Train Journeys

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Originally posted by 'lance:
[b]As for the Lake Superior portion, of course that's gone now as the Canadian takes the CN route through northern Ontario -- hundreds of miles of virtually featureless boreal forest... [/b]

Punctuated by rocks and water, just like in the Arrogant Worms song.


[b] I found it interesting, though, that it stops at little fishing camps (or was still doing so in 1993 anyway), with fishing guides apparently using it to commute between camps.[/b]

Still does, and to pick up/drop off canoeists.


Then there are short-distance journeys, by tram or local train. In the interests of avoiding thread proliferation, I'm posting this Le Devoir article about [url=]Paris trams[/url] and the Montrйal mayor's visit (hmm, funny how they always choose places like Paris, London...)

I've taken the tram that rings part of Paris to the north; the southern one seems more high-tech still.

A fascinating tram is the Kusttram [url=]Belgian coastal tram[/url] [url=]Kusttram[/url] - the longest tram line in the world, along the Flemish coast.



Originally posted by gabong:
[b]I once hitch hiked from St.John's to Halifax (damn the NF government for ripping up the rails).[/b]

Can't blame the NF govt. for that. It was CN that shut down the Newfoundland Railway (briefly known as Terra Transport, when CN was trying to offload it in order to avoid its obligations to the workers) in 1988, with the blessing of the Mulroney govt. of the day.

They had to keep paying workers' salaries because of an "employment security" provision that had been negotiated nationally just 3 years earlier. So to add insult to injury, after closing down the railway shops and lines, they assigned the workers to tear up the tracks. No great loss in one sense, given that they were narrow-gauge -- but the idea of a province like Newfoundland & Labrador not having a functioning rail line borders on the obscene IMO.

As for personal tales, I have travelled by rail from Winnipeg to Vancouver, and when I was 12 years old, from Winnipeg to New York once with my family. Unforgettable. The only way to go.

chester the pra...

Sigh, its sad to think that train travel used to be so important even in the 60's and even in small town saskatchewan and now its so expensive and inconvenient.

I remember when the train used to stop in the tiny town i grew up around and was tended by a *station master*. we use to put cream on the train and send it to the dairy 30 miles away. i used to get birthday presents from my aunty which we would pick up at the station.

In the 60's and 70's and even the early '80's i used the train quite a bit. I remember taking the dayliner from Prince Albert to Saskatoon and then the mainline west right to my small town after a visit with relatives; all by myself when I was about 10. The dayliner used to provide commuting services between regina, saskatoon and prince albert at least twice a day! back then.

I took the train between saskatoon or unity and edmonton a number of times, it was economical, convenient and fun! young hippies, the bar car...ahhhh. I used to ride my bike out to the saskatoon station and throw it on the train and go out to visit family (well a couple of times any way). I also remember though, one winter when the via east bound was 36 hours (!) late coming into Saskatoon. It was very cold and the train just froze up.

The last time I checked a round trip between Saskatoon and Jasper cost about $350/person. That might work for one person but take a family and you can rent a van or a car cheaper, too bad cause its a fantastic way to travel.


Don't moan, organise! Transport 2000 (yes, the name is dated, I agree) started in the UK as an association devoted to promoting public and sustainable transport, including trains. This is the site of [url=]Transport 2000 Canada.[/url] They worked alongside us hippies in Le Monde а bicyclette and Vйlo Quйbec on the development of cycle paths, support for commuter trains, etc.

This could be a far more popular cause in the coming years with the combined impact of climate change and a relative scarcity of petroleum.

Time spent on commuter trains is not necessarily wasted time, unlike driving or taking the bumpety bus, as one can read, write or even work if one so desires...

Willowdale Wizard


A fascinating tram is the Kusttram Belgian coastal tram Kusttram - the longest tram line in the world, along the Flemish coast.

[url=]i was on a similar coastal tram[/url] this summer, but it was in germany along the baltic coast to the polish border.


One of my favorite rail journeys, was back in 2002 in Morocco. The railcars and trains were brand new, convenient, impeccably clean and cheap too; amazing when compared with Canada. Here's the[url=] link.[/url], a great country by rail all they have to is connect some of the bus routes through the High Atlas. If you follow the links, you will see that they plan on building all the connections; where's Canada in all this?

