The Unknown Rewards of Canadian Rail Travel

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Travel by rail is not as popular now as it once used to be. Most travelers these days fly by air as it will get to them their destination faster, and prices for flights have really become more affordable.

The concept of traveling by rail although not new, has become a tourist attraction in many places. Most cities have trains for transit.

What is so good about rail travel and why should people want to do it?

  • One advantage of the inter-city trains is that they are fast: Montréal to Québec in three hours, Montréal to Toronto in four hours, Montréal to Ottawa in less than two hours and Toronto to Ottawa in about four hours.

  • During these trips, travelers can relax, having limited stress and can take the time to focus their attention elsewhere – whether that be relaxing with a book or catching up on work.

  • Traveling by via rail in Canada also has its privileges. There is an economy class which gives you access to the restaurant car, and an observation car. The seats in economy are actually comfortable, and in some trains can have access to a power outlet for electronic use.

  • One of the best rail journeys is the Canadian, which links Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Jasper & Vancouver. The journey takes 4 nights, crosses four time zones and shows a lot of Canada’s mountains, lakes, forests and grasslands during daylight hours. On these trains, even Economy Class has seats that lean far back for comfortable sleeping, and economy passengers have access to a coffee shop, a lounge area and an observation dome. The sleeper options range from basic, with curtains around the beds, to luxury, with double cabins, hot showers and Wine tasting. During winter, tickets are sold at a discount.

  • The Rocky Mountaineer runs on four different scenic routes. Vancouver to Whistler shows off Cheakamus Canyon, water inlets and mountain peaks and passengers can sleep over at the Whistler Village mountain resort. The route from Vancouver to Banff and Calgary takes passengers through mountains, canyons, rivers and glaciers. The trains have observation cars, and passengers get breakfast and lunch on board.

  • These routes are not accessible by foot or car, so rail travel is the only transport through these towering waterfalls and canyons. Tour guides are also available to recount the history of the areas through which the trains travel.

  • Another worthwhile trip is the two-day journey between Prince Rupert, British Columbia and Jasper, Alberta. Passengers overnight in Prince George and pass through mountains, rivers, villages, farms and even wild life. The train has a lounge or observation dome car at the rear, which is open to all passengers off-season.

The rewards of traveling by rail are coming back in recent tourism sales. These routes listed above cannot be achieved by traveling any other way, so why not check out the unknown and relax while you are taken to other places with the slow pace, amazing scenery and lull of the train.