Canadian Train Travel

Jan 16th, 2019, 11:49 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 231
Canadian Train Travel

Hello Fodorites!
My wife and I are thinking of taking a train trip from Calgary to Montreal. I haven't done much investigation yet, but would appreciate any input.
Tdiddy12 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2019, 01:08 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
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You can't from Calgary.

cdnyul is offline  
Jan 16th, 2019, 03:46 PM
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Obviously you need to do some basic research.
Southam is offline  
Jan 17th, 2019, 12:04 AM
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NO do not do it ! There is like no scenery worth it between those points.. if you want a rail journey do the Rocky Mountaineer ..

Please listen to me.. going east of Calgary its mostly flat boring prairie .. going WEST is scenic mountains..
justineparis is offline  
Jan 17th, 2019, 08:53 AM
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Thanks for the advice justineparis. I looked at the website and am not sure what the Rocky Mountaineer trip is? Is that from Jasper to Vancouver?
Tdiddy12 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2019, 10:49 AM
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Hi Tdiddy12,

I have taken the train from Vancouver to Montreal a few times and have a few thoughts.

#1. You'd have to make your way from Calgary to Jasper, Hinton or Edmonton to catch VIA Rail's Alberta to Ontario service. I'd probably pick Jasper of those three as a starting point.
#2. Yes, Vancouver to Hinton, Alberta is the most scenic part of that train ride BUT I enjoy the Canadian Shield part of the journey a few hours east of Winnipeg for most of Ontario. The Canadian Shield has some lovely vistas of remote boreal wilderness with lots of lakes and streams. After Winnipeg, there's about 24 hours of Ontario. The Prairies can be flat, but not always...there were moments I admired the scenery.
#3. You'll have to switch trains in Toronto to head to Montreal. Be aware that the VIA Rail train from Alberta to Toronto is commonly late on the order of several hours. A possible idea is to spend the night in Toronto, then you won't be stressed about missing a connection (although usually there re-book people quickly for ongoing travel to Montreal).
#4. I can't imagine doing a journey of this length without a sleeper car. The cheapest option in this category is the "upper berth"--know that this means climbing up a ladder to your bed. I enjoy the socializing (there's a games car and a bar car) and the meals in the sleeping car.
#5. Being on the train for several days even in a sleeper is not something everybody enjoys. Possibly going west, from Edmonton to Vancouver, might be a better trial run, as that journey is less than 24 hours.

Happy travels
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Jan 17th, 2019, 10:05 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
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The 3 day/week ViaRail Canadian runs through Jasper and Edmonton (not Calgary). The prairies east of Edmonton nearly to Winnipeg are boring compared with the mountains west of Edmonton.
I've been on the Canadian several times all the way from Toronto to Vancouver. My stops have been Winnipeg for 2-3 days and Jasper for 2-3 days.
I also took the train north from Winnipeg to Churchill (twice). The second time I went with my wife and we did see a polar bear in the wild.
Depending on where you are coming from, if you want to go to Montreal, take the Amtrak train north from New York City. (or fly to Montreal)
tomfuller is offline  
Jan 18th, 2019, 06:31 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 231
Thanks Daniel,
I was having the same thought. Our overall goal is to spend some time in Canada at the end of summer. We have a timeshare in Canmore and want to go to Montreal and Quebec after that. The train always seems, shall I say, romantic, but after figuring in cost and time it doesn't always work out. We could take the Vancouver to Calgary route for starters.
Tdiddy12 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2019, 10:56 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,198
Take the ViaRail Canadian from Vancouver to Jasper. it is much cheaper than the Rocky Mountaineer to Calgary. Rental cars are available within walking distance of the train station in Jasper. There is also a bus that stops in Canmore on its way to Calgary from Jasper.
tomfuller is offline  
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