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Canada/Via Rail Canada

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Introduction

Toronto Union Station and CN Tower

Toronto Union Station and CN Tower

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Via Rail Canada is Canada's main provider of passenger train service. It provides service coast-to-coast across Canada, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with 14,000 kilometres of track serving some 450 Canadian communities. Its trains run along the rocky coasts of the maritime provinces, in the busy Quebec City to Windsor corridor (including Toronto and Montreal), across the Prairies, north to the polar bears in Churchill, through the majestic Rocky Mountains and along the shores of Vancouver Island.

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Routes

The Ocean

The Ocean is a night train that runs six times a week (six times each way) between Montréal and Halifax.

If travelling east, The Ocean leaves Montréal in the evening and travels through the small villages on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River before entering the Matapédia Valley. By very early morning, you'll see Chaleur Bay. From there, the Ocean heads south across New Brunswick, where it stops in Moncton before noon, and then continues on to Nova Scotia to arrive at Halifax around mid-afternoon.

If travelling west, the Ocean leaves Halifax in the afternoon to reach Montréal the next morning.

There are three classes of service:

  • Comfort class, which is a seat for the journey.
  • Comfort sleeper class, which provides you with a bed in private accommodations (available year round).
  • The Easterly class offers a sleeper, with additional perks like presentations affording cultural and historical insights, exclusive access to the lounges and panoramic section of the luxurious Park car, breakfast, lunch and a three-course dinner The Easterly class service is offered on the Ocean from mid-June until mid-October.

Quebec City-Windsor Corridor

Offering downtown to downtown service between a number of cities in the Southern parts of Ontario and Quebec, frequent trains run between Windsor, London (Ontario), Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, Montreal and Quebec City.

Two classes of service are available on these trains:

  • Comfort class (Economy), designed for passengers wanting comfort at the best possible price.
  • VIA 1 class, which offers all the comfort of Comfort class, but with more space, a meal and other privileges (including free alcohol).

Depending on your train and class of service, you might be entitled to assigned seating or reserved seats. In Comfort class, a one-way ticket between Montréal and Toronto costs only $77 (Comfort Supersaver fare, purchase five days in advance, taxes extra), though prices can rise from there if the Supersaver category is sold out.

The Hudson Bay

A 1,700 kilometres journey from Winnipeg to the sub-arctic shores of Churchill on Hudson Bay, this trip is a favorite way for travellers to get north to see the polar bears that frequent the area around Churchill. Train no. 693 leaves Winnipeg and travels via The Pas and Wabowden to Churchill. This is the train that travellers "from the South" take to visit Churchill and Hudson Bay. Train no. 692 makes the return journey. Trains number 290 and 291 carry passengers between The Pas and Pukatawagan. Connections with trains number 692 and 693 are easy and convenient. The train is also used by hunters, hikers and campers to get away from it all. The Hudson Bay also allows outdoor enthusiasts to get off the train anywhere they want by requesting a special stop.

The trip takes 3 days (2 nights).

Two classes are available:

  • Comfort class (Economy), the most economical way to travel in this vast region.
  • Sleeper class, which gives you a bed and access to a shower.

Read more about the Hudson Bay at the Via Rail website, including schedules and how to book tickets.

The Canadian

Running between Union Station in Toronto, Ontario and Pacific Central Station in Vancouver, British Columbia, the The Canadian is the longest part of the trans-continential train journey across Canada. The train travels through the scenic lakelands and boreal forest of northern Ontario, across the western plains of the Prairies and the splendid Canadian Rockies, and finishes its journey on the Pacific coast of British Columbia. The journey takes three days: leaving Toronto on Tuesday morning, you arrive in Winnipeg on Wednesday afternoon, Jasper on Thursday afternoon, and Vancouver on Friday morning.

There are two classes of service available:

  • Comfort class (economy), for any Canada train trip, with its roomy seats, is synonymous with comfort and enjoyment.
  • Silver & Blue class, for your Canadian Rockies vacation, offering luxury service with a reputation that has spread across international borders. You'll enjoy sleeping car accommodation, access to the Park car (observation deck), first-class meals (included in the price of your ticket) and many other privileges.

Other Routes

Information on all the routes, as well as schedules and booking information, can be found on Via Rail's website.

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Tickets

  • All tickets are sold point to point, meaning that you cannot hop-off at a station and hop back on a later train to complete your journey.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, from a travel agent, over the phone or in person at the train stations.
  • For online purchases, go to the Via Rail Website, where you can select your date, time and determine a schedule.
  • For information and reservations over the phone, call from anywhere in Canada or the USA, call toll-free: 1 888 VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245). Customers in Montréal can call (514) 989-2626 and customers in Moncton (506) 857-9830.
  • Overseas customers can call either the Montreal or Moncton offices at +1 (514) 989-2626 or +1 (506) 857-9830

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Cost

Costs depend on the schedule, class of service, date of travel and how far in advanced the tickets are booked.

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Eat

If food is served, and the quality of the food served depends on the train you have chosen and the class of service. Some trains have dining cars, while others (especially in the Quebec City - Windsor corridor) will just serve food at your seat.

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Drink

In Comfort class, alcohol is available for purchase. VIA 1 provides fee alcohol.

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Sleep

Sleeping cars are available on some trains. Details on the sleeping cars can be found on Sleeper car page on Via's website.

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This is version 7. Last edited at 9:04 on Jul 18, 11 by Utrecht. 14 articles link to this page.

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