Trans Canadia train journey

Jan 23rd, 2002, 11:37 AM
  #1  
china
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Trans Canadia train journey

Hi

Has anyone been on this journey Vancover - Toronto, what was the accomadation like and could you get into the panoramic dome cars without having to wait for seats (full up with other passengers) How much did you pay £ or $.

What was the food like and any other info would be appeicated I've already check past threads and cannot find much on this topic.

Thank you
 
Jan 24th, 2002, 06:19 AM
  #2  
JLN
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I have had a similar question posted for days, and it seems difficult to get answers about the Canadian trains (other than being sent to the VIA rail website). One answer for you, China, is that you pay with Canadian dollars (unless, I suppose, you have prepaid before leaving home).

If I may piggy-back my questions, in hopes that someone has some experience to share:
"Is the idea of taking the train across Canada no longer a very good one? I went to the VIA rail website and, unless I'm mistaken, the train goes through the most scenic areas in the middle of the night, both east-west and west-east. And I found no information about relative fares or packages.

Has anyone done this, or any part of the Toronto-Vancouver trip, recently with light to shed on the question?"
 
Jan 24th, 2002, 06:21 AM
  #3  
JLN
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Sorry, China -- I misread your question about payment -- thought you asked "how did you pay?" not "how much?" I'd like to know that too.
 
Jan 26th, 2002, 06:22 AM
  #4  
ttt
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Can anyone help?
 
Jan 26th, 2002, 06:56 AM
  #5  
Debbie
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Hi - go to www.google.com and do a search on train+travel+Canadian and/or try this address at:

http://gocanada.about.com/cs/traintravel/

Check out Rocky Mountain Rail Tours - it's mostly in western Canada but you should be able to find lots of information at the site mentioned above.
 
Jan 27th, 2002, 02:46 PM
  #6  
Sheila
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China, I have taken the Canadian. We went from Toronto to Vancouver. This was 5 years ago, and we are hoping to do it again this year or next year.

My husband and I thought it was great! I called VIA Rail directly, and made the reservations through them. I was told, at that time, that I was to 'reserve' 1 year in advance, 6 months before departure, they called and aaked if we were still interested and if so, we needed a deposit. We did that and a few months before departure, we paid in full. We choose the bedroom with the toilet, and the upper and lower berths. The cost (5 years ago for 2 people with these accomodations) was, I believe, $1350.00 American.

I have checked prices recently, and boy oh boy, have they gone up!!

We saw wonderful scenery.Experienced a few snowfalls, saw the Elk roaming around the town of Jasper.

We met great people from many parts of the world. Australia, South Africa, England to name a few.

We had no trouble getting seats in the domeliner, because they have, if I remember correctly, 1 dome for 2 passenger cars. The dome cars are for the sleeping car passengers.

The food was very good. We choose all meals from a menu.

There must have been great scenery while we were sleeping during the night, but I had to sleep sometime

The Rocky Mountaineer only travels during daylight and you do not sleep on the train. It does not travel the same route as the Canadian.

Hope this info helps. Who knows, we may be on the same train one day.

Sheila

 
Mar 26th, 2002, 09:03 AM
  #7  
cindy
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We are thinking of making this same trip but I am having trouble finding info. A basic question - from the website I cannot tell what is the difference in sleeping cars between 2 person and upper berth or lower berth. If there are two of us traveling together we would get a private berth wouldn't we?

Are there any discounted fares ever?

And can you get off the train for several days with no penalty at an intermediate stop

Thanks

Cindy
 
Apr 15th, 2003, 07:12 AM
  #8  
 
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Cindy, are you still out there? Wondering how your experience was? I am also having trouble figuring out the berth thing though I've been to their website. I know in France, if you get a first class berth, you share with three others. We are thinking of doing this trip and would love to hear from others who have done it.
JennyL is offline  
Apr 15th, 2003, 07:36 AM
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JennyL--the cross-Canada VIA trains have a number of types of sleeping accommodation:
1. berths (upper and lower) each for a single person. In the day time these are made up into seats facing each other;privacy is afforded at night by heavy curtains that run down the length of the sleeping car sections. You use the washrooms, toilets and shower facilities at the end of each sleeping car.
2.Roomettes or single bedrooms--same thing. These are individual small rooms with sliding metal doors. Your seat (with its individual window) faces a wash basin and mirror and a toilet. At night, the bed comes down from the wall or ceiling and covers both the seat and toilet (you have to flip the bed up to use the toilet). These are for a single person, and are not particularly comfortable.
3. Double bedroom--designed for two people with two armchairs and washing facilities,and a toilet in a separate compartment. Beds are arranged by the sleeping car attendant at night. This is a comfortable way to travel. As with the others, shower facilities are located in each sleeping car. One "double" bedroom in each sleeping car is actually designed for three people, although it can be reserved by two (or one, for that matter).

If you're travelling by yourself, I suppose the roomette is the way to go, unless you're young and hardy and can handle a berth. If you're two people travelling together across Canada, don't even think about anything less than a double bedroom. It's a long trip.

All of these accommodations entitle the holder to the use of the "Park" observation car at the rear of the train, and meals are included in the fare.
davidess is offline  
Apr 15th, 2003, 10:38 AM
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We are taking this trip from the 19th to the 22nd of June (Silver & Blue class (2 person "bedroom") from Toronto to Vancouver). If you are still interested, you can contact me upon our return & I'll answer whatever questions you might have. We booked 6 months in advance and the "bedrooms" were already starting to fill up.

