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Canada: Luxury train company links U.S. with Banff, Jasper parks

March 13, 2013|By Jay Jones
  • A luxurious passenger train snakes its way through scenic Fraser Canyon east of Vancouver.
A luxurious passenger train snakes its way through scenic Fraser Canyon… (Rocky Mountaineer )

Western Canada’s popular luxury excursion train, the Rocky Mountaineer, will provide its first rail link to the U.S. in August, when it begins Coastal Passage journeys between Seattle and either Banff or Jasper national parks.

For years, the rail tour company has wowed visitors with its regal Gold Leaf service in bi-level, glass-domed cars that afford ideal viewing of the ever-changing scenery of British Columbia and Alberta. All of its trains operate only during daylight, with overnight stops along the route.

Both the Seattle to Banff and Seattle to Jasper packages include overnight lodging in Vancouver and Kamloops, British Columbia.

Prices for the three-day trip between Seattle and Banff start at $2,911. A four-day journey to Jasper, which includes an extra night in Vancouver, begins at $3,015. Breakfasts and lunches on the train are included.

East of Vancouver, the trains wind through the scenic Fraser Valley. As the Banff train nears the Alberta border, it passes through two “spiral tunnels,” unique, 270-degree cuts through the rock. The tunnels, blasted in the early 1900s, helped ease the steep climbs through the Rockies.

The Rocky Mountaineer provides the only passenger train service along the line between Vancouver and Calgary.

More information is available online or by calling (877) 460-3200.

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