Train Travel in Canada
Step aboard, and enjoy train travel in Canada. It’s exciting, and it’s comfortable.
Whether you live in Canada or are visiting the country, travelling by train is always a fun experience.
Why travel by train
Train tours in Canada
Short-distance train travel
The train: a vital part of Canada's history
Why travel by train in Canada?
- Unlike driving, train travel lets you sit back, relax, and enjoy looking at the scenery. Some trains – especially those that travel though the Rocky Mountains – have glass-domed carriages, known as “skyline cars,” to let you appreciate the view.
- The cross-Canada train offers every comfort: sleeper cars (some with private washrooms), dining cars that offer excellent food and wine, and spacious seats with electrical outlets.
- Some of the newer trains provide Wi-Fi, allowing you share your travel experiences online.
- Taking the train, instead of flying, results in a lower carbon footprint.
- Train travel lets you appreciate Canadian geography and history, up close.
Train tours in Canada
There’s no better way to appreciate the diversity of Canadian scenery than by viewing it from a train window.
When a country is as big as Canada, driving across it can take several days, which can be an ordeal; and flying across it means you miss seeing the sights.The train is the perfect compromise.
Long-distance train tours
Train companies that provide tours and long-distance train travel in Canada:
- Via Rail, the government’s national carrier, provides cross-Canada services, train tours, services to remote communities, and commuter services.
- The world-famous Rocky Mountaineer – the largest privately owned train company in North America – supplies seven different luxurious train tours in western Canada, and also a coast-to-coast tour. It’s best known for its daylight trips through the untamed beauty of Canada’s West, including the majestic Rockies.
- The Royal Canadian Pacific, known as Canada’s Orient Express, lets you feel as though you’re travelling back in time to the era of vintage railway cars – the ultimate in a splendid rail vacation.
- The Algoma Central Railway operates in northern Ontario between the towns of Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst. Its 476-km (296-mile) length is a scenic tour that offers access to many lakes and rivers, private camps, cottages, and a variety of wilderness lodges.
- Tshiuetin Rail is the first railway owned and operated by First Nations. It stretches 217 km (134 miles) through the wilderness, connecting Emeril, in western Labrador, with Schefferville in northeastern Quebec.
- The Keewatin Railway Company, also owned by three native bands, operates in Northern Manitoba. It hosts a biweekly train between Pukatawagan and The Pas, with VIA passenger cars added to the end of a KRC freight train.
- The Charlevoix train travels between Québec City and La Malbaie, Québec, taking passengers through some 140 km (87 miles) of breathtaking scenery along the St. Lawrence River. The rail cruise offers a dining car that focuses on Charlevoix gastronomy. Summer only.
Short-distance train travel in Canada
Within Canada’s most densely populated areas, there are extensive local commuting networks.
In Eastern Canada, rapid intercity service is provided by Via Rail.
And away across the country, in the Greater Vancouver area of British Columbia, TransLink gets you everywhere you want to go in Metro Vancouver.
Photo by courtesy of Eltjo Schut
The train: a vital part of Canada’s history
Much of this country was settled by the railroad.
When Canada became a Confederation in 1867, the government promised to build a transcontinental system that would unite the provinces, from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Less than 20 years later, in 1885, the longest railroad in the world was a reality: the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Today, Canada has almost 50,000 km (30,800 miles) of track to transport passengers and freight.
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