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Rail travel Sarnia to Nova Scotia/Quebec/any suggestions??

Rail travel Sarnia to Nova Scotia/Quebec/any suggestions??

Old Feb 13th, 2011, 06:03 PM
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Rail travel Sarnia to Nova Scotia/Quebec/any suggestions??

Michigan residents, my sister and I, are considering traveling by train from Sarnia, the Canadian rail station closest to us, to Nova Scotia in June. I'm finding little Canadian rail travel commentary in Fodor's and not much elsewhere as I'm beginning my research. Not sure if rail travel to Nova Scotia is a good idea or if we should consider traveling to Quebec or another destination. We've been to Toronto many times and want to explore elsewhere. Any suggestions are welcome. Sister is a photography buff. We both love exploring, relaxing, shopping and quirky/offbeat places.
daschmo is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2011, 06:50 PM
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Here's a good trip report on a train trip from Montreal to Halifax return which might help your planning:

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Old Feb 15th, 2011, 10:46 PM
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If you look at the Via rail site, you will find there is only one train per day going in each direction between Montreal to Halifax and it takes almost 22hrs. Unless riding the train is the objective the trip, I don't think this appeals to many people. I flew Montreal to Halifax last fall. I drove around PEI and NS. The coastal areas are dotted with quaint coves and light houses.
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 06:02 AM
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Are you willing to get off the train in interesting cities, stay there overnight, and get on the train again a day later?

You'll need some cabs, or rental cars, in some of the cities.

Sarnia to Toronto.

Stay a day or two, or get onthe train for...

Your choice of Kingston, Ottawa, or all the way to Montreal.

Kingston's worth a day, or, on this leg, there's lots of trains that would take you later the same day to Ottawa or Montreal.

Toronto to Ottawa goes through Kingston.

Ottawa is full of things to see, most quite central, and gain, you could take an early train from Toronto to Ottawa, spend a few hours there, and then take another train to Montreal.

From Montreal... several trains a day to Quebec City. AGain, leave Monteal early, spend the day in Quebec City, or a day and a half, and then take the evening train (The Ocean) overnight to arrive in Moncton the next day.

Overnight in Moncton, find a tour to Hopewell Rocks, see the bore on the Petitcodiac River, and then the train the next day to Halifax.

Couple of days in Halifax, including some bus tours to Peggy's Cove, Yarmouth, etc.

Lots of on and off the train and transfers to hotels, but there's lots to see and do if you have the time.

I'm a photographer -- there are lots of interesting city-life and scenic landscapes to be photographed if you get on and off the train.

As I wrote this, it seemed like a pretty cool trip to me too.

I used to take the train from Toronto to Moncton every year, but back then there were steam locomotives.
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Old Feb 16th, 2011, 06:25 AM
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If you love rail, you may enjoy taking the train. It *is* essentially a two-day journey for you though from Sarnia-Halifax.

I noticed that there's a train leaving Sarnia at 6:40am, which, if all is on time, would get you into Montreal by 5:05 pm... if all went well, this *could* get you into Montreal on time for the 6:30 pm Halifax train called the "Ocean" (arriving in Halifax at roughly 5pm the next day). However, noticing you have only 33 minute leeway to catch the requied Toronto-Montreal train, I personally would not chance it. What I would recommend is overnighting in either Toronto or Montreal if what you wish to do is continue to Nova Scotia.

As the previous poster states, it's a 22 hour ride from Montreal to Nova Scotia. I've taken the "Ocean" round-trip on 3 different occasions and it's a lovely trip IF you get the sleeper car (which I always have). Crossing the Saint Lawrence River out of Montreal, passing through the Matapedia Valley, watching the opposite shores of la Gaspesie across the Baie des Chaleurs are highlights. I've enjoyed my meals in the dining car (a step up from Amtrak), the views from the dome car and the amiable sociability of the bar car...I just love it. However, the sleeper car is pricey and going "economy class" seems a bit of an ordeal to me.

If getting to Nova Scotia sounds like too much wear-and-tear, too much time or too expensive, but you want a train adventure in Canada, you may wish to consider taking the rails only as far as Quebec (as you suggest). If you leave Sarnia in the morning, you would be in Montreal that night (even if you miss that 30 minute connection in Toronto)... take several days to explore that city and then perhaps continue by rail to Quebec City, which is only three hours further. Study some French on the ride out to add to the excitement of the trip.

If you wish to splurge, VIA1 is a pleasurable way to get from Toronto to Montreal, with a nice meal and complimentary alcohol rather than a sandwich cart coming down the aisles.

Have fun deciding and dreaming! Daniel
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