Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (2024)

Table of Contents
Train travel in Canada Train times, fares & tickets On other pages Interactive map: Click a route Toronto to Montréal by train in 5h10 Toronto ► Montreal Montreal ► Toronto Montréal to Québec by train in 3h15 Montreal ► Quebec Quebec ► Montreal Montreal to Ottawa & Toronto to Ottawa,www.viarail.ca How much does it cost? How to buy tickets Toronto Union Station Via Rail's Inter-city trains.See the video Montreal Central Station Take a day trip by train to Niagara Falls Option 1, by once-daily VIA Rail train from Ca$28 Option 2, by GO Transit direct train from Ca$21 Option 3: By GO Transit train/bus combo from Ca$21 each way Where are the station & bus terminal? See map showing station, bus terminal & Falls Visiting the Falls Vancouver to Victoria by bus & ferry Vancouver to Seattle by train Victoria to Seattle by fast ferry Vancouver Island train service: Victoria-Nanaimo-Courtenay The Malahat New York ► Montreal & Toronto Toronto & Montreal ► New York How much does it cost? How to buy tickets What are the trains like? Luggage arrangements Border control arrangements What's the journey like? Jasper - Prince George - Prince Rupert: The Skeena Winnipeg to Churchill: The Hudson Bay Toronto-North Cochrane-Moosonee (Ontario Northland) Southampton - New York - Toronto or Montreal via Cunard's Queen Mary 2 Custom-made tours with Railbookers The Trans-Canada Rail Guide In Toronto: Fairmont Royal York In Vancouver: Fairmont Vancouver Hotel My favourite hotel search:www.booking.com Backpacker hostels:www.hostelworld.com 1) Check flight prices at Opodo,www.opodo.com 2) Use Skyscanner to compare flight prices & routes worldwide across 600 airlines 3) Lounge passes Always take out travel insurance Get an eSIM with mobile data package Get a Curve card for foreign travel Get a VPN for safe browsing. Why you need a VPN Carry an Anker powerbank
Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (1)

A VIA Rail train at Toronto: It's the civilised way to go between Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal & Quebec.

Train travel in Canada

Canadian long-distance trains are run by VIARail Canada, www.viarail.ca. They're a great way to see the country, whether you travel on the inter-city trains between Toronto, Montréal and Québec, the Océan from Montréal to Halifax or Canada's classic trans-continental train, The Canadian from Toronto to Winnipeg, Edmonton, Jasper & Vancouver. As well as VIA Rail, there's the excellent Rocky Mountaineer through the Rockies between Vancouver & Banff, Calgary or Jasper. This page explains routes, timetables, prices & what the trains are like.

Train times, fares & tickets

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (2)Map of train routes in Canada

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (3)VIA Rail Canadian, Toronto-Winnipeg-Jasper-Vancouver

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (4)VIA Rail Océan, Montreal - Halifax

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (5)VIA Rail Toronto - Ottawa - Montreal - Québec

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (6)Toronto - Niagara Falls by VIA Rail or Go Transit

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (7)

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (8)

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (9)Other Canadian train routes

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (10)Railpasses for Canada

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (11)How to travel from Europe to Canada by ship

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (12)Recommended hotels in Canada

On other pages

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (13)Rocky Mountaineer Vancouver - Banff/Jasper

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (14)Train travel in the USA

Interactive map: Click a route

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (15)

Train operator in Canada:

VIA Rail, www.viarail.ca for train times, fares & online booking (click 'home' top right).

Other train operators:OntarioNorthland, Rocky Mountaineer,Algoma Central

Time:

Montreal/TorontoGMT-5, Halifax GMT-4, Vancouver GMT-8. Clocks go forward1 hour from 2nd Sunday in March to 1st Sunday in November.

Dialling code:

+1Recommended guidebooks

Currency:

£1 = approx Can$1.60$1 = approx Can$1.30Check exchange rates

Hotels & flights:

Hotels in Canada Find a flight to Canada Hotel reviews, seewww.tripadvisor.com

Touristinformation:

www.canadatourism.comMontréal: www.tourism-montreal.orgToronto: www.city.toronto.on.caVancouver: www.destinationvancouver.comQuébec: www.bonjourquebec.comNova Scotia: www.novascotia.com.

