By George Hamlin
Posted September 21, 2011
Once upon a time, the opportunity to view a new day’s arrival from dome-level occurred dozens of times daily, at diverse locations throughout North America. Today, you need to be north of the U.S.-Canada border to do this in scheduled service, and the opportunity occurs only on certain days of the week.
Our neighbors to the north have managed to preserve this opportunity for us to enjoy, via the glassed-top ex-Canadian Pacific Budd-built equipment used on their transcontinental runs and trips to Nova Scotia and eastern Quebec. While the classic image of the view from a dome in Canada is more generally associated with the magnificence of the Rockies, or picturesque scenes in the Maritimes, the accompanying photos indicates that it’s also a glorious place to witness a prairie sunrise.
We’re on board VIA number 2, the “Canadian”, rolling toward the sunrise at track speed near the Saskatchewan-Manitoba boundary; the ride quality is excellent, by the way. Conditions are propitious for sunrise shooting, with low clouds providing great color before the sun is visible, but with enough clear sky below that there’s no difficulty in discerning when the solar disk actually appears above the horizon. Surprisingly, only two other people are there to witness the event; an hour or so later, the dome will be filled.
In a word, if you have the chance, go! And don’t sleep in late (admittedly a more challenging idea in the summer than the winter). Wish you were here?