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Via rail ( The Canadian )
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   Author  Topic: Via rail ( The Canadian )  (Read 527 times)
Jonathan

Posts: 35
Via rail ( The Canadian )
 
« on: Mar 7th, 2009, 8:03pm »
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Has any one took the canadian from Toronto, Ontario to Vancouver, British  
Columbia via canadian rockies and was it a special trip for you? How was the accommodation on the train did enjoyed the park car and was the  services and meal enjoyed?
 Thank you
 
Jonathan P. Skinner
Buffalo, New York


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Jonathan P. Skinner
Buffalo, New York
missthealcos
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Posts: 630
Re: Via rail ( The Canadian )
 
« Reply #1 on: Mar 9th, 2009, 3:08pm »
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Worth every penny. Enough can't be said about riding on the Canadian! It is an experience that cannot be had anywhere else.

« Last Edit: Mar 9th, 2009, 3:09pm by missthealcos » Logged
Jonathan

Posts: 35
Re: Via rail ( The Canadian )
 
« Reply #2 on: Mar 10th, 2009, 2:08am »
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Thank you for your reply.
 
Jonathan P, Skinner
Buffalo NY


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Jonathan P. Skinner
Buffalo, New York
Jonathan

Posts: 35
Re: Via rail ( The Canadian )
 
« Reply #3 on: Mar 10th, 2009, 11:17am »
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How was the meals on board.

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Jonathan P. Skinner
Buffalo, New York
missthealcos
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Posts: 630
Re: Via rail ( The Canadian )
 
« Reply #4 on: Mar 10th, 2009, 2:18pm »
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extremely good.

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via4ever
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Re: Via rail ( The Canadian )
 
« Reply #5 on: Apr 12th, 2009, 8:09pm »
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Wow.....for me, its like asking if a bear sh-t's in the woods, but here it goes.....My family has taken VIA's Canadian from Vancouver to Edmonton and back, through Jasper and the rockies, EVERY year from 1995 to 2007. This has happened almost always in the winter months, enjoying a TRUE Canadian winter, which one does NOT find too often in Vancouver (on the rainy West Coast). We all SO enjoy riding the stainless steel cars, particularly sitting up in the dome(s). When we first started going, we took economy (coach) class, but by 1999 had "graduated" to Silver & Blue class, booking the triple bedroom in the rear dome "Park" dome/observation car. This is VERY luxurious, and while its not cheap for a family of four, it is money well spent for the experience. The price includes ALL meals onboard, so you dont have to open the wallet again while enroute (liquor excluded).  
The best part really, is being able to RELAX while getting where you are going, and of course the views the entire route. The children never tire of sitting up in the dome, eating in the diner, and basically having "the run of the train", as Silver & Blue class passengers can walk from the baggage car (at the front of course) to the very rear of the train (our Park car/sleeping accomadation). We never fail to meet a family with similar aged kids, usually from another part of the world !
If it seems like I am overdoing the pure enjoyment of this trip, I am not. It IS that good. When the kids return to school, they take many of the journeys' photos with them to show their classmates, and the reaction is incredible. One time some kids asked if the photo(s) had been taken in a zoo(!), as they just could not believe white-tailed deer and very large moose would be so close to photograph (this was from out the dome windows!).
I must say that after 12 CONSECUTIVE years, the 15 year old daughter finally tired of this trip somewhat, convincing her Mother that other destinations in the world lay in wait for us. My solution?  The last 2 years (and just a month ago), my 9 year-old son and I took the same train to Jasper, enjoying a VERY cold winter setting, ice skating outside on the nearby lakes and perusing the quaint town. Needless to say, there is MUCH freight and passenger action to observe in town , as its a CN divisional point between Edmonton (Alberta) and Kamloops (B.C.)
I will finish by saying this.....we MAY have overdone this a bit, doing the same trip THAT many years in a row, but my kids have experienced something almost straight out of the 1950's and 60's. The equipment VIA Rail uses is almost exclusively 1955-era vintage, and has been VERY slightly modified. When we meet and talk with other train lovers that take this journey, often from ALL parts of the globe, they usually say the same thing.........Canadians are SO very lucky to still have this equipment being used, in still very good condition, on such a scenic journey. When the kids (and wife) hear this, I like to think it somewhat justifies Dad's (almost) obsession with this train !!   Oh, and Hawaii, Mexico, and even Disneyland can bloody wait ! I'm gonna squeeze out a few more trips at least with my son and I before he starts squakin' about going someplace on a jet plane! (yawn)
BTW, ALL my friends say I am the luckiest guy in the world to get the wife and family on that train TWELVE years in a row, uninterupted. Is that some kind of record without facing a divorce ??