Page lastupdated:

11 June 2024

Thegreatest train in Canada and one of the world's great trainjourneys, VIA Rail's Canadian runs 2 or 3 times a week, linking Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Jasper National Park in the Rockies & Vancouver. .

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (16)

Park car Prince Albert Park brings up the rear of VIA 1, the Canadian, at Sioux Lookout.

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Three times a week, a train runs the 836 miles between Montreal and Halifax Nova Scotia.See the Montreal to Halifax page for train times, fares, info, and an illustrated account of the journey.

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (17)

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There's no need to fly. Comfortable VIA Rail inter-city trains link Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal & Quebec, centre to centre with no airport hassle. If your budget permits, upgrade to VIA's Business Class with complimentary hot meal and wine, attentive steward service and access to VIA Rail's Business Lounges at major stations. It impressed me, it's as good as anything we have here in Europe. Since October 2019 only credit cards have been accepted as payment on board, not cash.

Toronto to Montréal by train in 5h10

VIA Rail's fast inter-citytrains link Toronto, Ottawa & Montréal. Montréal to Toronto takes around 5h10 city centre to city centre. Use the times below as a guide and check current train times at www.viarail.ca. See the photos.Watch the video.

Toronto ► Montreal

Days of running:

Mon-Sat

daily

daily

daily

daily

Mon-Fri, Sun

Toronto (Union Station) depart

06:47

08:32

11:32

15:17

17:02

18:02

Montreal (Central station) arrive

12:05

13:44

17:01

20:18

22:13

22:55

Montreal ► Toronto

Days of running:

Mon-Sat

daily

daily

daily

daily

Mon-Fri, Sun

Montreal (Central station) depart

06:50

08:50

11:00

13:23

17:00

18:25

Toronto (Union Station) arrive

12:03

14:18

16:18

18:33

22:03

23:33

Montréal to Québec by train in 3h15

FromMontréal to Québec, air-conditioned trains run several times daily,taking around 3h15. Check current times, fares & book online at www.viarail.ca.

Montreal ► Quebec

Quebec ► Montreal

Days of running:

Mon-Fri

Mon-Fri

Sat, Sun

daily

daily

daily

Days of running:

Mon-Fri

daily

daily

daily

daily

Montreal Central depart

06:25

08:36

09:06

12:45

16:40

18:25

Quebec depart

05:25

08:10

12:36

15:00

17:45

Quebec arrive

09:43

11:52

12:22

16:18

20:26

21:55

Montreal Central arrive

08:37

11:26

15:54

18:11

21:00

Montreal to Ottawa & Toronto to Ottawa,www.viarail.ca

Montreal to Ottawa takes 1h50. Toronto to Ottawa takes about 4h20.

How much does it cost?

  • Montréal to Toronto starts at around Can$ 61 if you book in advance, fares vary like air fares.

  • Montreal to Quebec starts at around Can$ 48 if you book in advance, fares vary like air fares.

How to buy tickets

  • Option 1, buy atwww.viarail.ca

    Booking opens 11 months (331 days) in advance. You print your own tickets.

  • Payment problems on viarail.ca?

    There are recent reports of VIA's payment system refusing non-Canadian cards.

    One theory is that they have a standard for card verification higher than most foreign cards.

    Another theory is that it doesn't like Chrome with foreign bank cards, so try again using Safari.Feedback appreciated.

  • To buy tickets by phone, call VIA Rail on 1 888 VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245).

Toronto Union Station

Union Station sits in the centre of Toronto in the shadow of the CN Tower, just across the road from the wonderful and highly-recommended Royal York Hotel. One of the world's classic railway stations, the current structure was built 1914-1920, seehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Station_(Toronto).

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Union Station's impressive main hall houses the VIA Rail ticket counters and information desk.

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VIA Rail Business Lounge. Business class passengers may use the VIA Lounge before of after their journey, with complimentary tea, coffee and soft drinks. The lounge at Toronto (shown here) is just off the main hall. There's a similar but smaller lounge at Montreal.

Via Rail's Inter-city trains.See the video

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All aboard! A morning train from Toronto to Montreal is boarding at Toronto Union.

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VIA Business Class: The Business Class car has spacious leather seats, and its dedicated steward or stewardess serves a complimentary hot meal with wine, spirits, tea and coffee. Click the seats photo for larger image.

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VIA Economy Class. Click the photo for larger image.

Arrival at Montreal.

