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Rocky Mountaineer returns to the Sea to Sky

The luxury train service will come through Whistler and Pemberton twice a week until Oct. 10
Rocky Mountaineer
The Rocky Mountaineer passenger train service made its return to the Sea to Sky on April 29.

In yet another sign that spring is upon us, the whistles of trains will again echo throughout the Sea to Sky corridor as the Rocky Mountaineer Rainforest to Gold Rush passenger rail service returns to the old Great Pacific Eastern Railway for another summer season. 

In a public notice, CN Rail advised Whistler residents that locomotives will be on the tracks again. The train will cross Highway 99 between Pemberton and Whistler and across several connector roads, such as in Function Junction, Alta Lake Rd. and Birch Road in downtown Pemberton, twice a week. 

“CN would like to make the community aware [that] the Rocky Mountaineer Railway has returned to welcoming guests to this beautiful region as their passenger train travels between Vancouver and Jasper via Whistler and Quesnel. CN and Rocky Mountaineer work closely as rail partners to ensure a safe and seamless experience, and we are aligned for success,” the notice reads. 

According to Rocky Mountaineer spokesperson Dallas Carlson, the train will depart North Vancouver on Saturday mornings and arrive in Whistler on Saturday afternoons. Guests stay overnight in Whistler before heading to Pemberton Sunday morning, where the train continues to Quesnel and finally Jasper on Mondays. 

On Wednesdays, the train arrives in Pemberton with a new group of guests, who are then transferred by bus from Spud Valley to Whistler for the evening. On Thursday afternoons, those guests board the train for Vancouver. The last train of the season for this route departs Jasper on Oct 10.

The Rocky Mountaineer is the primary traffic source on the former Pacific Great Eastern Railway line between Squamish and Jasper since CN controversially acquired the railway in 2003, and has since generally stopped using it for freight aside from periods when train movement in the Fraser Canyon is halted.

The average ticket price for the Rocky Mountaineer's three-day trip to Jasper costs between $4,665 and $5,512. The journey can also be done as part of the more extensive 12-Day Circle Tour that connects Whistler to the Rocky Mountain National Parks and back to Vancouver through the Fraser Canyon (this tour costs $12,570). 

“Last year, we welcomed more than 5,500 guests onboard this route, and we expect to reach a similar guest count this year,” Carlson said of the three-day trip. 

“There are no changes to our operations this year," she added. "We have launched a new onboard menu for this route, which includes items like Fraser Valley chicken breast with scallion smashed sweet potato and orange fennel salad, a squash and local mushroom ravioli, and an Alberta beef short rib with rosemary fingerling potatoes and broccolini."

CN encourages residents to contact the railway's public inquiry line at 1-888-888-5909 / or CN's Police Emergency Line at 1-800-465-9239 (24/7) to report concerns regarding the railway.