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Siding 29 Banff

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Gone But Not Forgotten

Banff, Alberta is only 4 or 5 hours from my home, but we only get there every 5 years or so. A million or more tourists visit Banff and Jasper National Parks every year. Once you have seen the mountains, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, elk, and moose, you may have time to see a variety of (mostly) freight trains or grab a meal in a variety of good eateries.

You can also see the Rocky Mountaineer arrive and depart every few days in season. The trans-continental streamliner, CPR's Canadian, last ran through Banff in 1990, at which time the train was transferred to ViaRail and CNR tracks through Edmonton and Jasper. It still runs 20+ passenger cars 3 days a week.

This page is dedicated to a couple of very vintage official cars that once ran on the CPR. They were set up as a restaurant, known in the 1990's as "Siding 29". Located in Banff beside the old CPR station, the restaurant had a relatively short life in these cars, and there is no record of it on the internet. The names or numbers of the railway cars the restaurant used are no longer alive in my memory, although I had dinner there more than once. Fancy china and cutlery, even fancier woodwork on the interior paneling, made for a luxurious evening. Food was good too.

"Siding 29" was the original name in 1883 for the location on the CPR mainline where the town of Banff now stands. As early as 1974, there was a "Siding 29" restaurant in the ex-baggage room of the Banff station, with many railway artifacts as decor. I can find no information as to when it closed. Today the term "Siding 29" will pop up the Best Western Hotel in Banff, which calls itself Siding 29 Lodge. If you can help with this mini-history-mystery,
email me.

These photos of the restaurant in the CPR official cars are from a trip in the 1990's.

Banff Station, before the Rocky Mountaineer extended the platform roof (top) and two views of the "Siding 29" Restaurant.

Inside the "Siding 29" dining car restaurant. We appear to be having a good time.

Scenes from inside "Siding 29", sometime in the 1990's.