Whistler Mountaineer gets some steam from the Royal Hudson for its season launch

Whistler Mountaineer gets some steam from the Royal Hudson for its season launch

When guests arrive to board the first Whistler Mountaineer of the year on May 12, they may be surprised to see “Rail Royalty” waiting on the platform.  The historic Royal Hudson steam locomotive along with two of its passenger cars will travel with the Whistler Mountaineer all the way to Squamish, BC. The Whistler Mountaineer will continue on as scheduled to its destination of Whistler, BC.  Along the way, travellers will experience the stunning beauty of the Sea to Sky corridor from a unique train perspective.

“The Royal Hudson is a big part of Canada’s rail history and we couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick off our Whistler Mountaineer’s fourth season,” says Hubert Wat, Vice President, Marketing of Rocky Mountaineer.  “We are delighted to partner with the West Coast Railway Association (WCRA), which has made it possible for our guests to have an unforgettable experience onboard the train.”

This special Whistler Mountaineer departure will be the first time in a decade that the Royal Hudson will be carrying guests between North Vancouver and Squamish, a route the iconic steam train offered to tourists in BC for 25 years. The Royal Hudson will disembark at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park in Squamish, where it is stored throughout the year and between appearances.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the Whistler Mountaineer’s season launch and have our classic first lady of steam make a rare public appearance on the North Vancouver to Squamish line,” says Don Evans, President & CEO of West Coast Railway Association. “There is nothing like a live steam locomotive to add drama and true heritage for visitors from around the world.”

The Whistler Mountaineer is a three-hour train trip and provides a scenic journey between the world-class destinations of Vancouver and Whistler, BC, hosts of the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. The train offers northbound and southbound departures, seven days a week and a choice between two experiences – Glacier Dome and Coast Classic. And from now until May 29, 2009, BC residents are offered the special rate of $109 per adult roundtrip in Coast Classic experience for groups of four or more. For parties of three or less, prices begin at $129 per person roundtrip. This exclusive online offer is available for travel on May 12 when the Royal Hudson steam locomotive makes its special appearance as well as throughout the 2009 season.

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For more details on the BC Residents Special or to reserve seats for the Royal Hudson departure on May 12, visit www.whistlermountaineer.com.

Royal Hudson #2860 was built in 1940 for the Canadian Pacific Railway, but was retired after only 18 years of service as steam power was withdrawn across Canada. After languishing for some years, the Hudson was restored to service by the Province of BC and turned into a popular tourist attraction. Worn out after 25 years, the historic train was again retired and acquired by the West Coast Railway Association in 2002. After much fundraising, WCRA was able to restore the train to steam again in late 2006. Today the Royal Hudson makes local appearances and was recently seen in the Fraser Valley commemorating the 150th anniversary of New Westminster as well as the 100th anniversary of interurban rail service between Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

The Whistler Mountaineer is owned and operated by Rocky Mountaineer and has been in service since 2006. In addition to the four spectacular rail routes that travel through British Columbia and Alberta, Rocky Mountaineer also offers unique Canadian vacation packages. Since its inception in 1990, the company has grown to become the largest privately owned passenger rail service in North America and has hosted over one million guests onboard. In 2007, Rocky Mountaineer was honoured with a World Travel Award as “World’s Leading Travel Experience by Train” for the third consecutive and named by National Geographic as one of the “World’s Greatest Trips.”