Clutching his 1899 Appleton's Guide, Michael Portillo boards one of the world's most famous trains, the Rocky Mountaineer, to cross the backbone of the North American continent from Kamloops to the spa resort of Banff. This magnificent journey takes him to the highest point of the 19th-century transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway line at Kicking Horse Pass, past Lake Louise and inside spiral tunnels blasted through the mountains.\n\nAlong the way, Michael hears of the harsh and dangerous conditions endured by the Chinese and European labourers who built the railway and the many deaths which resulted. He looks back at the historic driving of the Last Spike, which completed the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885. After chatting with fellow passengers, Michael reports for duty in the luxury train's restaurant car. Reaching Banff, Michael follows his Appleton's guide to the luxurious Banff Spring Hotel, built by the railway company. At Sulphur Mountain close by, he explores an underground hot spring discovered by railway workers in 1883 and he learns how it prompted the creation of Canada's first national park. He finishes this leg of his tour of western Canada with a dip in the warm waters beneath and a hike on its summit.
Source: BBC 2