Trains on the Fraser River Bridge near Vancouver at Sunset.

October 21, 23, 26, 2001

Click on highlighted www address for each photo.

Noting the sun setting with a bright orange glow on the new snow on the locals mountains and illuminating the bright fall colors, noting this was about the time the VIA Rail Canadian train crosses the Fraser River Bridge. I decided to try for a few photos of the train, thinking the timing was right for the sun to cast a bright orange glow on the Aluminum bodies of the passenger cars with bright orange on the mountains behind. This railway bridge was built in 1904 by the Great Northern Railway for access to Vancouver. Before the Pattullo bridge was built in the 1930's above it, the road traffic and horses and buggies used to travel over the railway bridge where a road was installed over the trains. It must have been a very smoky trip when a steam train was passing underneath. A barge got loose in a wind storm when I was a child living near here and drifted down river and knocked out one of the spans of the bridge on the other side, it was replaced with a rounded section as is seen in some photos, the flat top sections had the road on top originally. The mighty Fraser River at this point is tidal as it is near the ocean outlet. With its head waters in the Rocky Mountains where the VIA Rail Passengers will wake up the next morning and follow along near Mount Robson, many miles to the north east before arriving at Jasper late morning.

Thinking it might be the perfect photo opportunity before daylight savings time has the VIA Rail Canadian train leaving in the dark on its trip across Canada from Vancouver B.C. for the next few months. I headed down to the bridge and the lighting was just right on the Sunday evening Oct. 21 with a bright orange glow on the rail bridge, reflecting off the water and mountains.

As I was headed to the beach front park for my photos I arrived just as the caboose was crossing Old Yale Road, with the train backing along the edge of Timberland road. This is the Southern BC Rail Link Railway train that picks up some rail cars from local industries in the area, and is backing onto the main track to cross over the rail bridge. When I was a boy I lived a ways up Old Yale Road and often rode along on my bicycle down this road delivering my papers pacing the train. It may have very well been the same locomotives at that time in a much nicer bright yellow BC Hydro paint scheme;

The same Rail Link train crossing rail bridge from Surrey to New Westminster; wide angle shots of railcars over bridge;

The Caboose from the Rail Link train crossing the bridge;

Waiting for the train, a long telephoto shot 400mm with distant Golden Ears Mountains and in foreground a boat fly's by, there is an old what was a steam powered boat that is now converted and used for dredging the river, note the yellow stack and white body of this boat just to the left and behind the other boat racing up the river.;

A photo of the whole rail bridge and Pattullo bridge above; photo after sunset

Skytrain crossing the bridge;

Sunset shot with Skytrain on bridge this is same location as photos of train bridge just looking west instead of east;

I waited a good while, but the VIA Canadian train never arrived?? Possibly delayed for some reason? I waited a little longer and the Amtrak Cascades train arrived at 6:27 (This departs the same Vancouver station a half hour after the Canadian train is due to leave.)

Photo here of the Cascades train headed to Seattle, most of the trip this night will be in the dark, but be sure to ride it in the summer months to have a good daylight view as it travels along the oceans edge and sun setting over the Olympic Mountains as it is nearing Seattle. The train tonight has the green and brown locomotive and cab car, front and rear and the silver and blue California passenger car set tonight just after the sun was setting.;

So I gave up and headed home thought I might try the next trip of the Canadian on Tuesday Oct. 23 as follows, not quite as nice as I got down to the bridge it had been nice but a layer of heavy storm clouds on the horizon blocked the otherwise bright orange cast of the setting sun.

The VIA Canadian arrives on time about 6:04pm on the New Westminster side of the river a 400mm telephoto shot as the locos pass beneath the Skytrain extension;

Same view the rear of the train;

As the locomotives come into view 1/2 way across the bridge the Park car can be seen below the locomotives as it is making its approach;

VIA Rail locomotives crossing the bridge;

Wide Angle photo of train on bridge;

The Skyline car crossing the bridge;

The VIA Park car finally crosses the bridge folks in the dome have a great view of the mountains and river.

So I missed my bright orange photos but one more chance on Friday.

Friday Oct. 26 my last chance for a photo of the train over the bridge but it is dark and raining this evening the train comes over the bridge at 6:08pm but to dark for very good photos so go to different locaiton.

Skyline car over bridge;

The VIA Park car just over the bridge into Surrey

Oh well that is it for the sunlight for a while will be few months before I have a chance for some more sunset photos better luck next year!

Hope you enjoyed the photos be sure to ride the train some day! But note if you want to see the best of this trip be sure to not ride the VIA Canadian between Vancouver and Jasper mostly in the dark through the most scenic part of the trip in Canada, but instead take the Rocky Mountaineer trip which does it all in daylight over an even more scenic route. Visit the Canadian rail travel guide for more tips and details;