Rocky Mountaineer

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Rocky Mountaineer
Rocky Mountaineer logo.png
Rocky Mountaineer train.jpg
Reporting markRMRX
LocaleBritish Columbia and Alberta, Canada
Dates of operation1990 (1990)–Present
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
HeadquartersVancouver, British Columbia

Rocky Mountaineer is a Canadian rail-tour company in Western Canada that operates trains on four rail routes through British Columbia, Alberta, and the U.S. state of Washington.


The Rocky Mountaineer began as a 19-times weekly VIA Rail daytime service between Calgary and Vancouver in June 1988, called the 'Canadian Rockies by Daylight.'[1]. In 1989, VIA renamed the service the 'Rocky Mountaineer,' reducing the number of weekly trains and adding an overnight stop in Kamloops.[2] 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.[3] 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[4] 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.[5]


The Rocky Mountaineer boards passengers at Banff, Alberta, showing its former livery.

Rocky Mountaineer operates over 75 railcars in its fleet:

Previous equipment: GE B36-7 locomotives leased from BC Rail.[citation needed]


Map of routes offered by Rocky Mountaineer

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.[8]

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.[9]

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.[10]

Coastal Passage: This route begins in either Seattle or Vancouver, calling at all Rocky Mountaineer stations in British Columbia. [11]

Service levels[edit]

Upper level of Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf
Lower dining level on GoldLeaf


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.[12][13]

Rocky Mountaineer SilverLeaf


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.[14][13]

Trip structure[edit]

To allow for the best views, Rocky Mountaineer operate 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 late April to mid-October with multiple departures every week going both eastbound and westbound. Coastal Passage runs southbound and northbound on select weekends throughout the season.

Connecting services[edit]

En route between Banff and Kamloops

The nearest international airports to Rocky Mountaineer are the Calgary International Airport and Vancouver International Airport.

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 (WestCoast Express).

At the Jasper railway station passengers can transfer directly to Via Rail's Canadian and Jasper – Prince Rupert train service.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Greenlaw, Christopher (2007). VIA Rail. St. Paul, Minnesota: MBI Publushing. pp. 116–121. ISBN 9780760325292.
  2. ^ 1989 Via Rail Annual Report (PDF). Ottawa: VIA Rail Canada. December 31, 1989. p. 14. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  3. ^ Johnston 2016, p. 50
  4. ^ "Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf Service". 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  5. ^ "Travel writers select the world's top 10 train rides". Travel Industry Today. 16 July 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  6. ^ a b c "Fact Sheet" (PDF). Rocky Mountaineer. October 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Stadler Goldleaf" (PDF). Stadler. August 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Routes". Rocky Mountaineer.
  9. ^ "Routes". Rocky Mountaineer.
  10. ^ "Routes". Rocky Mountaineer.
  11. ^ "Routes". Rocky Mountaineer.
  12. ^ "Rocky Mountaineer". Rocky Mountaineer.
  13. ^ a b Source: Rocky Mountaineer – 25 Years of Life Changing Experiences – 2015 Canada Train travel Guide (page 19)
  14. ^ "Rocky Mountaineer". Rocky Mountaineer.


  • Johnston, Bob (February 2016). "It takes more than scenery". Trains. 76 (2).

External links[edit]