VIA Rail’s Classic Park Car

As far as I know, these classic stainless steel beauties bring up the rear of the Hudson Bay (Winnipeg-Churchill), the Skeena (Jasper-Prince George-Prince Rupert), the Ocean (Halifax-Montreal) and, of course, VIA’s trains 1 and 2, The Canadian (Vancouver-Toronto).

Depending on the time of year, a typical consist for either the westbound Train #1 (Toronto-Vancouver)  or the eastbound Train #2: 

2 locomotives, 1 baggage car, 3 coaches, 1 dome/lounge (for coach passengers), dome/lounge (for coach passengers), dining car (for sleeping car passengers), 3 or 4 traditional sleepers, as many as 3 Prestige Class sleepers, and 1 Park Car.*

Upon entering the Park Car, there is a small bathroom for passengers from elsewhere on the train. Next come three Prestige Class bedrooms, one of which is an extra large suite. All three feature double beds, en suited bathroom facilities, and extra large picture windows.

Continuing toward the rear of the train, next comes a step-down into a seating area, with a counter and stools for passengers and a serving area for train staff, with a sink and bar and a refrigerator.

Then it’s up a step-up into another lounge area seating perhaps a dozen people in the rear third of the car and the rounded endof the train. 

A second flight of steps takes you up into the viewing dome where there are six rows of seats in the viewing dome, with two seats on each side lof a center aisle. Usually, the first four rows (a total of 16 seats) are reserved for Prestige Class passengers. 

A final thought: It won’t be much longer before Amtrak must replace its aging Superliner fleet. New lounge cars, with viewing domes and some of the wonderful features passengers enjoy in VIA’s Park Cars, should be part of that order. 

*Each of these stainless steel beauties is named for one of Canada’s national parks . . . thus, as a group, they are referred to as “Park Cars”.