Montreal Central Station

Montreal's Gare Centrale was opened in 1943, with classic art deco friezes at each end of the main hall. The station features a luggage office, VIA ticket counters, VIA Business Lounge, and various shops & cafes.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Station_(Montreal)

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Montreal Central's main hall and close-up of the frieze. The station is integrated into shopping centres and offices, so hasn't an exterior facade as such.

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (30) Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (31)

Montreal Central Station.

Montreal's VIA Business lounge.

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Take a day trip by train to Niagara Falls

You can easily take the train from Toronto to Niagara Falls (Ontario) either as a day trip, longer trip or as a stopover en route to New York. The Canadian side of the Falls gives great views of the Falls themselves and features both a boat ride (the Hornblower cruise,www.niagaracruises.com) and a walk behind the Falls,www.niagaraparks.com/niagara-falls-attractions/journey-behind-the-falls.html. For trains between Niagara Falls and New York, see the section below.

Option 1, by once-daily VIA Rail train from Ca$28

A daily direct VIA Rail train called the Maple Leaf links Toronto Union Station and Niagara Falls Ontario on its way to & from New York. It's ideal for a day trip, and uses comfortable Amtrak Amfleet cars with coach class, a small business class section and a cafe car, even though it is operated by VIA Rail Canada on the section between Toronto and Niagara - an Amtrak crew take over at Niagara.

Outward: Toronto Union Station depart 08:20 every day, Niagara Falls Ontario VIA station arrive 10:20.

Inbound: Niagara Falls Ontario VIA station depart 17:45, Toronto Union arrive 19:43.

Fares from around $28 each way including taxes.

Buy tickets atwww.viarail.ca, or buy at Omio.com or 12go.com in multiple currencies & languages.

Reservation is compulsory but it's usually possible to get tickets on the day.

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Option 1: The Maple Leaf. Take the daily morning Maple Leaf train direct from Toronto to Niagara Falls. Above left, comfortable seats. Above right, the Maple Leaf has arrived at Niagara Falls (Ontario) station.

Option 2, by GO Transit direct train from Ca$21

GO Transit operates three daily trains from Toronto to Niagara Falls (Canada) every day, including a useful morning one. The trains are distinctive green & white double-deck GO Transit trains, see the photos below.

Departures from Toronto: Weekdays at 09:52, 17:12, 22:40. Saturdays at 09:03, 13:03, 18:21. Sundays at 09:03,

Departures from Niagara Falls Canada: Weekdays at 06:32, 13:10, 21:10. Saturdays at 12:05, 16:05, 21:05. Sundays at 12:05, 16:05, 20:05.

Journey time 2h15.

Fares start at Ca$21.15 each way.

If the timing of these few direct trains doesn't suit you, use the hourly train+bus combo shown in option 3 below.

Check times & buy tickets atwww.viarail.ca or www.gotransit.com.

When using www.viarail.ca, the direct GO Transit trains are shown in the search results with as green GO logo. The train+bus combo departures (option 3 below) are shown with a grey train & bus icon.

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Double-decker GO Transit trains now run from Toronto to Niagara Falls at least once a day.

Upper deck seats on a GO Transit double-deck train.

Option 3: By GO Transit train/bus combo from Ca$21 each way

Roughly every hour through the day, distinctive double-decker GO trains link Toronto Union Station with Burlington station, from where a connecting bus runs to Niagara Falls Bus Terminal (located directly across the road from Niagara Falls Ontario rail station). Total journey time 2h47 - roughly 1h05 train and 1h30 bus. This is a simple turn-up-and-go service, no reservation is necessary, it cannot sell out, just buy a ticket for Ca$18 at the station (or bus terminal) immediately before departure. As it needs no pre-planning it's ideal for the return part of a day trip from Toronto, as you don't need to commit to a specific time to come back.

You can check bus-rail times at eitherwww.viarail.ca or www.gotransit.com. When using www.viarail.ca, the train+bus combo departures are shown in the search results with a grey train & bus icon. Any direct GO Transit trains (option 2 above) will be shown with as green GO logo.

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Take the distinctive double-decker GO Transit train from Toronto to Burlington...

...and change onto the connecting GO Transit bus to Niagara Falls Bus Terminal.