Another couple great rail (albeit slow and incredibliy hot) trips are From Bamako to Dakkar and Through Togo and Benin from the north down to the coast. Breathtaking change in secenery; Sahel to Lush Tropcal!

[ 21 February 2006: Message edited by: HalfAnHourLater ]


Two train routes I'm surprised no-one has mentioned.

Singapore to Bangkok

White Pass and Yukon Railway

It used to go from Skagway to Whitehorse before it was shut down in 1982 but now I think it goes from Skagway to Carcross as a tourist train. I walked and skied along the tracks far more often than actually taking the train.



Originally posted by Policywonk:
[b]Two train routes I'm surprised no-one has mentioned.

Singapore to Bangkok


Yabbut, the portage is a killer.

I made a couple of CNR solo trips from Prince Rupert, B.C. to Yarbo, Sask. when I was 11-12. This was in the early 70s.

My mom gave me a box of baloney sandwiches, apples and about four Cragmont canned pops, and sent me on my way. It was a lot of fun.

I liked standing outside on the platform between cars, watching the mountains go past at pretty close range.

I've taken the TGV in France, too. It's so fast and smooth (and the stops in cities like Angers and LeMans don't take much longer than civic bus stops in Canada) that it doesnn't even seem like a train ride.

Bobolink Bobolink's picture

Another great trip is the steam-powered cog railway up Mount Washington in New Hampshire. I remember the smell of coal and cinders which brought back memories of the CPR in southern Quebec in the early 1950's.


Man, the trains in 'eastern' Europe are awesome. Every little town has a station - you can go everywhere. Czech, Slovakia and Hungary are simply fantastic by train.

For the beer lover, you can do a beer tour. Go to Pilzen and have an original Pilsner, then carry on to Budweis and have a Budweiser.


Here is an Observer article from a traveller who always chooses the train rather than "budget" flights to get around inside Europe" [url=,,329453245-102284,00.html]Make tracks in Europe[/url]

On his own site, the man in [url=]Seat 61[/url] also discusses how to get deals on railway fares, and reminds us that trains travel city centre to city centre, and don't have the other hidden costs planes do, as well as the environmental factors and the pleasure in train travel itself, of course.

arborman, the countries you name are most certainly Mitteleuropa!


We used to take the VIA from Salmon Arm BC to Golden once every summer. Incredible views of the rockies not visible from the trans-Canada. Lots of really neat tunnels, bridges and scenery.

Wilf Day

Has anyone here ever ridden [url= TranzAlpine from Christchurch to Greymouth, from one coast of New Zealand to the other?[/url]


It is rated as one of the top scenic train journeys in the world. The train crosses the patchwork farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, winds its way through the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River, crosses the spectacular Southern Alps, via the alpine village of Arthur's Pass and past beautiful Lake Brunner before descending through lush beech rain forest to the West Coast town of Greymouth – a great base for visits to Punakaiki and the always popular glaciers.

The TranzAlpine includes both one way seating and tabled group seating. Both styles allow you to experience the amazing views while enjoying the company of other passengers on-board. An open air viewing carriage allows you to get even closer to the stunning scenery and provides many opportunities to photograph your favorite spots.

The journey is 223.8 kilometers long and takes just four and a half hours. There are 16 tunnels, and 5 viaducts.

As a bonus, it's now the most southerly regularly scheduled passenger train in the world, isn't it, since they axed the train to Dunedin?


A more southern NZ train [url=]

Why is it so cool to write about trains? Why do they envoke such feelings?
There is the walking and talking, the constant vibration, perhaps like the womb? The being in touch (meeting locals, seeing people, being able to call out to, and wave, to the people you pass) but conversly the feeling of distance (we could almost be in a lounge chair, watching a documentary, we don't seem to affect the surroundings we pass thorough). Then there's the train stations, old, new, magnificant, decrepit, with flowers, with staff, unmanned. Fences and gates. The tiolets and restrooms, the tiles, the bars on the windows, the tickets, cardboard, plastic, paper, the cafe inside the train station (ten minutes to get a cup of tea in a china cup and saucer, stamped NZR) sellers on the platform.
The carriages, upstairs, old and new, roof racks, emergency stop cords, leather seats, seats that turn and face the other way. Tables that fold out, dining cars, white table cloths, small cafes in the corner of a carriage. Tiolets, rocking and lerching, don't flush in the station. Someone making up your bed for you. Your own compartment, with a sliding door. Over bridges, standing on the back platform, riding in the engine, watching the guards, clicking the tickets.
Going home, going back, holidays.
I have riden on only ten or twenty different train services, but they evoke such memories!
The view goes past floating or flying, but the inside of the train!
Catch a plane and they're all the same.

