Sunday, May 17, 2015

Passenger Train Service to Return to Banff?

The Canadian stops in Banff.

Earlier this year it was the city of Thunder Bay hoping for the return of passenger service along Lake Superior. Now town officials in Banff, Alberta are hoping passenger trains will once again return to their community.
According to CTV News, community leaders see it as a way to reduce the number of cars in the picturesque town in the Alberta Rockies.
According to the news report, preliminary discussions are underway between the Calgary Regional Partnership and the town of Banff about the feasibility of train travel between the two places.
Robert Earl, Banff’s town manager, is hopeful it could happen.
“Long term, the more we can move people to come into our community collectively, the better,” he said.  
“Whether that's on a bus, coming in groups, or potentially on a train. A long time ago, people used to come here by rail, there is a rail coming right through our community.”

The Dominion calls at Banff, a long time ago.

An estimated cost of a tourist train has not been released, and a summer trial of the service, if it goes ahead, is at least three years away.
It’s a nice thought; who wouldn’t want to take the train to Banff? 
But like the hoped-for re-routing of The Canadian on the more southerly CPR tracks along Lake Superior, there are many obstacles in the way—not the least of which is whether the CPR, which owns the tracks through the town, would be open to the idea.
Then again, stranger things have happened—like the NDP being elected to govern Alberta, ending a Conservative dynasty of over 40 years. 
Who knows? Maybe one day we could take the train from Calgary to Banff.
Note: Passenger service through Banff was available until 1990, when VIA Rail routed The Canadian through Edmonton. Today the Rocky Mountaineer is the only passenger train that uses the line.
Photo credits: Top photo from an interesting web page titled Across Canada by Train. Middle photo from Wiki commons.


  1. The last scheduled passenger / tourist train after Via's Canadian between these stations may very well have been last September ( 2014 ).
    Rocky Mountaineer's current operating season has no departures out of Calgary.

  2. It sounds as if the move into Calgary may be for servicing only.

    That Across Canada by Train page is from my brother David's original website, Rolly Martin Country. Dave has since gone into blogging. He maintains a variety of family and railway blogs. Some of those 1979 views are classic - red VIA nose logos and a wet-noodle GMD-1 switching Action Red stainless cars at Winnipeg!