Good Morning Sci-Fi
Taken in 2003. It’s the observation deck of the Via Rail train that runs between Vancouver and Toronto. East. East. East. Early in the morning and the Sun is kicking up above the horizon to blaze like a furnace at the edge of the world. Stunning light. For me, this image could be from a modern-day version of The Martian Chronicles, a bunch of colonial settlers riding across the new plains of a distant planet.
Background: I’d flown to Vancouver, spent a few days there before heading across by ferry to Vancouver Island and discovering the mystical beauty of the place called Tofino. Then it was time to take the Via Rail train to Toronto – 3 days – extended with a few days stopping in the Rocky Mountains. Coming out of the Rockies the scenery changed really fast. The mountains fell away behind and the landscape flattened ahead and around. Some people might wince at the idea of spending so long on a train but it was an amazing experience. The service was great – just don’t eat the sandwiches from the cafe car- and the food on the dinning car was fab. You enter this timeless state where you don’t know where or when you are, you’re travelling across three-time zones and the scenery is forever changing. The only things that are constant are the chairs you’re sleeping on or the comfort of the bubble car observation deck. My favourite moments were a) waking up 2am for no reason to see the aurora borealis unfolding across the sky. Magical.
Another great moment was waking up one morning to find the train racing through dense fog. Climbing up to the observation bubble I saw the fog slowly peeling away to reveal us plunging headlong towards the rising fireball of the sun.