[ 03 February 2007: Message edited by: Southlander ]

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

I took the train from Vancouver to Winnipeg when I moved here. I remember it like yesterday. Trains are a happy contrast to the hurried travelling of the tourist. They draw attention not only to the destination but also to the journey.


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi:There is more to life than increasing its speed.

[ 03 February 2007: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]

Wilf Day


Originally posted by Southlander:
[b]A more southern NZ train [url=]

Lovely trip. Thanks.

But it's a tourist train, a scenic ride only, while the TranzAlpine from Christchurch to Greymouth is not only a scenic train journey but a working daily passenger train to Greymouth. Or am I making a wrong assumption?



Originally posted by Wilf Day:
Lovely trip. Thanks.

But it's a tourist train, a scenic ride only, while the TranzAlpine from Christchurch to Greymouth is not only a scenic train journey but a working daily passenger train to Greymouth. Or am I making a wrong assumption?[/b]

This is obviously the assumption the TransAlpine publicists are making, when they call it the most Southerly. However I think the difference may be mostly pedantic, as the Tairia train runs every day, and tickets are avilable one way or return. The service to Palmerston (not daily) is used by my mother sometimes to get to and from my sister's in Dunedin. What defines the difference between a scenic train and a passenger train? Both these trains are scenic, and they both carry passengers. I will concede many of the Tairia passengers do return on the same day, on the same train, however this criteria could also be applied to the other one, and surburban train lines, which are usually not purely scenic trips.

Wilf Day


Originally posted by Southlander:
[b]What defines the difference between a scenic train and a passenger train? Both these trains are scenic, and they both carry passengers. I will concede many of the Tairia passengers do return on the same day, on the same train, however this criteria could also be applied to the other one, and surburban train lines, which are usually not purely scenic trips.[/b]

I guess if the majority of the passengers come straight back after a 10 minute turnaround, they were there for the ride.

But what I was wondering is, might that also be true of the Christchurch / Greymouth run, which comes back an hour after it arrives? Or are the majority of those passengers people who actually want to go somewhere?


If you go to their website, the giveaway on the Tairi train is the price, $40 one way $59 return to Palmerston, train is there 1 1/2 or 2 hours.

Wilf Day


Originally posted by Southlander:
[b]$40 one way $59 return to Palmerston, train is there 1 1/2 or 2 hours.[/b]

Or 45 minutes?

Once a week?

I don't see why they do that run? Not that I'm complaining, it's better than nothing. Why did Tranz Rail ax the Christchurch - Dunedin run?



Originally posted by Wilf Day:

I don't see why they do that run? Not that I'm complaining, it's better than nothing. Why did Tranz Rail ax the Christchurch - Dunedin run?[/b]

Reason for run. People from Dunedin, family groups loved day out on Tairia line, get to repeat family fun day on trip to Palmerston.
Second query is a bit difficult for me to comment (usual foot in mouth problem) without insulting staff, however.... Govt in NZ often gave into union pressure and in several sectors people working for government were given very good wages and more expensive perks sometimes including accomidation, return transport, uniform service, days in lue, holiday pay rates, extras for family, etc. I do not know if this happened in the railways. The only place I know it still happens is in parliment itself!
Anyway, weither this contributed or not I don't know, but the railways were running at a loss, so the lines were closed.
I did catch one of the last trains to run Dunedin to Chch, and there were 5 staff on the platform organising the bags (one trolley full), and three people in the small on-train shop. However as it was possibly the last run, that may have been the reason for so many staff?

[ 04 February 2007: Message edited by: Southlander ]

Wilf Day
Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

[img] had the pleasure of riding the Eurostar through the Chunnel last week. TGV trains are very impressive, they are definitely something we should have; it makes me feel that I come from a rather backward place that we don't.