Where are the station & bus terminal? See map showing station, bus terminal & Falls

Niagara Falls (Ontario) Station & Niagara Falls Bus Terminal are just across the road from each other in the old downtown area. The falls themselves (and all the tourist attractions) are a mile or two to the south, a taxi to the Falls costs around Ca$14 + tip and take 5-10 minutes. You'll find plenty of taxis waiting at the station and bus terminal. The station is sometimes called the GO Station, but it's the same one used by VIA Rail.Map showing location of Niagara Falls VIA Rail station, Bus Terminal & the Falls.

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Niagara Falls VIA station, seen from the bus terminal.

The bus terminal, seen from the VIA station.

Visiting the Falls

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Niagara Falls seen from the Canadian side (left) and from the Hornblower cruise boat. The Hornblower boat trip is the classic Falls boat trip from the Canadian side, seewww.niagaracruises.com.

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Vancouver to Victoria by bus & ferry

  • If you're going to Vancouver, don't miss a trip to the British Columbia provincial capital Victoria, on Vancouver Island. Regular buses link Vancouver with Victoria in about 3½ hours, going on board a ferry to reach the Island.

  • Seebcfconnector.com for times, fares & online booking.

Vancouver to Seattle by train

Victoria to Seattle by fast ferry

Vancouver Island train service: Victoria-Nanaimo-Courtenay The Malahat

  • Railcar service. This used to run every day on the 225 km route,leaving Victoria 08:00 Mon-Sat, 10:00 Sundays, returning in the afternoon. Unfortunately, this service has been suspended for some years now due to the condition of the track.

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Two excellent trains link New York with Montreal & Toronto every day, with inexpensive fares, comfortable reclining seats, a café car & great scenery along the Hudson River Valley. It's a day well spent, highly recommended. TheAdirondack from New York to Montreal is run by Amtrak, the Maple Leaf from New York to Toronto is run by Amtrak whilst in the USA then by VIA Rail when in Canada. Watch the video. Map showing location of Niagara Falls VIA Rail & Amtrak stations & the Falls.

New York ► Montreal & Toronto

Toronto & Montreal ► New York

Daily

Daily

Daily

Daily

Train name:

Maple Leaf

Adirondack

Train name:

Adirondack

Maple Leaf

New York Penn Station depart

07:15

08:15

Montrealdepart

10:20

Niagara Falls USA

16:21

|

Toronto Union Station depart

|

08:20

Niagara Falls Canada

17:45

|

Niagara Falls Canada

|

10:20

Toronto Union Station arrive

19:43

|

Niagara Falls USA

|

12:30

Montreal arrive

19:11

New York Penn Station arrive

20:50

21:55

Update summer 2024: The Adirondack will not run from 20 May to 9 September 2024, due to trackwork.

How much does it cost?

  • New York-Montreal starts at $70 in coach class.

  • New York to Toronto starts at $134 in coach class or $169 in business class.

How to buy tickets

  • Buy tickets atwww.amtrak.com orwww.viarail.ca

    You print your own ticket or (if booked with Amtrak) you can show it on the Amtrak app on your phone.

  • Tip: The booking systems show the Maple Leaf as two separate trains either side of the Canadian border with two different train numbers. But rest assured that it is indeed one direct train, run by Amtrak in the USA and taken over by VIA Rail when in Canada. You get off at the border to go through border formalities, see the border controls paragraph below.

What are the trains like?

The New York-Toronto Maple Leaf has two coach class cars with extra-legroom long-distance reclining seats which are prioritised for passengers to/from Canada, two coach class cars with regular seats & a cafe-car with a tables area, serving counter and 17 business class seats - see the photos below. The café car accepts USD & credit cards but not CAD whilst in the USA. Business class offers leather seats arranged 2+1 across the car width and complimentary tea, coffee or soft drinks from the cafe car, although leg room is no more generous than in the long-distance coach class cars where it is already excellent.

The New York-Montreal Adirondack has coach class seats with extra-legroom long-distance reclining seats & a cafe car. The café car accepts USD & credit cards but not CAD whilst in the USA.

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The Maple Leaf from New York to Toronto, at Albany Rensselaer station.

Business class. There are just 17 business class leather seats on the Maple Leaf, in one half of the cafe car.

Coach class seating of the excellent extra-legroom variety, prioritised for passengers to/from Canada.

The counter in the centre of the cafe car.

Cafe car tables with the counter in the background.

