Irishmen camp for VIA

By Andru McCracken


Good thing Ben Dunford and Owen Marmane were prepared for a cold weather stay, the two men were waiting for the VIA passenger train and had pitched a tent by the platform. Passersby helped them find the waiting room at the Valemount Hotel. /ANDRU MCCRACKEN

A couple of Irishmen who were in town visiting the area founded themselves waiting for the VIA train out of doors. Luckily, the men were well prepared and had brought a tent. They had, in fact, been ice climbing Mount Robson and had already camped out of doors for a number of nights.

So when their VIA trail was late, the set up their tent near the platform and waited in style. It awoke no small outrage in the community and the newspaper was quick to learn of it.

Lucky for the campers, Valemount Village councillor Pete Peason checked in with the two and found them some Valemount swag and filled them in on Valemount’s train station amenities.

Travellers can now wait in the comparative indoor luxury of the Valemount Hotel and use wifi at the hotel to query the VIA Rail app and shuffle off to the platform when the train arrives. There is only one problem with the ingenius and awesome plan. Arriving at the platform, there is simply no way to know that the Valemount Hotel is the defacto waiting room for the train.

Waiting in the warm at the Valemount Hotel is a recently introduced luxury. VIA cut a deal with new owners of the Valemount Hotel to allow ticket holding passengers to wait inside the small lobby.

There is no word yet on if or when a sign will be erected.

Ben Dunford and Owen Marmane had hoped to do some ice climbing and they took the VIA train up from Vancouver, hitchhiked to Mount Robson Park and made their way up on foot. They didn’t achieve their goal of getting to and climbing a glacier.

“The going was a lot slower than we felt it should be, we had to break the track,” said Dunford. “And there was a lot of snow.”

Despite their trouble, they may be back.

“We might give it another go,” said Marmane.

 

CORRECTION Monday, January 13th, 2020: Pete Pearson provided Valemount swag for the travellers and didn’t feed and water them as originally reported in the story.

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