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Leg Two: VIA Rail Winnipeg -> Dauphin

I had such a great time on my VIA Rail trip yesterday, really. My train was set to leave at 9AM, but I got to the station around 7:30. VIA has checked baggage services (WOOT!) so I was able to check my large suitcase and that gave me time to wander around Winnipeg with just my backpack. Turns out, the VIA Rail station is in a bad part of town. Oops. As soon as I started seeing boarded up windows and smelled stale urine, I hightailed it back to the station. All I really had wanted to do was find some breakfast, but apparently there wasn’t even a Tim Horton’s on that end of town!

Back at the station, I sat with about a dozen or so people, all headed to points farther north (Churchill) and most booked into the sleeper cars. I met a man from Texas who was taking his annual vacation up to Churchill. We had fun comparing the weather with being farther North. I also met a German family who booked comfort class with me, and we spent part of the trip chatting.

The train was running on a slight delay, so we didn’t board until 9:15. But the train….oh, it’s lovely. So much leg room and head room and Amtrak *really* needs to take some notes from their sister organization! The seats had a footrest like a recliner would, and there was still room leftover that I had my large backpack at my feet and had plenty of room!


Check out that legroom!

Each train has a dining car and even that was pretty. I had a cheese sandwich (well, it was a ham and cheese I picked the ham off of) and some apple juice. Reasonably priced, too.


The dining car

Everyone I interacted with, from the counter person at Winnipeg, to the station master at Dauphin was incredibly nice and polite. The conductor even remembered I told him I had a checked bag so he went and got it off for me!

The only “thorn” perhaps, was a family with three small children under the age of 12. The kids were being rowdy and at one point bouncing on the seats and throwing shoes at each other with the parent either sleeping, or not paying attention. A quick trip to talk to the conductor though and the situation was solved.

The scenery was absolutely lovely, too, and I have TONS of photos to share! I’ve never seen the praries before, not even in the US, and the sheer vastness of flat was just breathtaking. Looking out either side of the train there was nothing but land as far as the eye could see…no skyscrapers, not even a mountain for a long while….just field after field of farming, flowers, and weeds.


Praries of Manitoba, with the Manitoba Escarpment in the background

Here’s a video I took of some of the scenery, including a CN train passing us:

For my photos I took in Winnipeg while walking around, you can check the gallery here:
http://photos.beccajanestclair.com/winnipeg-manitoba-august-2008/winnipeg/

For photos of the train and the scenery, you can check my VIA gallery here:
http://photos.beccajanestclair.com/winnipeg-manitoba-august-2008/via-rail/

And, if you want to see pictures of my charges for the next eight weeks, I have some photos of them here:
http://photos.beccajanestclair.com/winnipeg-manitoba-august-2008/quincy-hobbes-and-casper/

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