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The Maple Leaf's distinctive Amfleet cars from New York, arrived at Toronto Union Station.

Luggage arrangements

These trains don't have checked baggage, you simply take your luggage with you onto the train and put it on the racks just as you would on any European train. There are floor-standing racks and spacious racks above all seats. Luggage limits are far more generous than for planes, you can take one personal bag and two large bags with you, seewww.amtrak.com/baggage-policy.

Border control arrangements

Northbound: When leaving from New York Penn Station Moynihan Train Hall, you must first go to the Canada check-in desk, open an hour or two before departure. Staff at that desk will check your ticket and passport and ask how many bags you’re taking. They'll give you a luggage tag for each of your bags plus a boarding pass that says you've been checked in for Canada. Lines then form for the train, one for domestic passengers and one for international passengers, the latter are allowed to board first, waved forward to the two extra-legroom long-distance coach class cars at the front of the train. Approaching the border, the train calls at Niagara Falls USA, then rumbles slowly across the bridge over the Niagara River to Niagara Falls Canada station. Here, all passengers get off with their luggage, enter the station building and file through Canadian border control (which is pretty painless) and re-board the train. There's usually plenty of time for this.

Southbound: Leaving from Montreal or Toronto, passengers bound for the USA are given numbered luggage tags for their bags whilst waiting to board, there's then a brief ticket & ID check on the platform. At Niagara Falls USA passengers get off with their luggage, go through US border controls and re-board the train.

What's the journey like?

The most important tip of all is to get a seat on the left hand side of the train going north out of New York, right hand side going south from Canada, so you are on the side with all the Hudson River views. These trains are all-reserved, meaning the number of passengers cannot exceed the number of seats, but you don't get a specific assigned seat. If a group of you want to sit together, or you want seats on the left hand side, it pays to queue up early and get on first.

Historically, trains heading along the Hudson River towards Albany would have left from New York's wonderful Grand Central Station, but a connecting line opened in the early 1990s allows all Amtrak trains to use Penn Station. The train leaves Penn station heading northwest, but shortly afterwards it turns northeast on what was originally a freight line in tunnels under the west side of Manhattan. It emerges into daylight alongside the Hudson River, joining the line that came out of Grand Central.

Both the Maple Leaf & Adirondack then travel along the scenic Hudson River Valley with the rails often right next to the river, passing West Point Military Academy, Bannerman's Island, Storm King Mountain and other sights. You'll even see the occasional historic lighthouse in mid-Hudson!

At Albany Rensselaer station the locomotive is changed from an electro-diesel (which can operate on electric power in the Penn Station tunnels) to a regular diesel, both Maple Leaf and Adirondack stop here long enough for you to stretch your legs on the platform.

After leaving Albany, the Maple Leaf turns west and crosses the Hudson on a vast steel bridge with great views of the city of Albany on the left hand side on the far bank. It then leaves the Hudson behind and starts following the Mohawk River. Look out for the vast derelictBuffalo Central Terminal, a railroad station operational from 1929-1979, on the right hand side just before the train reaches the current Buffalo Exchange Street station. After calling at Niagara Falls USA, the train rumbles slowly across the bridge over the Niagara River separating the United States from Canada. You can't see the falls themselves from the train, but can see the spray in the distance. The train then rounds Lake Ontario into Toronto.

After leaving Albany, the Adirondack heads north through the scenic Adirondack Mountains which give the train its name. You'll get views of Lake Champlain on the right of the train going north to Montreal, left heading south from Montreal.

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West Point Military Academy, on the far bank of the Hudson.You may recognise the Hudson River scenery from the train scenes with Cary Grant & Eva Marie Saint in Hitchco*ck's North by Northwest, set on the famous Twentieth Century Limited over this very route.

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Bannerman's Island with its ruined house is another local landmark.

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Storm King Mountain in Storm King State Park on the far side of the Hudson.

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The Maple Leaf crosses the Niagara River that separates the United States & Canada.

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Rocky Mountaineer trains run regularly from mid-April to mid-October on the following routes:

  • Vancouver to Banff & Calgary

  • Vancouver to Jasper via Kamloops

  • Vancouver to Jasper via Quesnel

  • See theRocky Mountaineer page.

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VIA Rail'sSkeena. Note the Park lounge-observation-dome car at the rear. The two panorama seating cars immediately ahead of it now run in the Canadian between Edmonton & Vancouver.

