John Marlor's Canadian Pacific

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East- and Westbound Transcontinental Passenger

Trains Meet

Glacier House

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.

TrainPlayer Scenario

Time required to complete: Approximately 20 minutes.

RIGHT CLICK here to download track plan JM-03RR.rrw

From Layout JM-03RR.rrw:

• Select passenger train CP 1172 at Field.

(Make sure “Auto Follow” under the “View” menu is

unselected (unchecked).

Depart Field for Revelstoke with stops at Glacier and Albert Canyon.

• While westbound CP 1172 is proceeding, select passenger train

CP 1178 at Kamloops.

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.



Glacier House model at


Rogers Pass

Interpretive Centre



View from the old rail bed

in front of the  site of

Glacier House of the

Illecillewaet River

near its source



Glacier House site



#1178 Westbound

from Field to Revelstoke