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Molson/Coors Brewery Canada is running a contest awarding winners with tickets to ride the Silver Bullet Express. One of their products has been promoted as the Silver Bullet for years. In a first for Molson/Coors and Via Rail Canada a charter train was arranged to give beer drinkers the full Silver Bullet Express experience.

A train set featuring two specially wrapped F40PH-2 Via locomotives and 15 stainless steel cars from their active fleet was assembled in Toronto. The set was ferried to Edmonton, Alberta in the consist of train #1 The Canadian. On Friday April 15 one hundred or so lucky winners were treated to the Silver Bullet Experience. The Silver Bullet Express has a facebook page. For those of you with an account you can search the many photos taken from on board this wild party train.

To be in position to photograph this train was another experience. Information was sketchy at best as to the running plan and schedule. The only thing I knew for sure was the days it would run west from Edmonton. Having heard two vastly different versions on departure from Jasper I decided, after a 670Km (420 mile) drive, to camp by the tracks at Red Pass Jct in case the least favourite option on departure from Jasper came to pass. Sure enough after only 2.5 hours of freight train interrupted sleep the unmistakable roar of F40's in notch 8 sprung me to action at 02:34am!

The train had come from Edmonton earlier in the day on Apr 15 and passengers were treated to some off train activities in Jasper that involved an icy slippery slide, not too much clothing and a hot tub. With passengers back on board to warm up, and sleep it off, the train went through the Rockies in the dark.

To get photos I had to chase 160Km (100 miles) before there barely was enough light to attempt a shot. Well actually in my excitement I tried a shots using my headlights at one spot and a time lapse at another that of course resulted in streaks of light. As the day wore on the weather went from dark to snow with hail, rain, fog and finally sun south of Barriere the rest of the way to Kamloops.

In Canada at least they are accepting entries for a 2012 version of this train. I know I'm going to enter.

Anyway, on to the photos.

Coors has posted a couple of You Tube videos about preparations and on board experiences for this train.

Search You Tube for:

Silver bullet Express Time Lapsed Video

for a time lapse showing crews wrapping the lead locomotive Via 6445:

Also search You Tube for a tour of the special cars on the train:

Silver Bullet Express Sneak Peak

Finally I am in no way connected to Coors and do not endorse their product one way or the other. I do applaud them for such a bold marketing idea.

1. In my excitement this was my first attempt to photograph the train. At Taverna BC with the train going about 50 mph I had my headlights aimed at the tracks and used a flash. Not much but kinda spooky.

2. Just south of Albreda siding the tracks cross under Hwy 5. I set up for a time exposure. Again you can't tell much of what the train looks like but I like how the colors came out relative to the colors on a Coors Light can. Again I was excited to see the train but pissed it was running in the dark. I was trying to get something.

3. South of Avola the light was coming up and the snowfall helped brighten the scene near mile 30.

3a. Stopped at a red signal at McMurphy.



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4. Bridge 44, which is 44 miles west of Blue River, provides a nice overview with the snow still falling.

5. After a multiple meets and lengthy delays at Birch Island and a five train meet at Blackpool (including Via #2) the sun broke out south of Barriere.

6. Near Exlou they leaned in to a curve.



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7. A side view of the wrap on the locomotives. Via 6445 and 6408. Both have not been rebuilt to F40-3 standards yet and likely will be going to Montreal shortly after this trip for their turn. I don't know, but like the Budweiser unit a few years ago its not likely these will stay in this scheme very long. Interesting side note, Via 6408 was the last unit still wearing the Spiderman 2 scheme since 2004 when it was promoting the release of the movie. Ironic that it wore a tired old Spiderman scheme for 7 years and only wears a Coors Light scheme for a few weeks. We'll see.

8. The rear of the train was interesting. Assiniboine Park brought up the markers and ahead if that was five baggage cars that contained various attractions like a music car, a games car and an ice cold Coors car.

9. Lots of horse power near McLure.



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10. At Heffley Creek Rd the train was spotted so passengers could disembark to buses for a trip to Sun Peaks ski resort for some more sliding in the snow. This time it involved some sort of toboggan they called a Tohbog. Four at a time down a tube park run with lots spills and thrills. Probably the first time Via made a passenger stop at Heffley Creek.

11. The train then deadheaded to North Kamloops for servicing. Despite the some times adversarial relationship between Via and Rocky Mountaineer it was arranged for the train to be fueled and watered at the Rocky Mountaineer shops. The public was not allowed to that area but the local CN police officer was very accommodating in allowing me in to the CN yard to photograph the train backing up the RMR spur and passing two of the recently repainted RMR coaches that had arrived from the east (on Via #1) the day before.

12. After servicing the train was turned on the North Kamloops wye.



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13. With the train now pointing east they backed down the Okanagan Spur to the CN station in downtown Kamloops. This station is used by Rocky Mountaineer during its summer season.

14. Hey Ladies where you going? Additional passengers and returning Tohbug participants boarded the train here for the eastbound portion of their party. At 15:30 sharp the train departed as a limo pulled up. Much discussion ensued as the head end crew contacted the Coors booking staff on board and they finally decided they were not expecting anyone arriving by limo so they didn't stop. The final comment was they must have been just looking. Imagine that railfanning by limo!

15. Departing Kamloops across the South Thompson River Bridge.

That's it for this photographer. I was on the road for 33 hours with minimal sleep but ready to do it again when they run this train next year. The train was to make a straight shot for Blue River and a four hour stop for more drinking and lunacy. Then on board for an overnight through the Rockies under an almost full moon and a late morning arrival in Edmonton on Sunday April 17.

Thanks to Mitch the Via Manager of Train Operatios(West) for providing me with information along the way and to Via, Coors and CN for running this train and being tolerant of an interested photographer.


Eastern Railfan

One of the most outstanding trip reports I've seen in sometime! Great to see something unique like this. Thanks for sharing!

Royal Hudson 2850

The Rail Hunter
Great job in following that unique train. Good variety of shots I really like the second night shot, also can't beat horses and trains together. Nice capture on the repainted RMR coach. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

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