Sitting in the remote train station in Saskatoon feels like a time dash into the 60s or 70s. Train stations are treated a bit like the undiscovered princess in a Disney movie whose stepmother doesn’t really acknowledge her right to be there. The fans on the ceiling are the only sound next to the cooling unit of the vending machine where I got myself a cheap 7up drink a minute ago. Four single people wait for the train, scattered in the waiting hall that’s too big for us. The timetable shows two trains. One eastbound, one westbound.
It feels like being at the beginning of a movie. A fifth person, an old lady with a rollator, opens the entrance door. She moves without words through the waiting hall, the wheels of her walking aid squeaking out of rhythm. She stops on the other side, looks through the large glass window into the sun before she turns around and pushes her complaining rollator back to the beginning.
I sit and watch and sip on my 7up. Something weird will definitely happen while we wait for the train. I feel it.
About 5 1/2 hours after its scheduled arrival time the train was finally ready for boarding. The last hour we had to wait for it to come back on the right tracks as it had passed the station on the through tracks, had to stop, wait for three freight trains to pass and then come back in. Yeah.
In the morning I had gotten the “your train is about 4 hours delayed” mail. I had anticipated that and used the gained hours for a nice breakfast. Yet the mail continued with “But it can make up time and be there earlier. Please make sure to be on time.” So, I had aboutish 4 hours, I guessed, but never got a second notice if the time changed in one or the other direction. Online I could find a google site that claimed to have a real time update. It would be nearly 5 hours delay according to it. But who to trust now?
“As you all recognized we have a slight delay… At the moment we are about 7 hours delayed by now.” the train crew told us ironically over the speakers once we boarded the train and were ready to go. The head conductor started and ended all his announcements with his own made up jingle sound that he hummed into the microphone.
“Doo Doo Doo… If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask one of our 5 train attendants. If you want to speak directly to me I’ll be available all time and have long stories to share… Doo Doo Doo.”
The flat lands that followed and the slow pace gave me the chance to finish the first self picked Netflix series in personal binge watching – 4 episodes in a row. Whew. Only 36 more hours to go on the train.
Since I arrived in Canada I’m surprised by the fact that I had just for one night one snorer and the other nights have been very quiet so far. *knocks three times on wood* With all the snoring I had before in the hostels around the world this sounds like a miracle.
So the noisiest thing during the nights was the train itself and for one moment when I was so tired but couldn’t really sleep I was mad at it. But just for a short moment. The kava and the Canadian singer who had played for us earlier in the dome car had chilled me down enough to forgive the train.
The late night stop in Hornepayne was a welcomed chance to stretch our legs before we settled to sleep for the second night. It’s really spooky to sit in the dome car when it’s dark outside, the snow to the left and right just slightly lit by the light that leaks through the windows of the cars and the locomotive crawling its way slowly forward. The forest and the sky stay pitch black.
And when the landscape which had changed from mountains to flat lands became covered in trees and lakes again we knew we had crossed the prairies and not too long from now until our ride with The Canadian would end with.