BTW, there were no economy seats left for the trip back to France, so I went Business Class. It came with a meal. The food was good, far better than I've had on any airline - and about 7000% better than the inedible swill I was served on Air Transat.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I hitch-hiled from Ottawa to Vancouver in 1968 and took the train back - it was a great trip, but I recall I was tired as hell, because I found it almost impossible to sleep on that noisy train. I gather it's improved since. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

Willowdale Wizard

[url= list that is a bit biased towards British journeys ... but interesting nonetheless.[/url]



It took 12 years to build this 489km railway. Many break the journey at Myrdal for the spectacular branch down to the sea at Flam, so steep the train has five braking systems. The last stretch from Voss is seldom out of sight of fjords. The area around Finse was used for The Empire Strikes Back.

Where European Rail (020-7619 1083; [url=][/url]

How much Ј87 Komfort class, one way

How long 7hrs



Arguably the finest stretch of main-line railway in Britain, the journey west from Devon’s capital begins with the glorious stretch along the seawall through Dawlish and Teignmouth. After the deep, wooded valleys of the South Hams, there are views across the flanks of Dartmoor before a succession of panoramas from lofty viaducts engineered by Brunel. The crossing of the Tamar by his Royal Albert Bridge marks the entrance to Cornwall. St Michael’s Mount is a fitting climax.

Where: First Great Western stations (08457 000125; [url=][/url]

How much: Ј15.70-Ј67.80



There are few stretches of railway so continuously beside the sea as this curve around the Ligurian Sea. Inland are the Alps crashing abruptly down to the sea. French groves of oranges give way to palm-sheltered promenades at the series of Italian resorts.

Where Rail Europe (0844 848 4069; [url=][/url]

How much Ј31 one way

How long 9hrs 15mins



This journey over the highest rail crossing of the Andes takes you up to 15,688ft at Galera, and oxygen is available on the train. Once a daily train, it now operates about twice a month, though the carriages have been recently refurbished with windows in the roof and better seats.

Where Journey Latin America (020-8747 8315; [url=][/url]

How much from Ј271

How long 3 days

rural - Francesca rural - Francesca's picture

I tear a little.

I was born in southern England, and you took the train like people take the TTC now. My grandfather had worked for British Rail and trains were always a big part of our life. We always waved at the trains, and they would 'toot' in reply.

Seeing a train now, gets me so excited. My daughter just laughs and joins in waving, my son slinks down in his seat with a grumble of 'mommooommmm".

With the daughter heading to college this fall we check both Ontario Northland's rail and bus service. The train is cheaper, but she has to get off in Orillia, which is a long car ride for me to get her. The bus will bring her to Barrie.

The problem is Lake Simcoe (can we fill it in?). The train goes down the east side, if it went down the west side it would be so much better.

She wants to ride the train, the bus makes her nervous (even more now). She's never ridden on a public coach before. But she grew up with Thomas the Tank Engine, her British grandparents ensuring both children had plenty of themed toys, videos, songs, clothes etc.

My father, a train fanatic, would go back to England and find the real trains the Thomas series was based on and take pictures of them for the kids.

Not a summer went by, that they didn't head over to [url=]Tottenham[/url] for a taste of train travel.

I once had a delightful conversation with a First Nation cousin who was 10 the first time he saw a train. He and his friends were walking to school and this bellowing beast was in the forest, spewing steam and smoke, huge iron monster. Truly terrified him. Such a contrast to my childhood where my grandfather would introduce us to the Engineer and we'd get a sneak peak at the engine compartment.

We had a wonderful time over tea comparing our impressions.


I'm taking a long train ride a couple of days from now, on Amtrak. It's much nicer crossing the border by train than by bus - when you go by train, the border guards and immigration come on the train and just walk through the aisles and ask for your documentation there. When you go by bus, everyone has to disembark and walk through immigration and customs with all our luggage and carry-ons.

The last time I went to the US, I took the train for the first time (that is, first time in the US, as opposed to normally taking the bus), coming back from NYC. It was very pleasant, and it was nice to see different scenery than the usual Thruway and I-81. Although...sigh...when you go by train, you don't get to see the gorgeous Delaware Water Gap the way you do when you go by bus.

