The route starting at Prince Rupert on the Pacific's north coast. Actually on Kaien Island Prince Rupert's harbour is a natural ice free location ideally situated to expedite shipping times to the Orient. As the train starts one soon sees the first of the port, being phase one of a huge container port. The train skirts the island passing Digby Island across the harbour the location of the airport, then some old bunkers for searchlight from WW2. Next up is the large grain and coal terminals on Ridley Island. Soon you should cross the Zanardi reversing rapids on the Nemoto bridge.
You now will pass the old pulp mill on Watson Island and then soon into the small fishing community of Port Edward. Old cannery remains will be seen over the next 50 miles. The best example at North Pacific, the oldest on the north coast and kept up as a national historic site. Soon the Skeena river appears at miles/570 km the is the second longest river entirely in B.C. The Skeena is a first nations word for river of mists and often lives up to it's moniker. Passing through the spectacular Coast range of mountains from here until the plateau is reached around Smithers.Passing through the spectacular Coast range of mountains from Rupert to Smithers the train follows the Skeena river until New Hazelton. There it meets up with a major tributary, the Bulkley. Along the Skeena the train passes Terrace (0/132), Kitselas canyon(121-123) and it’s four tunnels, Doreen(101) and it’s two residents, Kitwanga(73) with the quaint old church and cemetery, Gitsegukla near the only crossing of the river at Skeena crossing(62) then on to the last big bridge on the Skeena near the Hazeltons, Seely Gulch (50). After New Hazelton the route goes trough the spectacular Bulkley canyon(39-44) with it’s three tunnels including the longest on the route(40/ 630meters), as well as three more large trestles at Boulder(28), Porphyry(31) and Mudflat (36) creeks. Moricetown (22) a first nations settlement for over five thousand years is next, then on to Hudson Bay Mountain and Smithers (0/125).
September, 2011 – Journey from Prince Rupert to Prince George (travelogue)
"Skeena was exceptionally beautiful on this September morning and I do not ever remember seeing it quite like this before. The most breath-taking sections were within a couple of hours of leaving Prince Rupert. The torrential rain that recently fell in the area created a myriad of deep meandering groves, now void of water which carved them in the exposed sandy banks of the Skeena estuary. As they twisted their way towards the majestic river they became an integral part of this stunning landscape, this life-size piece of art full of interchanging patterns: exposed rocks, lapping waves, driftwood and clusters of shoreline sedge grasses, bent over their own roots in the
direction of the receding tide like an undulated carpet of green and gold star created in the burst of saturated and textured color against the smooth neutral hues of glistening sand, blue water, white horizon and luminescent mist rising against the mountains .... An occasional white highlight painted by flapping of the wings of a seagull enlivened the scene, while his joyful screech (which still lives inside of me when I think of this day) punctuated through the cool morning air, breaking the monotonous sound of the train gliding across tracks. No words I could come up with could even begin to describe how beautiful it was. The train manager noticed I was awestruck. Quickly I was whisked to the area between the cars and opened the window for me. The air felt dense and smelled so delicate, something between seaweed and salty-sweet cedar, and the sun which was already so warm although it was early in the morning, offset the chill I inevitably felt as I leaned out the window of the moving train in hopes to capture some of this beauty with my camera. Soon enough I realized that you what I was experiencing takes up all my senses and looking through the viewfinder was taking away from the presence of the mind in the midst of this spectacular scenery. I set the camera down. What followed was a long string of precious moments that made me glad to be alive. I felt so privileged just to "be" in that time and space and in a position of witnessing, breathing in and taking in the profound beauty of the legendary Skeena in all it's glory misty."