BWCA Entering by train Boundary Waters Group Forum: Wabakimi
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billconner
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01/06/2020 02:51PM  
Saw this article - ad - and since I'm like 20+ hours from canoe country (though just 3 to Algonquin PP) I wondered who might have entered - and exited by train - from far from Wabakimi. I'm about three and a half hours from Toronto rail station and its a 24 hour ride to Armstrong and an hour or so further to Allanwater Bridge. Seemed like it could be efficient and article suggests schedule is friendlier than it use to be. Toronto to Allanwater 9:45 am to 10:30 or so am, and Allanwater to Toronto 9:00 am or so to 2:30 pm.

Of course VIA Rail seems a little more candid than Amtrak and notes clearly on their reservation page:

"IMPORTANT NOTICE: While VIA endeavours to operate on time, the realities of increased freight traffic on tracks that we do not own may give rise to significant delays. We suggest that you plan accordingly, such as not arranging connecting transportation on the day of your arrival."

I wouldn't care if I got there late but would hate to have towiat for 12 or more hours on return. And might come out at Armstrong a day in advance for a shower.

Anyways - interested in anyone's long distance train to Wabakimi experiences.
 
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jcavenagh
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01/06/2020 05:54PM  
Bill - You left my old hometown!! <:-(
Anyway, I did train out to Armstrong in 2011.
The east-bound train picked us up around 9am at Schultz's Trail and dropped us in Armstrong at about 11:30am.
In 2011 the westbound train would have dropped us in the park at around midnight.
Kevin Callen did the train trip from Toronto into Wab.
He would be a good source of info.
 
billconner
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01/06/2020 06:30PM  
jcavenagh: "Bill - You left my old hometown!! <:-(
Anyway, I did train out to Armstrong in 2011.
The east-bound train picked us up around 9am at Schultz's Trail and dropped us in Armstrong at about 11:30am.
In 2011 the westbound train would have dropped us in the park at around midnight.
Kevin Callen did the train trip from Toronto into Wab.
He would be a good source of info.
"


Thanks. I'll try to track down Kevin at Canoecopia.
 
01/06/2020 09:42PM  
A buddy and I used the train from Armstrong to Allanwater Bridge in 2017. On our trip down the Kopka Rv we encountered a group of young Canadians who traveled from Toronto to Armstrong with all their gear including boats. They used Bruce Hyer’s Wabakimi Outfitters in Armstrong for pre/post trip transport (pickup/drop off at Armstrong rail stop), bush road pickup at the conclusion of their trip and overnight stays at his Armstrong location at the start/finish of their trip. They reported the train trip west from Toronto had a number of delays apparently due to freight trains having priority over passenger trains. My experience with the train from Armstrong to Allanwater Bridge (a 1 1/2 hr trip) involved the train arriving in Armstrong 3 1/2 hrs late which is not uncommon according to a rail worker we talked to at the Armstrong rail stop. The railroad has crew housing at that stop since train crews change out there.

We got off the train at 3am at Allanwater Bridge and slept in one of Johnny Jelinski’s Allanwater Bridge Lodge cabins for 4-5 hrs prior to starting our trip. Bruce Hyer also has a lodge there.

I don’t have the contact info for the Canadian group we met but my buddy may have it. If you would like I will try to get it for you.
 
billconner
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01/07/2020 06:38AM  
Thanks. The mention of Johnny Jelinski’s Allanwater Bridge Lodge could be a great help. I am thinking I can get on train in Toronto with gear and canoe and get off at Allanwater - no Armstrong stop.
 
01/07/2020 07:51PM  
Sure, you get off in the dark likely with others. On our trip in mid July 2017 about a dozen people got off there. Jelinski’s lodge is a couple hundred meters right off the train stop. Be sure to mark all your gear with something visual and distinctive like pink flagging tape since the train crew may not let you in the baggage car. At your stop you’ll ask for all gear you marked and make sure you get it since the stops are quick. And try to exit the train quickly. On a Wabakimi Project trip the train crew dropped one of Uncle Phil’s SR canoes off the baggage car onto the gravel track bed and cracked it. It spent the entire season patched with Gorilla Tape which slowly leaked.
 