Jasper - Prince George - Prince Rupert: The Skeena

  • Runs 3 times a week, departing Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays from both Jasper & Prince Rupert.

  • It's an amazingly scenic 2-day journey, the train stopping overnight at Prince George so you see it all in daylight (you will need to book a hotel separately, it's not included in the fare). Economy class seating is available all year round, 'Touring' class seating is available mid-June to late September. There's a 'Park' lounge-observation-dome car attached at the rear, for all passengers off-season, only for Touring class passengers in peak season (June-Sept). For times, fares & online booking, see www.viarail.ca.

Winnipeg to Churchill: The Hudson Bay

  • Runs 3 times a week, to the land where the polar bears live. See www.viarail.ca.

Toronto-North Cochrane-Moosonee (Ontario Northland)

  • Long-distance train service due north out of Toronto, run by Ontario Northland, seeontarionorthland.ca. Their Toronto to Cochrane route closed from 28 September 2012 with replacement by bus, some Cochrane to Moosonee train service seems to hvae continued. Please check the current situation at ontarionorthland.ca.

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  • CanRail passes for unlimited travel on VIA Rail in Economy Class seats were discontinued during the pandemic and have not reappeared, check with VIA atwww.viarail.ca.

    Even when a pass existed, you still needed to make reservations, you could not hop on and off without reserving. And it was for seats, not sleepers. You could make reservations online atwww.viarail.ca, but you could only use your pass where an Economy or Escape fare was available, if these were sold out and the only fare available was an Economy Plus fare, you couldn't use the pass. Although if you bought an 'Extra' type pass, you could also book Economy Plus tickets starting from the day before departure.

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Southampton - New York - Toronto or Montreal via Cunard's Queen Mary 2

  • There are no regular direct passenger ships from the UK to Canada. However, Cunard's superb Queen Mary 2 sails from Southampton to New York roughly once a month between April & November taking 7 nights, see the Queen Mary 2 page for details. Once in New York, there are excellent daily trains to Toronto and Montreal, see the USA to Canada section above.

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Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (53)

Custom-made tours with Railbookers

  • Train travel specialistsRailbookers can arrange custom-made holidays to Canada including flights, hotels and a trip on the Canadian right across Canada. They know their stuff, look after their clients well and get a lot of repeat business.

    Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (54) UK call 0207 864 4600,www.railbookers.co.uk.

    Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (55) US call free 1-888-829-4775,www.railbookers.com.

    Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (56) Canada call free 1-855-882-2910,www.railbookers.com.

    Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (57) Australia call toll-free 1300 971 526,www.railbookers.com.au.

    Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (58) New Zealand call toll-free 0800 000 554 orsee website.

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Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (59)

  • I strongly recommend investing in a decent guidebook. It may seem an unnecessary expense, but it's a tiny fraction of what you're spending on your whole trip. You will see so much more, and know so much more about what you're looking at, if you have a decent guidebook. For the independent traveller this means either the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide. Both guidebooks provide the same excellent level of practical information and historical background.Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (60)

    Buy Lonely Planet fromAmazon.co.uk (UK) orAmazon.com (USA)

    Buy Rough Guide fromAmazon.co.uk (UK) orAmazon.com (USA)

    Alternatively, download just the chapters or areas you need in .PDF formatfrom the Lonely Planet Website, from around £2.99 or US$4.95 a chapter.

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (61)The Trans-Canada Rail Guide

  • Trailblazer's Trans-Canada Rail Guide is well worth buying if you're planning a trans-Canada train trip.

  • It will help you plan your journey, has city information for all the major cities served by VIA & Rocky Mountaineer, and best of all it includes mile-by-mile lineside route guides showing what to see from the train on all the main VIA Rail & Rocky Mountaineer services.

  • Buy online from Amazon.co.uk.

  • If you live in the USA, buy fromAmazon.com.

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In Toronto: Fairmont Royal York

The Fairmont Royal York Hotel is Toronto's most famous place to stay and one of the world's classic grand hotels with over 1,000 rooms. It started life as a railway hotel, opened by the Canadian Pacific Railway in June 1929 - at that time the tallest building in the British Empire. Today it's easily the most convenient, comfortable and historic place to stay before or after catching a train, being directly across the road from Toronto Union Station. I've stayed there several times now! There's more historical information about the hotel athttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairmont_Royal_York.

