|Day Thursday - We slipped quietly into Winnipeg before dawn – over an hour early. The rules stayed in place - doors opened @0830hrs and we had to back on the train NLT 1130hrs. The train was closed from 1000-1100 hrs for “crew work” where no passengers would be allowed on or off for safety reasons. This was the first large urban pick up and drops off station stop. We decided to venture to the Forks Market. At -18, we weren’t up for walking far. From the station we could also see the neat pedestrian bridge and the beginnings of a new natural history museum. Several folks joined a city tour so got a taste of the city from the warmth of a bus. We three had been here in the past, so the legislature, the golden boy and the museums were not of interest to us.
Our movie casting briefing was also scheduled for 1130 hrs today, immediately upon re-boarding so that we would know what to do for our afternoon shoot. We met a few more passengers – from sleeper and economy – who were also extras. Of course, our debut was delayed. It was 1230hrs when we got told, by the extra casting director, we would not be shooting today because of a departure delay. Then we got told by VIA about a derailment near Rivers, then the details 56/99 cars by our VIA travelers. Of course this started to raise the who, what, where, when, why questions. Couldn’t shoot because it was a dining car scene and they needed the movement for the scenery.
When? Good guess. The gurus needed time to discuss options with CN and VIA with respect to end train travel, reroute around derailment, or wait it out with minimal impact to the movie, the Olympic travelers and the “travel credits” VIA will have to provide. So they reopened the train and told any who left to re-board NLT 2100hrs for an update. Well no real official update came. VIA worked really hard to accommodate passenger choices – for those that chose to leave, they got reimbursed the remainder of their trip; people got tickets purolated to friends and relatives in Vancouver, to be used by others since it appeared the Sat morning events were going to be missed, for sure; phones were made available to folks needing to connect with family along the route for changing wedding pick up times etc.. For the Scots, VIA helped them with hotel and flight arrangements to Vancouver because VIA could not directly credit international bank cards with a reimbursement. Those getting off to spend a couple days skiing in Jasper decided not too. Of course most of us stayed the course. Saturday was a visiting day for us so were not Olympic impacted. As the delay wore on, many of us just inquired about timings. For example if really late, would we stay on the train overnight for simplicity sake.
Highlight or darklight: stuck in Winnipeg, not stuck b/w stations of any sort, crew change (Say hello to Jeanie, Rosa, Mo and Desi, Ric and Gary and Ivan). Ivan the magnificent was the service manager who worked tirelessly to address any passenger angst over the delays. Real walk time, fresh air and good food.