01/07/2020 09:47PM  
Significant delays as in SIGNIFICANT DELAYS! We waited at Schultz's Trail for 14 hours August 2019. We had an 8:45am pickup. We were setting up our tents for the night when the train arrived.

We learned from the rail crew that the train originated in Winnipeg and was delayed 8 hours right at departure. Freight gets priority on this line. We watched freight trains go by all day long. We ended up spending an unscheduled night at Wabakimi Outfitters. Fortunately they had a couple rooms available.

 
01/07/2020 11:09PM  
billconner: "jcavenagh: "Bill - You left my old hometown!! <:-(
Anyway, I did train out to Armstrong in 2011.
The east-bound train picked us up around 9am at Schultz's Trail and dropped us in Armstrong at about 11:30am.
In 2011 the westbound train would have dropped us in the park at around midnight.
Kevin Callen did the train trip from Toronto into Wab.
He would be a good source of info.
"



Thanks. I'll try to track down Kevin at Canoecopia. "


I've got an email address for him if you're interested. Just PM me.
 
billconner
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01/08/2020 07:48AM  
Feels like a sat phone to have an idea of pick up would be needed. I wonder if the modified schedules - with Armstrong stops both directions being in the morning - is a attempt to acknowledge the delays.

Could be just a flawed idea.
 
01/08/2020 08:03AM  
With a sat phone and info on the delay... we could have had another day of fishing. As it was we spent the day foraging blueberries!
 
jillpine
distinguished member(782)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/08/2020 10:26AM  
bobbernumber3: "With a sat phone and info on the delay... we could have had another day of fishing. As it was we spent the day foraging blueberries!"
Who would provide the delay info - outfitter? VIA? Thanks.
 
billconner
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01/08/2020 07:54PM  
Well, Via Rail offers text alerts on delays. If you don't want them on sat phone, someone else could monitor it and call with any updates. We have the technology....
 
jillpine
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01/08/2020 08:39PM  
billconner: "Well, Via Rail offers text alerts on delays. If you don't want them on sat phone, someone else could monitor it and call with any updates. We have the technology...."
That would work and could be pretty helpful - good to know. Thanks.
 
jcavenagh
distinguished member(4475)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/09/2020 11:15AM  
Don't forget the park is in the Central Time Zone and Armstrong is Eastern Time Zone.
That tricked us in 2011.
We waited an extra hour because our watch was on EDT but train stop was scheduled on CDT.
We brewed up some hot joe while we waited.
 
Wabawho
member (46)member
 
01/09/2020 01:52PM  
Waited over 8 hours for the train on the return to Armstrong from Allenwater this past summer. Used InReach to text back and forth to get a fix on when to expect the train, but it doesn't really work as well as it should in theory. Ended up spending a lot of time pacing the tracks instead of plying through the water in the canoe. Still way worth it.
 
joewildlife
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08/25/2021 12:16AM  
I'm working with Bruce on a trip in a couple weeks and he basically told me, if I heard him right, that he doesn't direct clients to use the train because it only runs once a week and is very unreliable. Reading this thread pretty much confirms that. It would suck to be waiting on the passenger train, watching freight trains go by all day....or night.
Joe
 
OregonDave
senior member (76)senior membersenior member
 
08/27/2021 12:18AM  
Planning to give the train a try on Sept. 16th @ Schultz's Trail...will have wife monitoring and In Reach communications. Will hope for the best. and prepare for the worst.
 
08/27/2021 09:55AM  
Dang, I am jealous of all the tripping you are getting in, Dave! Wish you the best on the train, but recommend you and your "favorite canoe partner" have a book and/or cribbage deck along....
 
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