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Home<Canada<Rocky Mountaineer<Vancouver Rocky Mountaineer Station

The custom Rocky Mountaineer Station in Vancouver, rebuilt from a former Canadian National Locomotive Repair Shed is a very unique railway station. It opened for the 2005 Rocky Mountaineer Season; previously Rocky Mountaineer used Pacific Central Station, about a mile away under a lease very lucrative to VIA Rail who provided station sevices so their move actually will save them money. The station, although near the center of a city, is quite transit inaccessible (Distance wise it is quite close to the VCC-Clark SkyTrain stop but there is no way to cross the railroad tracks to get there). The station is in an industrial area at the end of Cottrell Street and surrounded by fencing with gates to the surrounding parking lots that are only open when the station is open when a train is scheduled to enter or leave. This suits the Rocky Mountaineer quite fine since they specialize in packaged rail vacations so it is surrounded by a large parking lot for them to park their motor coaches that connect to various hotels. The depot for most of the days of the year when train departures are not scheduled can be rented out as an events space and was designed with this (and the additional revenue and publicity) in mind.

The depot itself is airy with plenty of windows and skylights letting light in. This is along with plenty of seating in black benches like any airport, cafe style tables and brown lounge style chairs. The walls of the airy station are made of wood and exposed brown brick along with the skeleton of steel from the former CN locomotive shop. Since the Rocky Mountaineer doesn't really depart trains on a schedule there is no departure board. An old-fashioned looking analogue clock on one beam does enforce that you are in a railway station and clocks are a big part of railway tradition. There is also no fixed ticket windows but I assume (I only arrived in the station) movable desks are used for checking passengers in that did not partake in Rocky Mountaineer sponsored transportation from their hotels. There is also a Rocky Mountaineer Souvenir Kiosk and a fixed island coffee bar where urns have complementary coffee and tee before morning departures. The washrooms (at least the men's room) is probably the nicest I have ever gone into in a railway station complete with marble countertops and fresh flowers (don't worry I was the only one inside when I snapped the picture below. The walls of the station that aren't taken up by windows have pictures of the rail journey and the people on the journey like Rocky Mountaineer's marketing materials. There is also a display showing rail history, our history, camera ready, awards, celebrity sightings and the Rocky Mountaineer's routes. The entire station is trying to be the start of the journey. The building is visible from SkyTrain that runs down Terminal Avenue a block to the north between Main and Commercial Stations. The main visible feature are the two signs on upper corners of the depot that say Rocky Mountaineer Station and are illuminated at night.

The station has one long concrete track level platform that is basically just the edge of the parking lot except for a line of bollards in places so buses can get quite close to arrivals that trains back in to reach. They board and detrain using movable step units of 3 steps (plus mobile lifts for wheelchair bound passengers), with floor mats at every door and small flags for Red Leaf, and red carpet treatment and larger flags for Gold Leaf. For arriving passengers there is direct access to the buses in the parking lots just beyond.
All photos taken on September 27 at the beginning of my Rocky Mountain Golden Circle via Whistler trip when I went to wonder around the perimeter or October 6, 2011 at the end when I arrived back there

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Looking over the fence at the Rail Station
A train with 6 Ultra Gold Leaf domes is in the station
A welcome sign on Cottrel Street
The quite visible station sign
Another gate and view of the depot surrounded in a parking lot
Just looking over a security fence that is covered in a tarp at some rail cars
Trailers in the loading docks and the station sign
Two Rocky Mountaineer Locomotives in two paint schemes
GP40s #8012 and #8018, the domes of a second trainset are beyond
More Gold Leaf domes, almost half the fleet is currently in Vancouver, they only have 16 domes in total
The end of one train and domes of another
Looking into the yard from the grade crossing
The grade crossing entrance and no trespassing sign and the yard warning about robot controlled engines
Approaching the station, going beyond it to eventually back in
Looking through the yard at the platform as buses wait
The station staff and other office employees come and wave the last train of 2011 train into the station, this is a Rocky Mountaineer Tradition
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Home<Canada<Rocky Mountaineer<Vancouver Rocky Mountaineer Station
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Last Updated: 16 November, 2011
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