific Railway – for whom Morant’s Curve on the Bow river is named. He had his own sleeping carriage, which was placed in any siding he requested. He could spend a week awaiting the desired light for a special photo. In 1960, these sleeping carriages were available for general hire and could be placed into any desired siding. Bill told some stories on the difficulty of building the Railway through this very mountainous area and how Kicking Horse River got its name. The Surveyor - James Hector was badly injured when kicked by his horse. This area contains the famous Spiral Tunnels.
The DVD shown was The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railway which runs along the Colorado/New Mexico border. It is the most beautiful trip – done twice by Bill and also visited by our course member – Jan Andrews.
Note - There won’t be a class in July – Bill will be away on holiday! Around that time he should be riding Queensland’s “Gulflander”.
Next course day is Tuesday 2nd August – we will travel further into the Canadian Rockies from Field to Revelstoke. The DVD to be shown is about another famous Tourist Railway in Colorado The Durango and Silverton.
At our May 3rd meeting, we covered three areas. Firstly Bill took us to the former Kettle Valley Railway in south west Canada. One of the reasons for building was to try to keep James J Hill’s Great Norther Railway out of Canada. Then he moved to the USA State of Oregon - Bill’s favourite State! The town of La Grande was covered. Le Grande (Population 9,000) is in the Blue Mountains, which cause the Union Pacific Railway severe operational problems each winter!
The third area covered was the Mt St Helens Volcano, just over the border in Washington State. Bill followed the build up and eruption on May 18th 1980. His last day in USA 1999 was spent on a day tour to Johnston Ridge Observatory, 5 miles from the caldera. The observatory commemorates David Johnston who was blown up in the eruption. This observatory is buried under snow for months each year! The DVD shown was Winter Blues on how the UP Railway copes with all the snow of winter!
Next meeting is on Tuesday 7th June at 0930.
We start our trip through the Canadian Rockies, going from east to west, over 4 sessions. The first segment is from Calgary to Field. Bill does not have a DVD of the area but will show a terrific DVD on the famous Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad in Colorado and New Mexico.
At our April 5th meeting we talked about the famous USA Amtrak train – “The Empire Builder”. As was established at the March meeting – this train was named after the famous Railroad builder – James J Hill – also known as “The Empire Builder”.
This train runs from Chicago to Seattle, with a section leaving Spokane for Portland. It runs through sparsely populated plains country not far south of the Canadian border. It is generally rated as Amtrak’s most popular long distance train!
Time was spent talking about one of its most popular stops – the small location of Essex, Montana – where the Izaak Walton Inn is situated. This is on the edge of Glacier Park and on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. The scenery here and its isolation makes it possibly Bill’s favourite location visited! Unless you have your own car – the train is the only way in.
The DVD shown was one of Bill’s favourites – “Donner Pass”. This shows the climb up the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range from 200ft at Roseville to Donner Summit of 6000ft, over 200 miles.
May 3rd Meeting
There will not be a course day on Tuesday 5th July. Bill will be on holiday in North Queensland. One place visited will be “The Gulflander Railway”.
Finally, on the 1st of March, this course got under way!
With a good attendance, Bill detailed what the 7 days course would entail. For today’s course, it was explained that possibly the most important person involved in the planning and construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway through the Rockies was not a Canadian, but a young USA citizen who ironically was born in Eastern Canada! James J Hill had a remarkable life and was probably one man who could be classed as a ‘genius’.
Starting with one very small railroad, going north along the Red River, towards Fort Garry (Winnipeg), he either bought or built others to eventually form the Great Northern group! In this process, he became known as “The Empire Builder” and now has possibly the most popular Amtrak train named after him! His life’s work presented a fascinating story! He is responsible for Seattle’s success. To complete the day, Bill presented a very good DVD on ‘The Coast Starlight’ Amtrak train which runs between Los Angeles and Seattle.
Next course day is Tuesday 5th April at 09:30—please note the earlier start!
Having investigated the man – today will be all about the Train – ‘The Empire Builder’.
Along the way, we will look at the famous Tourist Hotel – ‘The Izaak Walton Inn’, which has its own request stop in Glacier National Park. The DVD to be shown is ‘Donner Pass’ – part of the original Trans USA Railroad, and the climb from 200ft at Roseville to 6000ft at Donner Summit.
Before Bill Dewey puts away his North American notes for ever, he will present an extensive study of North Western USA and South Western Canada! This information has been obtained over four visits – 1961, 1981, 1991 and 1999.
The course will run on the first Tuesday of the month from February to August inclusive, from 09:30 to nearly noon!
The format will start with a presentation of the day’s subject, prior to morning tea, which will be followed by the relevant DVD—with a break halfway for a short discussion.
Week 1 – James J Hill – who helped build the Canadian Pacific Railway through the Canadian Rockies and who later built the Northern Pacific Railway across North West USA. DVD – is on the train “The Coast Starlight”.
Week 2 – All about the train ‘The Empire Builder” which runs between Chicago and Seattle/Portland. Looking at the famous “Izaak Walton Inn”. The DVD to be shown is “Donner Pass” – on the Sierra Nevada’s climb from 200 ft to 6000 ft – remarkable photography!
Week 3 – Kettle Valley Railroad in South West Canada and also The Union Pacific Railroad through the Blue Mountains of Oregon. DVD is a very good “Winter in the Blues”!
Week 4 – South West Canada – “Calgary to Field”. Canadian Rockies. DVD not yet selected.
Week 5 – South West Canada – “Field to Revelstoke”. Canadian Rockies. DVD not yet selected.
Week 6 – South West Canada – “Revelstoke to Kamloops”. Canadian Rockies. DVD not yet selected.
Week 7—South West Canada – “Kamloops to Vancouver”. Canadian Rockies. DVD to be shown this final day is “British Columbia Steam” – between Vancouver and Squamish.
About the 'Rail and Tourism' group
Join Bill for a seven session rail tour of South West Canada and North West America,. Each session will feature a DVD.
1st Tuesday, February to October.
9.30 to 12 noon.
Convenor and contact details
Bill Dewing 5762 5883