In between seeing the Rocky Mountaineer in the Banff area, photographing trains at Castle Mountain, and lurking at the Storm Mountain lookout, I saw a few other train related things while we were on our family vacation in Banff this summer. This post provides the “rest of the trains” – hat tip to the late great Paul Harvey and his iconic radio show The Rest of the Story.
Lake Louise is well known for its iconic hotel and the beautiful lake. The actual town of Lake Louise is several kilometres away from the lake and a lot closer to sea level. Back in the day, Canadian Pacific Railway would bring guests to the log station in Lake Louise and they would take a tram “up the hill” to the hotel. This 42″ narrow gauge tramway was built in 1912 and operated until 1930. (More information here)
On our way back from Takkakaw Falls, we stopped in Lake Louise to check out the shops. I wandered down to the river and found this nice little bridge crossing the Bow River. Most people photograph trains by the Lake Louise station, but I think this location could be a good shot as well. The light wasn’t great when I was there but a morning or evening shot might work well.
I mentioned Morant’s Curve when I was writing about the Storm Mountain lookout. This famous location has been well photographed by railfans.
We did visit it once during our trip. As we drove east and the curve came into view, a westbound oil train was just rounding the corner. I wasn’t able to grab a shot of the head end, but I was able to park in the nearby lot and run over to grab a few shots of the rest of the train.
The photo above shows how overgrown it has become, with a lot of foreground trees and some tall ones on the curve itself. A drone would be very handy here, but you definitely cannot fly any drone in a Canadian national park.
The light wasn’t great at this time of day, so I decided to do a pan of the mid-train locomotive.
This is the iconic Morant’s Curve shot. Early morning is the best time to get this angle, not mid afternoon like this photo!
Some other times I visited Morant’s Curve:
The Last Day
We were flying out of Calgary on Friday evening, so our plan was to leave the hotel in Banff at 11, have brunch in Banff, then head into Calgary and meet up with my sister for an early supper before heading to the airport.
I also had foolishly agreed to a work meeting at 7 AM that morning, so I was up early. I took my laptop down to the hotel lobby and had the Teams meeting there. The meeting was done by around 7:30, and since I was up anyway, and the rest of my family was still sleeping… why not walk over to the train station?
It was very quiet at the station, so I sat on a bench under the station’s eaves and just took it all in. It was a nice morning and the sun was shining, and I was in Banff. What could be better?
Well… the east facing signal lit up red over red, meaning a train was coming from the west. That’s better!
Very shortly after that, I heard a horn as the train started blowing for the Norquay Road crossing, and soon CP 8076 West came rolling past me.
It sure looked nice in the early morning light, and I appreciated the clean lead unit.
There are lots of signs warning people to stay away from the tracks. I’m sure it’s tempting to wander out into the yard to get a shot of the station…
After the train passed, I took one final photo of the area, then walked back to the hotel.
Note Banff’s historic ice house there on the left. Before mechanical refrigeration, railways had ice houses at many stations to provide ice blocks to cool passenger cars and perishable goods. This building was constructed in 1911 and used to be located more or less opposite the station.
The building was moved in 2017 after CP threatened to demolish it. There are signs on the fence surrounding it explaining the history and use of the building.
We had some time to kill in Calgary before meeting up with my sister, so I dropped my family off at the Chinook Mall and went to the nearby Trains N Such store, a must-stop location for any rail fan and/or model train geek visiting the city.
One of Calgary’s transit lines runs behind the store, with the CP Aldersyde subdivision beside it.
If you like transit vehicles, it’s a good place to be!
We also drove by CP’s Alyth yard to see what was around. I didn’t see any unusual locomotives there, other than a bunch of stored SD40-2 locomotives. I took a few photos and that was it for railfanning in Alberta.
Thanks for reading!
Just One More Thing
I just finished reading Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor. This is a science fiction story about a young girl turned into a deadly weapon by an alien artifact. It is set in near future Ghana and describes her journey and growth and how she comes to terms with her unwanted power.
As usual, my Amazon links are affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission if you buy anything using the link, at no additional cost to you.
Ms. Okorafor tells a great story and I really enjoyed being immersed in African culture while following Sankofa through her trials. It reminded me a bit of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, although Remote Control is not nearly as bleak as The Road.
It’s a short book, which was fortunate for me as I couldn’t put it down.