When it comes to long distance travel, people tend to think of air transportation first. However, train travel can be a nice option that should not be overlooked, even in a huge country like Canada. Montreal-based Via Rail offers terrific opportunities to discover Canada using train transportation. With its 14,000 kilometers of track, it operates throughout the country and features various routes (see map below) that connect 450 Canadian localities.
Image courtesy of http://www.viarail.ca/en/trains#
Via Rails major routes
- The “Corridor”: This route links Windsor, Ontario, to Quebec City and represents the most heavily used part of Via Rail’s network. It is popular with business and leisure travelers. All major destinations in Southern Quebec and Southern Ontario can be reached from Montreal, including Ottawa, Toronto and Quebec City. You can also head east to the Gaspé Peninsula and discover the Atlantic region or explore Northern Quebec.
- The “Canadian”: The “Canadian” trains run from Toronto to Vancouver and feature plenty of stops in between (Winnipeg, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Jasper). This four-day train trip lets you relive the romance of train travel and brings you up close to Canada’s stunning scenery, from soulful sunsets in the prairies to the majestic peaks of the Canadian Rockies.
- The “Ocean”: This route goes from Montreal to Halifax and runs along Canada’s east Coast. This overnight train journey takes you along the St. Lawrence and lets you enjoy the scenic beauty of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. On the train you can even learn about lobster traps, ghost ships and Acadian traditions.
Train Travel Advantages
You may wonder what the advantages of using such means of transportation are. Apart from the fact that travelling by train is safer than both car and air travel, Via Rail’s comprehensive service (meals, Wi-Fi access, lounges, sleeper cars etc.) makes it a relaxing experience. Besides, it offers speedy downtown-to-downtown travel to and from major cities. It is the best way to enjoy a stress-free trip with no need to be there two hours in advance for security checks.
Although it takes more time than air travel, train travel enables you to use your time in a more productive way. You can enjoy your time, relax and take a look through the window to admire the scenery. You can also use the Wi-Fi access and connect your laptop in case you need to work or if you simply want to spend some time on the Internet.
Personally I have used Via Rail on two trips to Montreal, both times in business class, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I simply hopped on the train in downtown Toronto and arrived about 5 hours later in downtown Montreal, used my laptop to surf the net, enjoyed a nice lunch and didn’t have to bother with driving myself or with the security hassles and inconveniences of taking a plane.
Via Rail has Panorama dome cars on some of its routes that are specially built for sightseeing so you can take in Canada’s breathtaking sceneries. It also offers an extensive on-board entertainment program on its cross-country routes, including learning vignettes, Canadian Heritage interpretation and an “On-Board Musicians” program. And it allows you to meet interesting people and enjoy the convivial atmosphere of long-distance train journeys. Experiences like this will make your long-distance train trip a memory of a life time.
Great sightseeing inside Via Rail’s dome cars (image by Sean Marshall)
Via Rail Getaways and Train Package Offers
If you are thinking of train travel in Canada, check out Via Rail’s Getaways and Train packages offers. The packages not only include train travel but also accommodation and even activities. Everything is planned so that you can enjoy your vacation and relax.
Via Rail offers different types of packages according to your needs (budget, length of stay, interests, etc.).
Via Rail Passes
Apart from its Getaways and Train packages, Via Rail also offers a variety of interesting rail passes:
- Canrailpass: You can visit Canada from coast to coast with the Canrailpass, valid for 7 one-way tickets in Economy class within a 21-day period.
- Canrailpass – Corridor: As the regular Canrailpass, the Canrailpass – Corridor offers 7 one-way trips in Economy class. The only difference is that it is only valid for Corridor destinations within a 10-day period.
- Biz-Pak: the Biz-Pak offers 10 one-way trips between two pre-determined stations in Economy class or 6 one-way trips in Business class.
- Via 6 Pak: The Via 6 Pak offers discounts to young people age 12 to 25. With it, you can save up to 50% on the adult regular fare for 6 one-way tickets between two pre-determined stations, provided that you book your trip in advance.
The passes offer great flexibility as you can decide where you want to go and how long you want to stay. You can plan your trip by yourself and travel long distances on a limited budget.
Via Rail welcomes 4 million passengers a year and runs 460 trains every week. It offers quality service to travelers throughout Canada as well as interesting discounts. For further information about fares and trips, please check out www.viarail.ca