Ken
[email protected]
LordBalfor is offline  
Apr 15th, 2003, 10:50 AM
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PS:

A couple of worthwhile links about the train:

http://www.trains.com/Content/Dynamic/Articles/000/000/001/575xjgwi.asp

http://www.seat61.com/Canada.htm

http://www.ourworldadventures.com/jasper2003/pg4.html

ViaRail site about Silver & Blue class:

http://www.viarail.ca/classes/en_serv_clas_voit_toja.html

... and finally, a great forum on the subject of trains. Lots of helpful posts here:

http://www.railforum.com/

I got very good help on this site - especially from a guy by the name of David Spring. He's very knowledgable.

Ken
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Apr 15th, 2003, 12:15 PM
  #12  
 
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Thanks Davidess for the detailed description. My husband and I may end up roughing it in the upper and lower berth, but we're trying to get a double room. Thanks LordBalfor for the links-I'll check them out. Please do post about your trip when you get back, and have a great time!
JennyL is offline  
Apr 15th, 2003, 12:35 PM
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I'm the David Spring to whom Ken was referring. Now--don't say you weren't warned--those berths are not for the faint of heart. Or maybe I'm just soft and getting old. I've recently completed this trip (west-east) for about the eleventy-eleventh time, and there weren't a lot of long-haulers in the berths. Those there were, were very young (didn't care) or very old (numb/nostalgic). I think the fatigue factor just might contribute significantly to a downgraded experience, especially if you're not accustomed to long-distance train travel, and on a slow train at that.If this is a one-time shot you owe it to yourself to do it up in comfort. I apologize if this sounds patronizing; I just love this train so much that I hate to see anybody disappointed by it.

Good luck with the reservations--a quick scan of the VIA Rail site isn't encouraging, but don't rely on it. Talk directly to VIA or get your travel agent to do so. Their website is not perfectly reliable, reservations-wise.

DES
davidess is offline  
Apr 15th, 2003, 01:05 PM
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Unless you absolutely have to go to Vancouver, I have an alternative suggestion. Take the Canadian from Toronto to Jasper. That will give you the experience of cross country train travel and the sleeper compartment. Getting off in Jasper will also afford you the opportunity to explore that area which is superb. When you are ready to continue, take VIA Rail's Skeena from Jasper to Prince Rupert. It's a 2 day trip and you ride the train only during daylight hours. There's an overnight stop in Prince George so you can travel through some of the most spectacular scenery you've ever seen, all in daylight. From Prince Rupert, you can fly back home or fly to Vancouver to continue your trip. I've done the trip twice and am looking forward to doing it again. In Prince Rupert, be prepared for some rain. I love the area but it is wet.
dwooddon is offline  
Apr 15th, 2003, 01:27 PM
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Depending on how tough you are, you could always do the trip on a Canrailpass - although you would have to sleep in the seats. The passes are super cheap, allow you to hop on / hop off, and give you extra time at the other end.

On the other hand, if you do want to sleep, the berths are actually quite comfortable and fun - I slept in ne going to Halifax and it was fine. one-way vancouver-toronto fare with a berth is about C$1200 (US$800).
martinmontreal is offline  
Apr 15th, 2003, 02:20 PM
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To Davidess,

Hi David! I thought perhaps that might be you, but I couldn't tell from the login, and I didn't remember what name you used on previous posts. How was your ride to Halifax and back (in January)?

Ken

PS: THANKS once again for all the terrific info you provided for me in your e-mails (I still have hardcopies of them). Absolutely priceless stuff. You're THE man!
LordBalfor is offline  
Apr 15th, 2003, 05:37 PM
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I have done the train trip Vancouver - Toronto both ways a couple of times and absolutely loved it.I have always booked a roomette and would highly recommend that you do not go the upper/lower berth route if possible. It's just nice to have your own private space when you are on the train for so long. I find the trip through the Rocky Mountains one of the nicest features of the trip. I know that train fares are steep, but I don't think you would regret it at all.
amygirl is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2003, 03:43 PM
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Wish me luck. I'm on the waiting list for the double roomette in September...the reservations agent seemed optimistic that I would get the double. What do you guys think? If not, I've been in some pretty miserable budget train conditions in Europe, and I think I will do ok in the upper/lower berth if nothing comes available. My husband and I are really looking forward to the trip, and we both love train travel. We both love to read, so we are planning on watching the sights and doing lots of reading and hopefully meeting some interesting fellow travelers. Please post any tips or advice you have. We'll be stopping in Vancouver for a while, and will eventually return by train via Seattle-Chicago. I would love to stop in Jasper and other destinations, but time constraints limit us. I am looking for cheap, clean, safe lodging near the train station in Toronto, should anyone have suggestions. We will only be there for a few hours arriving late from Chicago, so close proximity is a priority and we are not interested in luxury there. I'll probably post this on the US board, but I'll also be looking for lodging near the Seattle train station as well if anyone has any ideas. Thanks again for your tips and encouragement.
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Apr 23rd, 2003, 06:09 PM
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Hi, JennyL. Really glad to hear you're persevering in trying for the double room. This is a three-day trip and you'll appreciate the comfort.

Two hotels come to mind. In Toronto, try the Strathcona, a clean two-star in immediate proximity to Union Station. See website "http://www.torontolites.com/strathco..._toronto.html". And in Seattle, the Pioneer Square Hotel is in the same league (I've stayed in both) and is a 10-minute walk from the Amtrak Station. See "www.pioneersquare.com".

You-re in for a real treat coming back from Seattle. You'll be on the "Empire Builder", my favorite American train (it makes an interesting contrast to the "Canadian"). Not sure what other info you might be looking for, but I've travelled on both recently, so if I can help get me at "[email protected]".

DES
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Apr 25th, 2003, 11:39 AM
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You'll be fine in upper/lower berths if you can't get your double roomette. I don't think you need compare Via Rail to budget train conditions in Europe. You'll be fine and will have a great time.
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