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Norm_Anderson
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Posts: 1727
Re: Via rail ( The Canadian )
 
« Reply #6 on: Apr 13th, 2009, 9:57pm »
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via4ever, your post stirs nostalgia, wanderlust, and envy, all at the same time.  You are blessed, indeed, to have enjoyed that privilege. The Canadian is, without question, the finest train ride to be had in the Western Hemisphere, and surely ranks among the very best train-riding experiences on the planet.
 
Those Park-series Domes should, in my view, be classed as one of the National Treasures of Canada.  It is astounding to think that they have been running in continuous, daily service (halting only for periodic maintenance), since they were first delivered in 1955.  That they are still in such superb condition is a testament not only to the cars themselves, but to the crews who maintain them.
 
The bottom line, Jonathan, is that a trip on The Canadian would be well worth whatever effort and expense is required.
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm


« Last Edit: Apr 13th, 2009, 9:59pm by Norm_Anderson » Logged
missthealcos
Historian
Posts: 630
Re: Via rail ( The Canadian )
 
« Reply #7 on: Apr 14th, 2009, 2:48pm »
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The entire operation should be considered a national treasure. The fortunate thing is, that for now at least, the powers that be at Via are at least somewhat aware of what they have. They are openly proud of the equipment, and are not at all shy about it's age. The age is in fact treated as an accomplishment, and a selling point. This is the exact opposite of how most things are looked at today. Some things were built to last, and an enourmous amount of it has been lost to short sightedness, and the misguided need for everything to be new(and often lesser)
 
Second only to riding it, is watch in go by. Even non railfan types that have been dragged along to witness it, cannot help but be impressed by its spectacle and elegance "I didn't know anyone rode the train anymore"..it seems out of place today, but in an entirely positive way.
 
As I have pointed out to many before, would the train be as revered as it is today, had it been re-equipped, or were it to be re-equipped? I don't think so. The very reason it survived with it's dignity intact(and even garners more now), through a major rerouting, is the equipment, and to a certain degree, the service. Canada is the Railway, and the Canadian has become one of the most identifiable symbols of that around the world. Quite an achievement for something whose very creator, called it the biggest mistake made.


« Last Edit: Apr 14th, 2009, 2:52pm by missthealcos » Logged
brokenrail
Chaser
Posts: 76
Re: Via rail ( The Canadian )
 
« Reply #8 on: Apr 16th, 2009, 11:25am »
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My wife and I rode it last April--Vancouver to Toronto and return.  We also went from Toronto to Montreal and Montreal to Gaspe' on that trip for a coast to coast and return trip--mostly on domes.  We had a bedroom in the Park car both ways and enjoyed every mile.  
 
Did anybody on this board ride the Canadian in April 2008?  We met a lot of interesting people on our journey.  We'd alternate between the Skyline dome and the Park lounge and dome in order to mingle with both coach and sleeper passengers.


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via4ever
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Re: Via rail ( The Canadian )
 
« Reply #9 on: Apr 16th, 2009, 5:36pm »
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What bank did you knock off to do all that, in the Park car bedroom the whole way no less ?? Wow.

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brokenrail
Chaser
Posts: 76
Re: Via rail ( The Canadian )
 
« Reply #10 on: Apr 17th, 2009, 9:08am »
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on Apr 16th, 2009, 5:36pm, via4ever wrote:       (Click here for original message)
What bank did you knock off to do all that, in the Park car bedroom the whole way no less ?? Wow.

 
 
We used both the off season discount and the benefit of a VIA rail pass to keep costs down.  Then bit the bullet and decided to go for it.  It was also our honeymoon trip which would allow for a bit of a splurge.


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via4ever
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Re: Via rail ( The Canadian )
 
« Reply #11 on: Mar 23rd, 2010, 5:42am »
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An update.....my son and I just got back from our 3rd annual trek to Jasper Alberta on VIA's "Canadian". We went in coach class both ways to save $$$, and only paid 400 dollars (Cdn.) TOTAL for the 2 of us, return !   We stayed in a bed/breakfast there for like $ 55.00 a nite, a GREAT deal. A hilight of the trip was ice skating outdoors at Jasper Park Lodge, where anyone can skate for free, even if not staying there (its very pricey).  Such a TRUE Canadian winter, of course made complete by the 1955-vintage Budd coaches the Canadian still uses, some 55 years after being put into use !!  WE LOVE THAT TRAIN !!!!  

