East- and Westbound Transcontinental Passenger
In the days before the Connaught Tunnel when the railway went over
Rogers Pass, rather than under it, Canadian Pacific passengers were
treated to some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the
world. Westbound passengers traveled on the Pacific Express, which
normally consisted of a mail car, followed by a baggage-express car, a
first-class day coach, a colonist sleeping car and a first-class sleeping
car on the rear end. The same train eastbound was called the Atlantic
Express. These trains met at Rogers Pass station the eastbound
Atlantic Express having just left Glacier House station 3 miles (5 km)
to the west.
At the time there was no dining car in the consist as they were too
heavy to haul over the mountain passes. Instead, the eastbound and
westbound Express made meal stops. One of these was Glacier House.
It stood on the horseshoe curve of the first of the loops that took the
westbound rail line down onto the Illecillewaet Valley floor.
The Canadian Pacific Railway
constructed Glacier House in 1887. It
originally consisted of a dining hall and
half-a-dozen small rooms to
accommodate over-night guests. But
soon that was not enough and a 36-room
annex was appended in 1889. In 1904,
another expansion was required and a
separate 54-room wing was built beyond
the end of the annex. All units were
connected by a covered verandah
overlooking the lawns and gardens.
The setting was spectacular. To the
north lay a view of the Hermit Range, a
wall of glacier-encrusted peaks. To the
west on the north side of the pass lay
Mount Cheops and on the south side
Mount Ross and Mount Bonney rising
5,230 and 7,182 feet (1,699 and 2,334
m) from the valley floor, respectively.
To the east, not more than a mile away,
the peaks of the Sir Donald Range rose
6,000 feet (1,950 m) above the valley
floor. In the same direction and, within
a few minutes walk, the 3,000 foot (975
m) Ice Fall of the Great Glacier
(Illecillewaet Glacier) dropped down to
the tree line in the valley.
The opening of the Connaught tunnel for
main line traffic in 1916 made it
feasible to haul dining cars over the
mountain divisions and thus negated the
need for a meal-stop hotel. The Glacier
station was moved down to a new
location near the west portal of the
tunnel and the following year the tracks
over the pass were ripped up leaving
Glacier House “high and dry”. Glacier
House was demolished in 1929. Today
the site has been marked with historical plaques. A small open
clearing containing the remnants of the foundations is all that remains
one of the most remarkable mountaineering chalets in the world.
Perhaps due to global warming, the magnificent Ice Fall of the
Illecillewaet Glacier has all but disappears.
Nevertheless, John loved running passenger trains through Rogers Pass
and having them meet at Revelstoke. For John, the passenger trains
were more the focus of the layout and the freight trains secondary.
Certainly, as is prototypical, freight trains gave way to passenger
trains on the main line.
Time required to complete: Approximately 20 minutes.
From Layout JM-03RR.rrw:
Select passenger train CP 1172 at Field.
(Make sure “Auto Follow” under the “View” menu is
Depart Field for Revelstoke with stops at Glacier and Albert Canyon.
While westbound CP 1172 is proceeding, select passenger train
Depart Kamloops for Revelstoke (i.e., no stops at Taft or
At Glacier wait for the arrival of CP 1178 at Revelstoke.
While stopped at Glacier perform a brake test in preparation for the
decent of the Illecillewaet Valley from Rogers Pass.
Depart Glacier for Albert Canyon.
At Albert Canyon stop to allow brakes to cool.
When brakes are cooled continue the descent of the Illecillewaet
Valley to Revelstoke.
Save file as JM-04RR.rrw.