and Via Rail
Know the pros and cons of travelling by rail
Whereas coach travel give you many choices and the flexibility to change, rail travel in both Canada
and the U.S. offers limited routes and trains per route, all too
often without daily service.
In busy seasons, you must book each
long distance segment well in advance. You have little ability to
change plans at the last minute.
For example, just one train per day travels
the entire scenic coastal route between the San Francisco area
and Los Angeles. Some of its departures must be booked months
And, a mere three trains a week journey from Toronto
to Vancouver, across Canada. Needless to say, booking these at
peak periods can be very difficult.
On the other hand, once you have somehow
obtained a reservation, trains offer a level of comfort and food
service far superior to coaches.
The rail experience
The least expensive long-distance "coach class" train seat in the western U.S. are similar to
traditional airline first class seats—but quite like the ones available today. They are comfortable.
cars are often available without extra charge on long-distance
services, especially in the central and western United States.
Food service on long-distance trains is far better than at the stops you make using Greyhound in Canada or the U.S. Note though that Amtrak may change to cold meals on most of its trains.
Via Rail Canada's "Canadian" from Vancouver to Toronto serves excellent meals far superior in most cases to Amtrak.
On many trains, you meet people from a wider
range of backgrounds than you usually do on buses. And, with lounge
cars on most trains in Canada and the U.S., meeting people and
making friends are easy.
Trains are generally faster than coaches,
although not nearly as fast as trains in Europe or Japan.
of the most scenic routes in North America are train routes. Be sure to see Dr. Voyageur's Amtrak and Via Rail Canada page for itinerary suggestions.
Learn about the pros and cons of other travel methods:
Go To >> Bus travel
Go To >> Hiking
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