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grobrailman
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Re: Via rail ( The Canadian )
 
« Reply #12 on: Oct 13th, 2010, 12:31pm »
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I have taken the "Canadian" from Toronto to Vancouver several times and I must say they were the best trips I had ever taken in my entire life. (65+yrs).
 Many visitors from Europe envy us Canadians for having rail cars built in the fifties and in such great shape and very comfortable.  The scenery is really great especilly going through the "Rocky Mountains".  Mount Robson on a clear day is fantastic !
 
A trip that everyone should take at least once in their life.


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Royal_Palm
Railfan
Posts: 115
Re: Via rail ( The Canadian )
 
« Reply #13 on: Oct 22nd, 2010, 4:50pm »
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The prices are soooo much cheaper in the winter. Are the lower fares worth the six hours of daylight that time of year? I have some time off coming and save for three hours in Windsor, ON, I have never been to Canada.

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Les_Shepherd
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Posts: 425
Re: Via rail ( The Canadian )
  500_1190.jpg - 51477 Bytes
« Reply #14 on: Jun 30th, 2012, 7:57am »
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Trip Report - June 2012
 
The Canadian - Part 1
The journey: Toronto to Winnipeg
 
The train consisted of locos 6441 & 6457 with a load of 20 cars, 2 of the sleeping cars were "Chateau" class cars instead of the usual all "Manor" class. Departure was on time and sleeping car passengers settled into welcoming drinks and nibbles in the dome cars as  they drifted past the CN Tower.
 
About 30 minutes out some 20 minutes was spent backing and filling to change tracks.
 
Next morning saw a breakfast time arrival at Sudbury. A long wait to cross 2 freights then backing & filling to change tracks. Finally, passengers were boarded. Over an hour was spent in this process.  
At Capreol the locomotives were refulled from a road tanker. Freights were crossed at Bethnal, Ruel and 2 at Shawnee, another at Minupuka. We finally arrived at Hornepayne where full servicing of the locomotives and cars was carried out. Derparture by this time was over 2 hours late.
 
No 2 behind 6411 & 6442 was crossed at Tondern. As we passed through a station with the nameboard NAKINA the Dining Car crew insisted that the town was Armstrong.
During the night some very fast running ensued and we arrived in Winnipeg 40 minutes early.
 
The greatest pity was that meals seemed to be rushed in the Dining Car. Yes, they had to get through 3 sittings but it was almost impossible to get a coffee refill, at any meal. The service was otherwise excellent and the food of good quality and presentation even although my table setting was 'back to front'. For a train of this international stature there was nothing about the Dining Car experience to raise it to the level achieved by comparable international trains.
 
Part 2  Winnipeg to Vancouver  10 days later
 
The consist out of Winnipeg was locos 6432 & 6457 with 17 cars. 6432 was a late substitution when the original loco from Toronto developed an oil leak. Departure was almost 2 hours late due to 6432 needing to be turned and refuelled.  
Eventually some high speed running ensued. On departure from Portage la Prairie we saw 6409 & 6455 bringing in the train from Churchill. This was a surprise sighting.
Regular crossings with freight trains occurred.
 
Mid morning next day we backed into Edmonton.  The train was split to attach a low rise 'dome car'. This took some time. The generally winding track meant that train speeds had to be slow all the way to Vancouver. As we passed through the mountains it became something of a passenger sport to spot lineside wildlife, particularly brown and black bears.  
A late afternoon arrival in Jasper became an extended stay. 3 more cars were added making the train up to 21 cars. The train was serviced and the domes were washed.
 
Next morning we were over 2 hours late and a long slow negotiation of the freight yards leading to Pacific Central station seemed almost to never end.
From arrrival it took a full 30 minutes for checked baggage to arrive. This was followed by a rush for taxis.
The dining car staff were much more efficient and the standard of the food much better. It was certainly more like that expected of an international train.
 
A trip on this train can be recommended without qualification.
 
The photo is of the train departing from Homepayne, Ontario
 


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« Last Edit: Jun 30th, 2012, 7:58am by Les_Shepherd » Logged

ClydeDET
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Re: Via rail ( The Canadian )
 
« Reply #15 on: Jul 3rd, 2012, 10:33pm »
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The Red Lion, PA palnt of Budd Co. turned out superb cars that, with continued care for the systems, are very durable.  
 
The Canadian is one of those rie i really want to take. We were planning a Montreal to Nova Scotia trip (probably in the Park-car)  to attend a nephew's wedding. That - didn't work out.


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