Canada Abroad

Explore Canada by Train

Explore Canada by Train!

Canada is the second largest country in the world. Covering 9,985 million square kilometres, it is second only to Russia. And to complement its impressive size, Canada also has a coastline that stretches for 202,080 km, making it the longest coastline in the world.

To get around in such a huge place can be daunting, especially if you are a first-time visitor. To put it in perspective, there are five different timezones in Canada. So travelling from one end to the other has to be planned carefully. Taking the car from Montreal to Vancouver is doable. But it will take roughly 50 hours of straight driving. 4600km of the open road is probably not what you have in mind when you think of taking a holiday. But there is an alternative way – you can take the train.

The Next City is Just a Train Journey Away!

Taking into account the sheer size of Canada, catching the train appears to be a great option. And there is a bonus – you’ll experience the breathtaking natural beauty of Canada slip by while relaxing in your seat. You can take the train (VIA Rail’s Canadian) from Vancouver to Toronto and then get a connecting train to Quebec City. From west to east in a couple of days!

The entire journey takes five days, so just keep that in mind when you plan your trip. But don’t let the long hours on the train put you off! You can literally experience the vast and changing landscapes as the journey progress. From the dense forests and sparkling lakes in the east, through the plains of Manitoba and into the majestic mountains in the west. It is a good way to experience Canada over a relatively short period of time.

Explore Canada by train!
Majestic mountains marking the boundary between Alberta and British Columbia

VIA Rail

If you intend to travel by train from one city to another, then VIA Rail is your only option. It is a government-owned train company and has a railroad network of 12,500 km. Moreover, VIA Rail offers different travel pass options, so depending on your budget you can choose between staying in a Luxury Private Room (Prestige Class) or just sitting in an Economy Class Chair. There are also other seating or sleeping options on the train, ranging from:

  • Economy Class
  • Roomette
  • Private Cabin for 1
  • Private Cabin for 2
  • Private Cabin for 3
  • Prestige Class

An Economy Class seat won’t get you any meals on the train, whereas any of the sleeper options include meals.

The Roomette is a bunk bed in the hallway of the sleeper car. For your privacy, each Roomette has a curtain to block you off from the outside world. Furthermore, the beds are quite comfortable.

Private Cabins are spacious and comfortable.

The luxurious Prestige Cabins are beautifully furnished! For ultimate style and luxury, these boast with a TV and a Minibar. Imagine the majestic Canadian Scenery rolling by, or snuggling up in bed with a drink and a movie. All of this in the comfort of your own cabin.

To top it all you can also go to the Dome Car this car is positioned at the end of the train. Here you will have a 360-degree view of the majestic scenery. There are a number of different trains and obviously different routes, but if you can, try to book a ride on “The Canadian”, VIA Rail’s flagship train (and the longest train in the fleet).

If this kind of travel sparks your interest, click here to see the different pricing options.

VIA Rail flagship train, The Canadian.
The Canadian

Pros and Cons of taking the Inter-City Train

If you are like me, a happy go lucky got all the time in the world kind of guy, there are no cons. But for the planners and business people, here is a list of the pros and cons of taking the train across Canada:


  • Majestic views of the natural beauty that Canada has to offer.
  • Sleep whenever you want.
  • No stress about traffic or bad weather.
  • Comfortable seating options.
  • Stay over in a city that you like and catch the next VIA Rail train passing by.


  • Sometimes there are delays.
  • Freight trains get preference, so VIA Rail trains have to pull over to let them pass.

Not all of us are long-distance travellers…

A tram is almost like a train
Tram in Toronto

If you prefer to travel between cities at speed, then taking the train isn’t always the best option. But what happens if you fly between cities, how will you get around when you fly into Toronto from Vancouver or vice versa? You can still take the train! Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver have well developed rapid rail systems in place to get you wherever you need to go without too much hassle.

Furthermore, you could make use of the Light Rail System in any one of the following cities:

  • Calgary
  • Edmonton
  • Ottawa
  • Toronto

Canada Abroad will Assist you to Explore Canada by Rail

If you want to explore the Railroad System in Canada, make use of our services to guide you along the way. Many nationalities require a visitors visa to visit Canada for tourist purposes. If you do not hold a Canadian passport, click here to see if you need a visa to visit Canada.

PS. in the summer months VIA Rail Trains can be quite crowded, so try to take the East/West Line in winter.