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Looking for Skeena-Related Recommendations


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#1 Chicoan

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 11:04 PM

Hello -- would very much appreciate your thoughts on any or all of these questions:

 

1) Taking the Skeena one-way in mid-late Sept (scenery and weather)

 

2) Which direction? (I am currently thinking of ferry to Pr Rupert, Skeena eastbound to Jasper)

 

3) Overnight hotel in Pr George recommendations

 

4) Any other tips and thoughts. Thank you!



#2 Dayliner381

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Posted 04 August 2016 - 06:17 PM

Either direction would be fine.  Taking the BC Ferry from Port Hardy up the Inside Passge to Prince Rupert and connecting to the eastbound Skeena would be a good plan.  Try to book a train which offers Touring Class, if only because the catering in Economy is pretty limited, while Touring Class offers at your seat mea' service, as well as travel in an ex BC-rail sightseer car.. Not every depature has the upgrade.

 

Prince George is a blue collar town, and rougth aorund the edges, but perfecltry safe.  Either the Ramada or the Coast Inn would be good hotel choices.



#3 tricia

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 09:49 AM

Either direction would be fine.  Taking the BC Ferry from Port Hardy up the Inside Passge to Prince Rupert and connecting to the eastbound Skeena would be a good plan.  Try to book a train which offers Touring Class, if only because the catering in Economy is pretty limited, while Touring Class offers at your seat mea' service, as well as travel in an ex BC-rail sightseer car.. Not every depature has the upgrade.

 

Prince George is a blue collar town, and rougth aorund the edges, but perfecltry safe.  Either the Ramada or the Coast Inn would be good hotel choices.

 

Any suggestions on how to get to Port Hardy from either Victoria or Vancouver?



#4 Dayliner381

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 11:32 AM

There are flights from Vancouver to Port Hardy, and a bus from Victoria.,  Accommodation in both Port Hardy and Prince Rupert can be at a premium, which is why some people arrange this itinerary through a wholesale travel agent that specializes in Rail Tours, e.g. Fresh Tracks or John Steel.  



#5 zephyr17

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 12:47 PM

There is bus service from Vancouver to Port Hardy (via a shuttle bus from Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay, then ferry to Nanaimo where you catch the bus to Port Hardy).

http://www.tofinobus...iver-port-hardy


Edited by zephyr17, 05 August 2016 - 12:50 PM.

SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr, Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-Orlando), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal), BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX


#6 williamn

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 01:14 PM

Has the Skenna always operated over two days or did it use to convey sleeping carriages?



#7 Chicoan

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 01:36 PM

Thanks, folks!



#8 zephyr17

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 01:43 PM

Has the Skenna always operated over two days or did it use to convey sleeping carriages?

At least in the late 80s, it carried sleepers and operated overnight pretty much Jasper-Prince George, I rode it.  Of course, it also originated in Edmonton hooked on the back of the Super Continental and ran daily, too.

 

The switch to 2 days was in the last 10 years or so, I think.

 

Also, like every train VIA has except the Canadian and the Ocean, it lost its name and is no longer the "Skeena."  It is now the "Jasper-Prince Rupert train".


Edited by zephyr17, 05 August 2016 - 01:43 PM.

SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr, Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-Orlando), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal), BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX


#9 Dayliner381

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 04:19 PM

The Skeena operated on an overnight schedule with sleepers until 1993, when the present 2 day schedule went into effect.  For a few years prior to the switch the sleeping accommodation for most of the year was in a 10 roomette combination baggage-dorm (converted from CN 22 roomette cars) so there was not much demand. There may have been a full sleeper in the summer peak.

 

The rationale for the switch was threefold:

1. reduce costs;

2. better meet the train's remote service mandate, which is to provide local service to communities without adequate alternative transportation; and

3. increase revenues on a little-used remote service, by developing a tourism product akin to the Rockies by Daylight/Rocky Mountaineer -

 

The Skeena named comes from the Skeena River, and is of comparatively recent origin, dating from  when VIA created names for all of its trains. That was early in the VIA era. The CN predecessor service was unnamed, and the train was then known informally as the Rupert Rocket.

 

VIA reversed its marketing strategy because it was unable to copyright the train names, and because the names did not mean much to international tourists. However, you still see Railfans and even ordinary tourists referring to the train colloquially as the Skeena.



#10 zephyr17

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 05:59 PM

Thanks, it has been on the 2 day schedule longer than I thought.  While I don't recall the exact car configuration, we did have a bedroom when we rode it in the fall of 1986, and it was all sleeper, not a combo.  It was an ex-CN "Blue Fleet" car though.


