Train Buffs: Click here and turn green!

I am so excited!

Some friends of mine are making an IMAX film about trains, and they’ve invited me to join them on a three-day trip from Vancouver, BC, to Calgary, AB, on a train that will be pulled by the Canadian Pacific’s “Empress”. We will be riding in some classic private rail cars, museum cars, and first-class coaches across some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

I am so excited!

From the letter the crew sent us:

I am so excited!

Here are some excerpts from the itinerary.

I am so excited!

I’ve bought a new camera (which I needed, anyway) and some steel-toed boots (required by CPR for the film crew, and me, too, since I’ll have permission to take pictures wherever the crew is working), and I’ll be reading up on the history of steam engines of this period.

I’ve been a minor rail buff ever since I was a kid and my parents would take us to the Strasburg Railroad. I’ve always loved trains of all kinds, and this will be a real high point in my railfan experience.

I am so excited!

Okay, I’m officially jealous. I’ll only turn green if the next two blocks are clear, though. :wink:

Railroad humor!

I vote green. Does that mean I can be jealous regardless of the state of the next two blocks? :smiley:

Wow, commasense, I’ll bet you’re excited!

I’m not even a train buff, but I’m a little jealous. I hope you have a wonderful time. And, of course, be sure to post after the experience so the rest of us can live vicariously thorugh you.

I’m not sure that, on historic train trips, you should be joking about green signals. The Cowan rail accident was caused by a historic locomotive using sand on a grade to gain traction, causing the automatic signalling system to think that the section was empty, and causing the regular interurban train to run into the back of the historic train.

I’ll be sure to remind the engineer to be careful with the sand!

That’ll be a great trip! Any chance of a cab ride?

From the airport, maybe, but why would I care about that, when I’ll be on a steam train???

Oh, you mean in the cab of the locomotive! :smiley:

I doubt it, but I’ll take any opportunity I can.

I visited Steamtown in Scranton, PA, back in 2004, toured their spectacular museum and repair shops, and took the very short ride on their working steam train (this 2-8-2 Mikado). All very nice, but the highlight of the visit was getting to go up in the hot cab after the ride and talk to the engineer. I’d been in cold cabs of museum engines many times, but being in a hot cab was amazing.

So I won’t miss the chance for a ride if it comes next month. But I’ll be happy to get into the hot cab while the train’s standing still.

For anyone hoping to see the Empress in Calgary (or anywhere else along the route), the trip has been delayed by a day. We now leave Vancouver on Monday, July 14, arrive Kamloops that evening, Golden on Tuesday, and Calgary on Wednesday, July 16.

The point of the trip is the IMAX filming, so there will be stops and starts along the way, making any precise timetables hard to predict. I’ll let you know if there are any additional changes.

Oh, and I spoke to the director of the film, and he says that a ride in the cab is not out of the question. Excuse me while I download Microsoft Train Simulator and the Empress package, and practice driving.

Green over Yellow. Medium Caution aspect. Chances are though, it’ll go to “danger” red over red and I shalll be obliged to call you lucky bastard. :smiley:

commasense, any chance of having a Dopefest for the film’s area premeire?

Have fun on the trip!

(My tale of train geekdom: I was at someone’s house a while ago and their kid was watching the Disney Channel. The segment “Choo-choo Soul” came on, an educational short subject (this sketch was on the alphabet) with a steam locomotive theme. I called out the technical flaws in the train – the locomotive was an 0-4-0 pulling a passenger train, there was no tender, etc.)

Wow - sounds COOL!!! I’m very envious! I’d love to do train trips through that part of the continent.

You MUST post to this thread when the film is available; we would drive hours to see it. Dweezil would be incoherent with anticipation: I love trans. My son LOOOOOOOOOOOOVEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSS TRAINSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Given a choice between any major bodily organ, or a ride on a train… well, he’d die happy.

Oh, and surely the trip needs an excited 13-year-old boy on camera, burbling about how FANTASTIC it all is. I mean, it wouldn’t be any kind of a train film without that, would it?

Plus, well, y’all are strangers ‘n’ all and it wouldn’t be right for me to send my son on such a trip unaccompanied, ya know. Gotta think about his safety. :::raids college fund:::

So I read the OP to my husband - he is now downstairs working on his layout and occasionally wailing, “Why not meeeeeeee?”.

ETA: What is Microsoft Train Simulator/Empress package and where can I get it (in Canada). I see a Christmas gift!

Scuba_Ben: At the moment the film is set to open in December 2009. And as with all IMAX films, there’s no guarantee that it will be booked by any IMAX theaters in the Balto-Wash area (or any other specific theater). But if we can make it work, I’ll be there.

FYI: here’s the official Web site: Rocky Mountain Express.

Have fun.

That’s extremely cool. Enjoy it a little bit extra for all of us green people on the dope.

Report from halfway.

We’re in Revelstoke, BC, tonight, after a change in plans. The trip has been extended by a day. We go to Golden tomorrow (Wednesday) and arrive in Calgary on Thursday. An extra day on the train! Hooray!

It’s gone great so far, but it’s tired and I’m getting late, so I’ll save a more detailed report for later. Here are some pictures:

The Empress, CPR 2816.

The crew rigging the IMAX camera on the engine. They placed mount points at several places on the engine, and switch camera locations around during the course of the run.

Scenic view along the route. Note the IMAX camera strapped to the roof of the cab. This is not my best shot, just a nice one I found quickly. Also, all of these pictures are completely unprocessed, except for reducing them in size to make them easier to download. The originals are 10 megapixel, and many of them were captured in the raw format.

And yes, I did get to ride in the cab! It was while they were marshalling the cars in the yard, the day before we left, but that counts! And I may get another chance while we’re running later. This is one of the engineers, a 26-year-old who has been working with steam engines since he was 14!

BTW, for anyone who wants to see the train as it approaches Calgary, note that it will be coming on on Thursday, not Wednesday as originally planned. I have no idea about the time, but based on how the first day went, I’d guess we’ll get into the Calgary yards somewhere between 7 and 9 pm. Judge more westerly locations from that. If I can post any more detailed information tomorrow, I will.

This is great!

Don’t forget to take pictures of the spiral tunnel for me!