The night train goes between Halifax and Montreal, and Montreal and Halifax. You can’t get there from here in daylight . . . by train. The train chug chug chugs out of Halifax early afternoon, and out of Montreal early evening. The two pass somewhere in Quebec. Arrival in Montreal is early morning (breakfast time) and early evening (supper time).
Although I’ve had some association with trains for decades (the father of a next-door childhood friend was even the conductor on a train) I came to my pleasure and interest in trains from my first trip to Europe. Both in Great Britain, and the continent, I had great pleasure on the trains (much due to the scenery I had never seen). It was really after that first trip that I travelled with any seriousness by train in Canada. And, as I said, any travel from east to west must include the night train to Montreal.
I have been blessed in that I have never had to ‘sit up’ on this trip (though, these days, even that is not too bad). I’ve had berths (upper and lower) and compartments (these days – again – even with their own shower). And I love the dome cars, sitting there for hours even after dark. It is a grand sensation travelling though the darkened forests with often no more than moon light and stars. And the red and green signal lights of the track itself.
Back ‘in the day’ I even almost had a Night train romance.
This was in the upper berths, where nothing more than a curtain flap and a zipper kept the sleepers private. One usually undressed while supine upon the mattress, sloughing off one’s outer clothes.
On one particular journey to Montreal, in the dark of that Quebec landscape, across the narrow aisle, was a beautiful teen-aged gal, not many years younger than myself. And she indicated ‘interest’, with smiles and giggles and some gentle teasing of undress.
However, she travelled with her (I presume) parents, safely ensconced in the lower berths. And Daddy looked as if he:
a) would brook no nonsense
and (more to the point)
b) would cease and desist any interest by me
The sweet lass keep appearing from behind her curtain with smiles and gestures, but finally realized that an athletic leap from my side to hers was neither safe nor wise. We arrived in Montreal as pure as we set out.