Edited by zephyr17, 05 August 2016 - 06:00 PM.

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#11 greatcats

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Posted 06 August 2016 - 12:39 AM

For what it is worth, as you did not ask, but I have stayed twice at the Crest Hotel in Prince Rupert. Very nice dining room. I did not take the train there, but had driven from Arizona to get the Alaska Ferry to my summer tour bus job in Ketchikan.
I was a commuter railroad employee in NJ for many years until 2002, and have since been a tour guide at Grand Canyon National Park and Ketchikan, Alaska. Also, have been a National Park Volunteer at Hawaii Volcanoes and now Sunset Crater Volcano near my home. If not on Amtrak, also like long road trips, camping some of the time.

#12 Chicoan

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 07:28 PM

There are flights from Vancouver to Port Hardy, and a bus from Victoria.,  Accommodation in both Port Hardy and Prince Rupert can be at a premium, which is why some people arrange this itinerary through a wholesale travel agent that specializes in Rail Tours, e.g. Fresh Tracks or John Steel.  

After I read this suggestion, I looked unsuccessfully online for Fresh Tracks. I did find John Steel which has great options on their website but they don't answer their phone or respond to messages!



#13 Dayliner381

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Posted 20 August 2016 - 05:02 AM

Fresh Tracks is based in Vancouver. Their website is freshtrackscanada.com. The toll free number is 877 210 5451. I believe the name refers to fresh tracks in the snow, not RR tracks, but they do a lot of customized train tours.



#14 Heath Loxton

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 11:18 PM

Does the Skeena currently connect with the Canadian at Jasper? 



#15 zephyr17

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 01:56 PM

Not really.  On Wednesdays, the train leaves Jasper a few hours before the eastbound Canadian arrives.  The other 2 days of the week it runs are Friday and Sunday, and the eastbound Canadian goes through Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.  So the best connection would be arriving on the Canadian on Saturday and leaving on the Skeena on Sunday.

 

The westbound Canadian goes through Jasper on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.  It arrives after the Skeena leaves on Fridays and Sundays, so the best connection would be to arrive on the westbound Canadian on Tuesday leave on Wednesday's Skeena.

 

I can't help but think absolutely no thought was given to connections when determining this schedule.


Edited by zephyr17, 29 August 2016 - 01:57 PM.

SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr, Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-Orlando), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal), BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX


#16 Bob Dylan

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 03:02 PM

Maybe VIA hired a failed Amtrak Exec to do the Schedules? 😸
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#17 MikefromCrete

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 03:20 PM

Not really.  On Wednesdays, the train leaves Jasper a few hours before the eastbound Canadian arrives.  The other 2 days of the week it runs are Friday and Sunday, and the eastbound Canadian goes through Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.  So the best connection would be arriving on the Canadian on Saturday and leaving on the Skeena on Sunday.

 

The westbound Canadian goes through Jasper on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.  It arrives after the Skeena leaves on Fridays and Sundays, so the best connection would be to arrive on the westbound Canadian on Tuesday leave on Wednesday's Skeena.

 

I can't help but think absolutely no thought was given to connections when determining this schedule.

 

 

Since the Canadian seldom runs on time, the overnight stay is probably better than holding the Skeena for hours, or missing the connection altogether. 



#18 zephyr17

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 03:23 PM

Maybe VIA hired a failed Amtrak Exec to do the Schedules?

Probably not.  Amtrak is pretty good at scheduling trains to enable connections.


Edited by zephyr17, 29 August 2016 - 03:24 PM.

SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr, Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-Orlando), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal), BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX


#19 zephyr17

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 03:24 PM

 

Not really.  On Wednesdays, the train leaves Jasper a few hours before the eastbound Canadian arrives.  The other 2 days of the week it runs are Friday and Sunday, and the eastbound Canadian goes through Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.  So the best connection would be arriving on the Canadian on Saturday and leaving on the Skeena on Sunday.

 

The westbound Canadian goes through Jasper on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.  It arrives after the Skeena leaves on Fridays and Sundays, so the best connection would be to arrive on the westbound Canadian on Tuesday leave on Wednesday's Skeena.

 

I can't help but think absolutely no thought was given to connections when determining this schedule.

 

 

Since the Canadian seldom runs on time, the overnight stay is probably better than holding the Skeena for hours, or missing the connection altogether. 

 

Well, there is that...


SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr, Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-Orlando), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal), BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX


#20 Train2104

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 08:16 AM

I can't help but think absolutely no thought was given to connections when determining this schedule.


This was asked during the Annual Public Meeting and they claimed most connecting passengers (tourists) preferred the layover. (or Jasper wanted the tourism dollars from overnighters)




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