|Headquarters||Vancouver, British Columbia|
|Locale||British Columbia and Alberta, Canada|
|Dates of operation||1990–Present|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The Rocky Mountaineer began as a once weekly VIA Rail daytime service between Calgary, Jasper and Vancouver on June 9, 1988, called the 'Canadian Rockies by Daylight.'. This service mirrored service as it is today, with an overnight stop in Kamloops. Trains departed Vancouver on Sundays, with trains to Jasper and Calgary (by way of Banff) departing Monday morning. These were express services, with no intermediate stops. Return service began westward on Thursdays from Calgary and Japser, terminating on Friday in Vancouver. On June 4, 1989, VIA began its second season of the service, renamed the service the 'Rocky Mountaineer.' Scheduling remained the same as the previous season. The final Summer Rocky Mountaineer under VIA branding departed Calgary and Jasper on October 12, 1989, and arrived in Vancouver on October 13. VIA Rail experienced massive reductions in scheduling in 1990, resulting in the Southern transcontinental service being terminated. Service on the Rocky Mountaineer continued through the winter of 1990, being removed from schedules and marketing in May 1990.
After the sale of the branding in 1990, the current company was founded by the Armstrong Group in 1990, and is based in Vancouver, British Columbia. It ran its first train on May 27, 1990. It is the busiest privately owned passenger rail service in North America, having transported over one million passengers since 1990.
Rocky Mountaineer has been awarded the "World's Leading Travel Experience by Train" at the World Travel Awards seven times for its GoldLeaf service and was recognized by National Geographic Magazine as one of the "World’s Best Journeys" in 2007. The Society of American Travel Writers, the world's largest organization of professional travel journalists and photographers, rated the Rocky Mountaineer as the world's top train ride in 2009.
Rocky Mountaineer operates over 75 railcars in its fleet:
Rocky Mountaineer operates train journeys over four principal routes:
First passage to the West: This route travels along Kicking Horse River, terminating in Banff. Rocky Mountaineer is the only passenger rail service that operates on this route after the cancellation of VIA Rail's southern transcontinental service.
Journey through the clouds: This route travels through the Coastal Mountain Range and the Fraser Canyon. The train follows the route of the Fraser River, then the North Thompson, terminating in Jasper.
Rainforest to Gold Rush: This is a three-day route which begins in North Vancouver, with stops in Whistler and Quesnel. The route terminates in Jasper.
Operating on all routes, Rocky Mountaineer's GoldLeaf service is a custom-designed, bi-level, glass-domed coach with full-length windows and reclining seats that can be rotated to accommodate groups of four. Guests onboard this service are attended to by three to four onboard hosts, in addition to the culinary team. Guests are offered hot meals prepared on board the train, served to them in the lower level dining car. Beverages and snacks are also offered to guests throughout the journey. The two levels of the GoldLeaf coach are accessible by a spiral staircase or an ADA elevator.
Operating on the same routes as GoldLeaf, Rocky Mountaineer's SilverLeaf service is a custom-designed, single level glass domed coach with oversized windows and reclining seats. Guests onboard are attended to by two to three onboard hosts, and offered a hot entrée option for breakfast and lunch served at their seat and plated to their preference. Complimentary beverages are served throughout the journey, including: wine, beer, spirits, and non-alcoholic drinks. Gourmet snacks are also offered throughout the journey.
To allow for the best views, Rocky Mountaineer operates exclusively during the day. On the First Passage to the West and on Journey Through the Clouds routes an overnight stop is made in Kamloops. On the Rainforest to Gold Rush route, there are two overnight stops in Whistler and Quesnel. The Rocky Mountaineer season runs from mid-April to mid-October with multiple departures every week going both eastbound and westbound.
In Vancouver, Rocky Mountaineer trains depart from the Rocky Mountaineer Station, while other rail services operate out of either Pacific Central Station (Amtrak and Via Rail) or Waterfront Station (West Coast Express).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rocky Mountaineer.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Rocky Mountaineer.|