Anyhow, looking forward to going both ways by train this time. It doesn't cost much more, and it's just so much more comfortable than the bus. And I don't even mind the length of the trip - 12 hours to relax, read, nap, write. What's a vacation for if not to be lazy for some of it? [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]


I'm told the train from Singapore to Bangkok is nice. I've been on parts of it between Penang and Kuala Lumpur.


Most memorable journey for me was a ten minute hop from Trenton Junction to Belleville, Ontario, in my teens, wearing full-on Halloween costume and makeup. My friend's dad worked for CN so she rode for free and we used to split the cost of my ticket. Way cheaper than a cab!

Before that, when we were wild kids we used to go sit and wait for the freight train, about 15 - 20 feet away from the tracks in the woods near our village. If you stood up on your knees and leaned backwards when the train went by, somehow the air currents would pull you forward a bit, so it would be like your upper body was floating.

Scary. Now my kids get a bit freaked out even being inside Union Station in Toronto on the track level. We do take them on trains fairly often just locally, and in a few years we plan to start taking vacations that way.

That's a great idea re: NYC. Hmmm....


Seriously, triciamarie, it's a really nice train ride. And if you're vacationing and not really strapped for cash, get business class seats. On Amtrak, the business class seats are not much more expensive - only $26 dollars more one way, so $52 round trip, unlike VIA, where you have to sell off your limbs or your firstborn to raise the money to pay for VIA 1.

But, unlike VIA, business class on Amtrak does not include meals and internet and such (although every seat has an outlet, so you can plug in your computer on the trip - you just can't go online). It's not "luxury class" like VIA 1. You get free non-alcoholic drinks, though, and the seats are very big and the leg room is vast - you can bring all your luggage with you as carry-on and there's room for it! That's what I did the one (and only) time I took Amtrak - upgraded to business class because it was so cheap to do so. This time, I had to really watch my pennies so I didn't do it - so I'll see what the regular coach seats are like tomorrow. They didn't look too bad from what I could see from the snack car.

That was fun too, by the way. The woman behind the counter on the snack car was gregarious and gossipy and altogether charming. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img] So I spent a good hour of the trip chatting with her at intervals when she wasn't busy with customers, and so did a few other passengers.

The trains aren't as nice as VIA trains - they're older, and the windows are smaller. But the ticket prices are incredible compared to VIA. On VIA, if you want to travel from Toronto to Kingston one way (a 2.5 to 3 hour trip, depending on how "express" it is), you pay $84 coach. On Amtrak, if you want to travel from Toronto to New York City, you pay $100. For a 12 hour trip. Or $126 for business class. Very affordable.

Did you grow up near Trenton?? I have family there, and lived there for a couple of years myself when I was in primary school, so I know it well. We lived right near the train tracks too (in the neighbourhood near Domtar) and we were told fearsome stories in order to get us not to go near the tracks. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] The rule for us was, if you're standing on those black rocks (coal?) then you're too close. Soon after we moved in, they put in a service road next to the tracks, for trucks. So not only did we have trains whizzing past several times a day, and planes flying past from the air base, but the truck route meant traffic and trucks roaring by as well!

When we moved away, I missed the train noise. Once you get used to it, the trains and their horns become familiar and comforting.


Now, while I don't place much trust in Obama about anything else, any chance it will be easier for old activists to get across the border? I'd love to visit my friends in NYC, visit museums, even shop a bit (though no Sex in the City budget, and not even such a taste for shopping) - especially now that the dollars are more-or-less around par.

Michelle, while Via is criminally expensive, there are deals available. Strangely, any person over 60 (!) can have a companion travel free. My close friend K who is 62 is in better shape than I am - she is one of those lean, runner types who enjoys wilderness camping. There are also deals available buying in advance, and others on their website.

But the whole damned thing should be subsidised - and important routes such as the southern Prairie one brought back. Essential if anyone is serious about the global warming crisis.


