29", BANFF, ALBERTA
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
arrive and depart every few days in season. The
trans-continental streamliner, CPR's
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.
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,
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.