|Menu, Dec. 1913. RHE|
This train, for a few brief years (1909-1914), sped to the Twin Cities via Cranbrook (British Columbia), Moose Jaw (Saskatchewan), and Portal (North Dakota), mostly over the Canadian Pacific Railway lines and those of its subsidiary, the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railway, better known as the Soo Line.
|January 1, 1914 menus. RHE|
|Dec. 1910 schedule. RHE|
|From a 1909 brochure. CMRT|
In our present day world of industrialized travel, it was surprising to see conveyances that were framed in steel, but were also crafted in wood and glass. Inlaid marquetry work graced the walls of the sleeping car Omemee (it had a name, not a number, to identify it), and the aisle ends were capped by decorative half-dome ceil with more than 1,200 pieces of stained glass.
The schedules and the menus, the brochures and the photographs, don't convey all of the salient aspects of train travel in the Pacific Northwest a century ago: they can't demonstrate the erratic heating, piped back from the engine as steam; the not-always-savory smells of cooking in close quarters in the dining car; the aromas from the washroom, where men smoked and chewed, and the hopper deposited its contents onto the track; the coal smoke; the sounds of creaking wood and straining steel; the snores and whuffles in the sleeping cars, where draperies served as room dividers.
|Aboard the Omemee. Canadian Museum of Rail Travel|
On the other hand, the Soo Spokane-Portland Train de Luxe will be more likely to arrive in Minneapolis on time in the winter of 1914, than will Amtrak's Empire Builder between Portland and Minneapolis in the winter of 2011.