I have no idea how hard it is for activists to cross the border, lagatta. I'm not exactly the revolutionary type and I doubt they read babble. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] I generally don't have too much trouble crossing the border - the only thing they do to me is question me carefully along the lines of whether I'm going to try to stay in the country when I say I'm coming into the country to visit friends - they want to make sure I'm not coming to visit a boyfriend or something, and then try to stay. Last time, they told me it would be a good idea to demonstrate ties to Canada by bringing various documentation like rent receipts, proof of employment, financial ties, etc. Which is fine, no problem, I'll bring them along this time. I'd love to be a smart-ass and wave my health card in their face and tell them, "Here's my strongest tie to don't need to worry about me trying to move here as long as you have no universal health care." But of course I wouldn't - I'd rather not get acquainted with the rubber gloves, even if they ARE for my protection. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

On the last couple of trips I've taken, I've found the American border guards to be nicer than the Canadian ones. In fact, last time, I got this really kind, grandfatherly type guy at the US border. Coming back, though, I was embarrassed at the hard time the Canadian guards gave the two women across the aisle from me on the train. They were unnecessarily surly and rude. They talked to me in the same clipped tone, and I made sure to match my tone to theirs - I'm not afraid of the Canadian border guards. It's my damn country and they work for me.

But I'm deferential to the US guards no matter what their demeanor, because I'm always quite conscious of the fact that I'm not a citizen of their country and have absolutely no "right" to enter their country, and probably not a lot of legal rights either.

Sven Sven's picture

I've crossed the border in and out of Canada many, many times (I grew up about six miles from the border--and I travel there at least once or twice a year for fun). I've never had a bad experience. I just refrain from joking I do with most people I come in contact with. It's just "business" when crossing the border.

My favorite border crossing is going to and from the Northwest Angle. The border crossing is literally a red phone booth with a video camera. You just pick up the phone and answer their questions and you're on your way. Not sure why they even bother with the booth.


Me and Mrs. OG almost got turned down at the border once. It was before we were married, so about 29 years ago. We had both just left our jobs and were going to take our time, camping for about a month with no particular itinerary except to head south and drop by her Mom's on the way back in Keene NH.

Anyway, we had to go into the office and the guy said "how do we know you're not going to stay"? I guess we both looked so non-plussed by the idea that he figured we hadn't thought about it. We both thought "why the fuck would we want to" but both were smart enough not to say it.

A few years ago the whole family crossed over at some tiny burg south of Estevan Sask. It was post 911, so I was a bit concerned. They were thorough, but very pleasant, and a lot of them for such a tiny town.

[ 03 August 2008: Message edited by: oldgoat ]


I love the train, and I love Amtrak. I haven't taken VIA yet in my adult life as it tends to be kind of expensive. I was going to this winter go from WPG - Van but unfortunately my plans had to change. But I've taken the Amtrak Coast Starlight route a few times, as well as the grinding "Empire Builder" route (I think that's what it's called) from Seattle to New York - and back. That was awesome but I believe that was three nights o/w and no, not much sleep.

This winter I did the Coast Starlight to LA and we got hung up in the Cascades for a few hours. I noticed some people stretched out in the luggage room and I joined them. That helped, just to be able to get horizontal and doze off in snatches.

During the day I enjoyed hanging out in the lounge car listening to the changing local radio stations (C&W dominating the airwaves for some reason) on my low-fi setup and buying stuff in the snack bar.

Wilf Day


Nothing to add right now, but this is a great thread.

A month from now I'll be on The Ocean from Montreal to Halifax. I'll report on it.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I'd love to take the train more, but it's so difficult and expensive that it won't happen any time soon.

I took an overnight train from Zhengzhou to Zibo when I was in China, and it was a very cool experience. 


I was thinking of taking the train between Toronto and Montreal for a quick weekend getaway, especially after I heard that VIA advertises discount last-minute fares every Wednesday. Since they offers seem to be available only online, I gave up after about a half hour of trying to figure out the online booking system. It's generally easy enough to use, until you try to use a discount code. I figured if I'm pretty computer-savvy and I couldn't make the process work, they clearly didn't want my business.

I'll try again soon. :)

I'm thinking of FINALLY visiting Europe next year, relying on a railpass. (Possibly the France/Italy railpass.) I've heard good things about the European rail system.


I entered a VIA contest as a "Via Preference" member, for free tickets to a music festival in Montreal, which includes travel both ways to Montreal.  Fingers crossed!  :)

The Amtrak trip last year that I was talking about in this thread went pretty well, but unfortunately, we were late getting into NYC, which meant that I missed my connecting bus to where I was going after that, so I had to take a more localized train to a station that was a $30 cab ride away from my destination.  But if you're going to NYC, Amtrak is great, even if it's late.  And I had a lovely trip home.

