The route starting at Jasper originally named train #9 the current operators renamed it #5 for some unknown reason. At the altitude of 1060 meters above sea level Jasper is just a little below the high point of the route, that being Yellowhead pass just 17 miles to the east at 1121m.
Climbing along the small Miette River for that first 17 miles you should see the highest gondola in Canada on the South side. Mile 17 marks the pass as well as the border between British Columbia and Alberta, Jasper National and Mount Robson Provincial Parks as well as the lowest pass accessed by rail in the Canadian Rockies. Yellowhead lake with the beautiful Mount Fitzwilliam to the south.Just after the lake you will get your first view of a trickle of water being the beginning of the Fraser River which you will follow all the way to Prince George along it's way to the Pacific at Vancouver 770 miles later. Next a few miles down the route and you will see Moose Lake, one of the largest natural lakes in the Canadian Rockies.
After the lake there are two routes down the next pass, Red pass, one the south track continues along the Albreda subdivision eventually ending in Vancouver the other 13 miles shorter along the original Grand Trunk Pacific route and the Robson subdivision. Generally westbound trains take the steeper shorter Robson subdivision and Eastbounds take the less steep Albreda route, but any day you could go either way a decision made by the dispatcher in Edmonton. Either route as they parallel for the first few miles have great views of the Fraser to the north and on a good day in a few miles you can see the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson(not Canada thats Logan in the Yukon,or B.C. Waddinton in the Coast range or the Rockies Pikes peak in the USA.)
At close to 13,000 feet Mount Robson about half the size of Everest and creates it's own weather systems regularly obscuring the peak even when the neighbouring peaks are visible. Across the valley to the south of Robson you pass Mount Terry Fox named after the runner who lost his leg to Cancer and attempted to run across Canada only to get stopped about half way by a re-occurrence. At the bottom of the hill you reach the first stop at Harvey not really a shopping mecca just a level crossing near another small town called Tete Jaune Cache. This is where the long way up the hill rejoins the route also the beginning of the next subdivision the Tete Jaune until McBride. Also here was the headwaters for navigation during the paddle-wheeler days as there are a couple of falls just upriver from here. You are also entering the Rocky Mountain Trench here, the longest continuous valley in North America continuing all the way to the Artic to the north and USA in the south.
The Cariboo's part of the Columbia's to the west and the Rockies east the valley here is called the Robson valley. Then follow along several old sawmill towns here, there used to be one almost every ten miles. First up Croydon not much left here then Dunster with an original GTP station and a classic general store as well as the first fine arts school in B.C. all visible downtown to the east. You cross the Raush river bridge soon after Dunster on of the longest on the route the the short concrete Eddy bridge on the way to McBride. The little town with heart McBride has lost all it's sawmills but the 700 odd people refuse to give up on it. the old GTP station one of the nicest on the route have been restored by the community with an art gallery stocked with local work, a tourist info booth and like the old days even a Beanery.
After McBride you change subdivisions again, this time 146 miles along the Fraser subdivision till Prince George. Along this section it gets quite remote with several abandoned towns and not much for population. Seven miles from town is a memorial bell on the east side to the engineers or a CN freight that died when the old bridge at this spot collapsed in the early 90's. You will pass a tunnel at Goat River a Heli skiing lodge at Cresent spur, cross the Fraser between the dueling communities of Dome Creek and Bend and stop for mail at Penny. Population 7 and at least as many dogs Penny is the last stop on the route and probably Canada that a train carries mail. Three days a week, train days mail comes in on the eastbound, those days there is the rush hour, for the eastbound and outgoing mail it just gets left on a post. Then it's off to the next crossing of the Fraser at Hansard bridge, here the bridge used to be used by cars and trains until 2007 and had an operator to set the signals but after the completion of the new road bridge to the east he got sent to pasture. then you are off to the lake district for the day, three in a row, Hansard, Aleza and Eaglet all on the east side. A couple of small towns later and one more crossing of the Fraser along the longest bridge on the route, the
Grand Trunk Bridge which used to open for boats and you arrive in Prince George.
PG as they call it or just Prince is home to three Pulp mills you see them along the river, an Oil refinery and a Brewery so all is not bad as well as as Canada's most northerly University, UNBC. Seventy odd thousand people find reason to live here and it is a hub for northern B.C. as it is the largest city in the north and Most transportation routes to the north go though here. That will bring you to the end of the day.