• Rail-fan around Calgary,Banff & Vancouver

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Canada. For specific railroad questions, see Fallen Flags and Active Railroads categories.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Canada. For specific railroad questions, see Fallen Flags and Active Railroads categories.

Moderator: Ken V

  by ozibob
Hi all, aussie railfan and train driver here,
Coming over in December 2020 (yes i know a long time away) for approx 4 weeks spread around Calgary, Banff and Vancouver.
Is there any good spots for photo's that are easy to get to?
Also are there any websites that have a timetable as such so that i can get an idea whats around?

Thanks for any info
  by NorthWest
The whole area is spectacular and there are dozens of great spots. Be aware that it will be the middle of winter, though, so many will be snowed in or inaccessible.

There are no timetables but CP and CN are busy enough that you usually don't need them.

If you could be more specific, I can give more useful help.
  by ozibob
At this stage from 16th to 21 in Calgary
Banff 21 to about 30th
Then Vancouver 30th to ?
Looking at Pass/Freight trains
Looking to get to easy places using local transport to get to places or easy walking. If possible some shots around Banff with the scenery in the background. Maybe hire a car for the day to get a little out of town if it helps?

Also looking on advise whether the train trip from Jasper to Edmonton is worth it for the ride?

Any advice would be helpful

  by NorthWest
Sorry for delayed reply; life gets in the way sometimes...

That should be more than enough time to see everything.

Calgary's an interesting city with a fun light rail system, though I'm not sure I'd spend that many days there. I highly recommend the Calgary Heritage Park; they run steam quite a bit and have a huge Selkirk 2-10-4 parked out front.

Banff is beautiful year-round, and takes on its own spectacular winter glow in the snowy months. Be aware that pretty much all roads and trails will be closed, so you'll be limited to whatever is open (I haven't checked).

I can give some info on photo spots and angles if you desire.

Outside of Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, public transit is basically nonexistent. That means unless you're taking a national parks bus tour, you'll need to drive yourself everywhere. And in December and January, that means driving in lots of snow and ice, which will occasionally cause highway closures and make travel difficult. You can certainly get out there and see almost everything, but it's something to be aware of. Always have plenty of fuel, food, water, and warm clothing. Don't expect to have mobile phone service, as there are many places in the mountains where you won't have it.

I highly recommend the train between Jasper and Edmonton, but it's better if you take it all the way from Vancouver. Jasper National Park is similar to Banff in its grandeur and train-watching potential, so I'd definitely find time to fit it in.

Edmonton is a lot like Calgary, a fun city with a great little transit system.

Other highly recommended trips are the Jasper-Prince Rupert train, the rail museum in Prince George, and the ferry ride between Prince George and Vancouver.

Railfanning in Vancouver is best at Braid Jct, Mission, and sometimes New Westminster. Most people head up the Fraser River Canyon to do most of their photography, though. The stretch between Hope and Kamloops Lake is fantastic.
  by ozibob
Thanks for that info, coming over with family so i have fit it in with them lol