But last August's trip was spent in regular economy class, which was fine, still a decent amount of seat and leg room.  But I prefer business class, which also has single seats and costs very little more (I described it better above).  I'll be travelling to the US next week by Amtrak, and I'll be doing business class this time.  I'm looking quite forward to getting away for a bit. :)

jrose, that sounds so exciting, going to Europe and doing a rail pass!  A dream vacation if you ask me. :)  Although I'd actually be quite happy to do a rail pass in Canada or the US as well, if it weren't so damned expensive.  Amtrak is way cheaper than VIA, though.  And they call us socialists.  What a laugh. :D


I just entered the same contest, Michelle. It's ALL mine!!! Wink

That's good to know that Amtrak is cheaper. I'd like to do that as well. And Canada by rail is also a dream of mine, but you're right -- it's just too expensive!

I'm in the early, early stages of planning for Europe and budgeting, so I don't even know if it's possible yet. So far, my "planning" has consisted of taking a few books out of the library about doing Europe on a budget, so we'll see. I can't get my hopes up yet.


Has anyone had experience with Via Rail's EXPRESS deals?


I've been trying for the past few weeks, selecting trips (as soon as they go online) that meet the criteria, but still have no luck. I know I should just call VIA (and I will), but the trips go online during my work day, so it isn't so easy. 

Wilf Day

You never know what can happen in a railway station. Like, for example, an ordinary Monday morning at 8:00 in Antwerp Central Station, Belgium, on the 23rd of March 2009.

(I'm told that this required only two rehearsals.)

Wilf Day

Bump. (Lovely thread.)


Thanks Wilf, it is indeed.


mass transit in canada is a total joke!

I remeber fondly taking the trains from Kiev all over the country, the stations just a bustle of activity, constantly! For an overnighter with a bed, a 10 to 12 hour trip, with complimentary coffee $10!

(The station in Donetsk some time ago, bombed by the combined forces of Ukraine backed by Canada)

Recently I tried to get a train from kamloops to the coast $70 plus....and how to get to the non existant station, when the urban transit only goes part way...having to walk the rest? with say 100 pounds of baggage?



Also BCers may remember the old BC rail route from North Van to Prince George, that passed through Seton Portage and Lillooet. Lots of treeplanters used it to get to their summer gigs in Prince George. I never took it up that far, but to Lillooet a few times. Spectacular scenery that you don't get from the highway.

The BC Liberals broke an election promise not to sell it off and now it's owned and run by Rocky Mountaineer whose ridiculous fares make it inaccessible to most.


Great thread resurrection.

I noticed my post from Aug 2008. I did eventually take the train from Wpg to Kamloops in late fall of 2011. Great trip and remarkable and rare promotional price (for VIA) of $123. Deals can be found on VIA, esp in winter. Have also taken the Jasper to Prince George leg of the Skeena trip (again, in winter) and again, lucked into a cheap seat - $45 or something? With a Hosteliing discount. But I think the ski season hadn't fully started yet, so everything was discounted. Plan to do Prince George to Prince Rupert, perhaps this summer.


iyraste1313 wrote:
Recently I tried to get a train from kamloops to the coast $70 plus....and how to get to the non existant station, when the urban transit only goes part way...having to walk the rest? with say 100 pounds of baggage?

Yes, the station is north of the town up a remote canyon for some bizarre reason. The train doesn't exactly get in during convenient hours either. This is another mean-spirited trend in mass transportation: to move train and bus stations away from accessible and central locations to out-of-the-way locations like airports (Winnipeg Greyhound) or somewhere beyond the 'burbs. There's no rational reason for it that I can think of except mean-spiritedness or some kind of concession to taxi companies.


I recently took the Coast Starlight from Los Angelos to Vancouver (Canada.)

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Google Maps used to have the ENTIRE, week-long trip from Moscow to Vladivostok on video.You could pick the audio accompanyment of the rumble of wheels, Russian radio, balalaika, or one of three classic novels.

Does it load for anyone else? Not me.