VIA Rail’s Renaissance Equipment.

I had an inquiry recently about the types of sleeping cars used by VIA Rail Canada on their the long-distance trains. There isn’t a short answer because VIA has two very different kinds of sleeping cars–the classic stainless steel beauties and what they call their “Renaissance” equipment (shown above) that’s used on the Ocean, VIA’s overnight train running between Montreal and Halifax. The Renaissance equipment was introduced about a dozen years ago.


All the accommodations in the sleeping cars will sleep two passengers (with single passengers paying a modest supplement) and each room has a wash basin and an en suite toilet. Sixty percent of the rooms also have showers.


There is a dining car which half for food service and the other half configured as a lounge. I thought was very nicely laid out. There are coaches in the Ocean’s consist, of course. I rode this train several years ago and found it all quite comfortable.


Maybe it was those New England genes clanging around in me, but I loved Halifax and I would love to make a return visit and spend some additional time there. The harbor is huge and, in fact, was used as a staging area for convoys carrying sup[plies and war material to Europe in both world wars. There is a wonderful maritime museum right there on the waterfront with an entire section devoted to that part of Halifax’s history. And I do indeed recommend the Ocean as a great way to see that part of Eastern Canada.

To come: More about sleeping accommodations on VIA’s western trains.