Trip Number 8 On Train Number 2.
I’ve always regretted not keeping a record of my travels on both Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada. It’s not a big deal, but it would be fun to know how many miles of North American train travel I have racked up over the years.
As regulars here know, The Canadian, with it’s classic stainless steel cars including the lounge/dome cars, is my favorite train ride among all the options in North America. Passengers are treated to marvelous natural beauty through the whole journey, but particularly during the long stretch through the Canadian Rockies. The dining car food is excellent and service is first rate. Still, I’ve been putting off a final decision.
Then, this morning, comes an omen—an email from VIA Rail Canada announcing Black Friday Savings on sleeper class travel taking place before the end of April. Whoa! One of my tentative itineraries includes train #2 in mid-April . . . and here they’re offering a generous discount on that very train within the dates when I want to travel.
Five minutes later, it’s booked! I’ll leave Vancouver on April 14 and arrive in Toronto on the morning of the 18th. The Red Sox and the Blue Jays will square off at 7:00 that same evening. After that, it’s off to Washington for the NARP meetings. Next I have to decide which trains to get me from Washington back to the West Coast. Hmmmm.
There are a few additional thoughts about the Canadian train to pass along. First, I prefer the westbound train because the scenery keeps getting better as you go. In particular, on the last morning before its arrival in Vancouver, the train passes through the lovely Fraser River Valley. That part of the trip is at night when you’re heading east.
And if your dates are flexible, consider traveling in the middle of winter. It’s a much smaller train and the fares are significantly less than during the rest of the year. Also, there are more couples and solo travelers, so there’s a lot more interaction with your fellow passengers.