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  • Writer's pictureLucas Friesen

The Canada Trip pt. 3

I didn’t sleep well that first night on the train. The wall that my feet rested on got colder and colder as the night went on. The train made a lot of noise, which my thin bed curtain could not keep out. Every turn made me roll one way or the other. But it’s okay. I’ve had bad night’s sleeps before, especially while travelling; it’s just something you get over.

I woke up and put on the same clothes I had worn the day before, quickly realizing it would have been better if I had packed a change of clothes in my backpack. All my clothes were in the bag I checked at the Vancouver station. Again, that’s travelling.

I got out of bed and went to the communal car. We were in a non-descript area of British Columbia. Trees whizzed by both sides of the car. My phone had died overnight.

My parents and I went to the dining car and had our breakfast. No stranger sat with us this time. The breakfast was good. The coffee was poured liberally. It was after breakfast that things began to go haywire.

I sat in the communal car, fat and happy, when the train came to a stop. This had happened a few times already on the trip, usually to let other trains pass, so it was no surprise. I looked out the window and saw only trees on both sides of us.

We sat there. And sat there. And sat there. The minutes turned to hours and nobody knew what we were waiting for. I began to hear whispers that apparently a rockslide had happened up ahead and it was blocking the track.

After a couple hours, a train attendant came onto the intercom and informed us all that there was, in fact, a rockslide up ahead. There was no plan on getting it cleared up, especially since we were in the middle of nowhere. So, we were going to go backwards to where the train tracks last diverged. We would take a different rail line to Banff and then get back onto our scheduled course.

The train started to back up, slowly and steadily. It took at least an hour to get back to where the train tracks last split. We got on our new course, went down a little way and then stopped again. This time we were in a natural field.

We were informed that the train engineers were about to time out. This meant that they had to be changed. That meant that engineers had to come and find us and replace the engineers on our train. So, we sat and waited. By this time, my dad and I were sitting next to an outlet and I was charging my phone. It was of little use, as there was no cell service here. It took three to four hours for the new engineers to reach us. No fault of their own. Again, we were delayed, rerouted and in middle of nowhere, B.C. We were still hours out from Banff.

Finally, after a delay that took the whole day, we started to move again. We reached Banff at around seven in the evening. Our flight out of Edmonton to Montreal was at noon the next day. We were running out of time. From Banff, it was still a six-hour train ride to Edmonton. We would be arriving in Edmonton in the middle of the night, if all went to plan.

They stopped the train for one hour in Banff. We got off and stretched our legs. It was freezing cold compared with Vancouver. The one hour stretched closed to two when we were finally shuffled back onto the train. By this time, it was dark out. I went to bed for the second night in my sleeping area, knowing I was to receive an alarm at a strange hour.

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