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Amtrak has service from Seattle to Vancouver, providing connections between Amtrak's U.S.-wide network and VIA Rail's Canadian routes. VIA Rail Canada provides transcontinental rail service. In B.C. VIA Rail has two major routes: Vancouver to Jasper, and Jasper to Prince Rupert with an overnight stop in Prince George. A third route, Victoria to Courtenay on Vancouver Island, is being upgraded. At this writing, service was set to resume in 2012, but delays could well see this edge into 2013. Rocky Mountaineer Vacations operates a variety of spectacular all-daylight rail trips between the Canadian Rockies and the west coast as well as the Whistler Mountaineer between North Vancouver and Whistler. All trains are no-smoking, and they do not run in winter.
If you're planning to travel much by train, look into the Canrail pass. It allows seven one-way coach-class trips within a 21-day period. Sleeping cars are available, but they must be reserved at least a month in advance. In high season (June through mid-October) the passes cost C$1,008, while in low-season rates (October 16 through May) they are C$630.
Reservations are essential on the Rocky Mountaineer and highly recommended on Amtrak and VIA routes. All the train services accept major credit cards, traveler's checks, and cash. VIA Rail will accept U.S. and Canadian currency.
Amtrak (800/872-7245. www.amtrak.com.)
Rocky Mountaineer Vacations (604/606-7245. www.rockymountaineer.com.)
VIA Rail Canada (888/842-7245. www.viarail.ca.)
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