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A Fairmont Gold room at the Royal York.

En suite.

Hotel exterior.

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The Royal York seen from a departing train.

The impressive grand lobby.

In Vancouver: Fairmont Vancouver Hotel

In the centre of downtown Vancouver, next to Christ Church Cathedral and only a few blocks from the Waterfront,the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel is a former railway hotel. It was started by Canadian National Railways but completed in partnership with rival Canadian Pacific, opened in 1939 by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. It's another iconic Canadian chateau-style hotel, a true Vancouver landmark. And if your budget will stretch, Fairmont won't disappoint. If you want something a bit cheaper, try theSt Regis Hotel, also excellently located downtown and also a historic Vancouver landmark, opened in 1913.

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (67)My favourite hotel search:www.booking.com

Booking.com is my favourite hotel booking site andI generally use it to book all my hotels in one place. I've come to trustbooking.com's review scores, you won't be disappointed with any hotel that scores 8.0 or more. Crucially,booking.com usually lets you book with free cancellation, which means you can confirm accommodation risk-free before train booking opens and/or you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when planning a trip. I never book hotels non-refundably!

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (68)Backpacker hostels:www.hostelworld.com

www.hostelworld.com: If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels. Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in most cities at rock-bottom prices.

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Overland travel by train around Canada is an essential part of the experience, so once there, don't cheat and fly, stay on the ground! But a long-haul flight might be unavoidable to reach Canada in the first place. Try the Skyscanner system to find the cheapest airline.

1) Check flight prices at Opodo,www.opodo.com

2) Use Skyscanner to compare flight prices & routes worldwide across 600 airlines

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (69)

3) Lounge passes

Make the airport experience a little more bearable with a VIP lounge pass, it's not as expensive as you think, seewww.loungepass.com

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Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (70)

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (71)

Always take out travel insurance

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least £1m or preferably £5m medical cover. It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible limit. An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy withStaysure.co.uk myself. Here are some suggested insurers. Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (72) www.staysure.co.uk offers enhanced Covid-19 protection & gets 4.7 out of 5 onTrustpilot.

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (73) www.columbusdirect.com is also a well-know brand.

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (74) If you live in the USA tryTravel Guard USA.

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (75)

Get an eSIM with mobile data package

Don't rely on WiFi, download an eSIM with a mobile data package for the country you're visiting and stay connected. Most newer mobile phones can download a virtual SIM card so you don't need to buy a physical SIM, including iPhone 11 & later,see device compatibility list.Maya.net is a reliable eSIM data retailer with a4.5 out of 5 Trustpilot rating and arange of packages including unlimited data.

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (76)

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (77)

Get a Curve card for foreign travel

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate, then add a foreign transaction fee on top. A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month at time of writing. The money you spend on your Curve card goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.

How it works: 1.Download the Curve app for iPhone or Android. 2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to the UK and most European addresses. 3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app, you can link up to two cards with the free version of Curve, I link my normal debit card and my normal credit card. 4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, exactly like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance in your own currency onto whichever debit or credit card is currently selected in the Curve app. You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself, it means I can buy a coffee on a foreign station on a card without being stung by fees and lousy exchange rates, just by tapping the Curve card on their card reader. The money goes through Curve to my normal debit card and is taken directly from my account (in fact I have the Curve card set up as payment card on Apple Pay on my iPhone, so can double-click my phone, let it do Face ID then tap the reader with the phone - even easier than digging a card out). I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I recommend it here because I think it's great.See details, download the app and get a Curve card, they'll give you £5 cashback through that link.

Get a VPN for safe browsing. Why you need a VPN

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure. A VPN encrypts your connection so it's always secure, even on unsecured WiFi. It also means you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geoblocking which a surprising number of websites apply..ExpressVPN is a best buy with a4.7 out of 5 Trustpilot ranking which I use myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go withexpressvpn.com using the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription. I get a small commission to help support this site.

Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (79)

Carry an Anker powerbank

Tickets, reservations, vaccination records and Interrail or Eurail passes are often held digitally on your mobile phone, so it's vital to keep it charged. I always carry anAnker powerbank which can recharge my phone several times over if I can't get to a power outlet.Buy from Amazon.co.uk or frombuy from Amazon.com.

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Train travel in Canada | Train schedules, routes & tickets (2024)
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