Train Travel

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Train Travel

Amtrak has service from New York and Chicago to Toronto (both 12 hours), providing connections between its own United States–wide network and VIA Rail's Canadian routes. VIA Rail runs trains to most major Canadian cities; travel along the Windsor–Québec City corridor is particularly well served. Amtrak and VIA Rail operate from Union Station on Front Street between Bay and York streets. You can walk underground to a number of hotels from the station, and there’s a cab stand outside its main entrance.

Trains to Toronto may have two tiers of service: business class and reserved coach class. Business class is usually limited to one car, and benefits may include more legroom, meals, free Internet access, and complimentary alcoholic beverages.

To save money, look into rail passes, but be aware that if you don't plan to cover many miles, you may come out ahead by buying individual tickets.

VIA Rail's Canrail pass allows seven one-way trips in coach-class within a 21-day period, between two pre-determined points, with one stopover per trip permitted. Sleeping cars are available, but they sell out very early and must be reserved at least a month in advance during high season (June through mid-October). The Economy Pass (high season: C$1,008; low season: C$630) must be purchased three days prior to the first trip; the more expensive Plus Pass (high season: C$1,159; low season: C$725) can be booked up to the day before. There are discounts for youths and senior citizens aged 60 and over.

Children under two travel for free in a parent's seat, and children up to 11 can get their own seat for roughly half the price of an adult ticket.

Major credit cards, debit cards, and cash are accepted.

Reservations are strongly urged for intercity and interprovincial travel and for journeys to and from the United States. If your ticket is lost, it is like losing cash, so guard it closely. If you lose your reservation number, your seat can still be accessed in their reservation system by using your name or the train you have been booked on.

GO Transit is the Greater Toronto Area's commuter rail. (It also runs buses.) The double-decker trains are comfortable and have restrooms.

Train Contacts

Amtrak (800/872–7245. www.amtrak.com.)

GO Transit (416/869–3200 or 888/438–6646. www.gotransit.com.)

Union Station (65–75 Front St., between Bay and York Sts., ON, M5J 1E6. 416/366–7788. www.toronto.ca/union_station.)

VIA Rail Canada (888/842–7245. www.viarail.ca.)

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