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Advice sought for VIA Rail trip.


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#1 bmjhagen9426

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 02:29 AM

Hello all,

 

I am planning a bucket-list trip on both Amtrak and Via Rail, but as this is the forum for VIA Rail, anything about the Amtrak part of my trip is another topic in another section. Does this look feasible: Maple Leaf from New York-> Corridor to Montreal-> Ocean RT-> Corridor to Toronto-> Canadian to Winnipeg-> Winnipeg to Churchill RT-> Canadian to Toronto-> Canadian to Vancouver-> Cascades to Seattle, or should I cut out some parts.

 

Also, if I decide to go with this plan and ignore the alternatives, when is the best to undertake the trip that I just mentioned, weather-wise? And on the Canadian, is Prestige Class worth it, or is it too much of a splurge?

 

Feel free to give comments or suggestions about the contemplated trip.


Trains taken (US): Coast Starlight, San Joaquins, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Hoosier State, SP4449 excursion 2015
Current Amtrak mileage: 20271 miles plus 130 Ambus miles

#2 snvboy

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 08:17 AM

Why backtrack from Winterpeg to Toronto?



#3 Palmetto

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 08:28 AM

You are doing Toronto-Montréal corridor 2 times.  Is that really what you'd like to do? 

 

If not, take the Adirondack up to Montréal and go to Halifax and back from there.  Besides, general opinion seems to say the Adirondack is a more scenic trip than is the Maple Leaf.



#4 Bob Dylan

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 09:06 AM

😎
I agree that taking the Adirondack is the way to roll from NYP to Montreal.

I also suggest that after you take the Ocean to/from Halifax that you ride from Montreal to Ottawa, a Fantastic City to visit, my favorite in Canada! 😎

As for the Canadian trip, unless you've got money to burn, I'd skip the Pricey Prestige Class, in fact consider taking a Lower Section Berth, they are much cheaper than a Cabin for One(Roomette) and more comfortable too!

I'd skip going to Churchill (there's no there there!)and get off in Jasper and take the Train In Touring Class from Jasper to Prince Rupert.

After returning to Jasper (you have to coordinate the trains with VIA since both are less than Daily and are Seasonal,) head for Beautiful Vancouver and spend a day or two exploring this jewel, then head over to Victoria, explore this gem and then head to Seattle via Ferry!

If time allows, I'd get off in the San Juan Islands on the way to Seattle and check out these wonderful islands too!😁

Edited by Bob Dylan, 31 January 2017 - 09:11 AM.

"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#5 Train2104

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 09:27 AM

Be mindful that the Winnipeg-Churchill train is very slow and not particularly scenic. Unless you plan to spend time in Churchill to whale- or bear-watch, probably not worth it.

 

Also, why are you taking the Winnipeg-Toronto portion of the Canadian twice?


Edited by Train2104, 31 January 2017 - 09:28 AM.


#6 Palmetto

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 02:21 PM

It may be worth taking the train up to Churchill; the port is closing, and there is some speculation about the non-future of this train.  Personally, I think it will continue, but less frequently.  There are no highways going north into Churchill.



#7 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 08:22 PM

Since when do 22 year old kids have bucket lists?  Might as well call it a cradle list.  :lol:


We've got provisions and lots of beer. The key word is survival on the new frontier. 


#8 bmjhagen9426

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 08:33 PM

Since when do 22 year old kids have bucket lists?  Might as well call it a cradle list.  :lol:

Not going to happen for at least five, or maybe even ten years. Just trying to get some ideas or recommendations. It'll probably happen anytime between 27 and 32 years of age. Just looking ahead.


Trains taken (US): Coast Starlight, San Joaquins, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Hoosier State, SP4449 excursion 2015
Current Amtrak mileage: 20271 miles plus 130 Ambus miles

#9 Palmetto

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 08:03 AM

 

Since when do 22 year old kids have bucket lists?  Might as well call it a cradle list.  :lol:

Not going to happen for at least five, or maybe even ten years. Just trying to get some ideas or recommendations. It'll probably happen anytime between 27 and 32 years of age. Just looking ahead.

 

Advance planning, par excellence. :) 



#10 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 04:50 PM

A few years ago I took the Maple Leaf to Toronto, Canadian to Vancouver, Cascades to Seattle (and then Coast Starlight and Chief back). Was a great trip. 

 

I traveled in winter because of the lower prices... winter in Canada is boring.... snow covers everything! This seems obvious but it's more extreme than you may realize... the lakes and rivers freeze, and the snow covers them as well. Since much of the Canadian travels through very remote regions there are many many miles where all you see is snow. That sounds charming... but 2 full days of it gets boring. Of course the the trip through the Rockies was wonderful and the snow and ice made the mountains look even more magical.  I would like to return and ride it when the fields are a color other than white!


Amtrak: - Coast Starlight*, Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin*, Cascades*, Empire Builder*, California Zephyr*, Southwest Chief*, City of New Orleans*, River Cities, Illinois Zephyr*, Wolverine, Cardinal, Capitol Limited*, Lake Shore Limited, Downeaster, Acela Express*, Crescent*, Carolinian*, Silver Star*, Silver Meteor*, Maple Leaf* Texas Eagle.

 

VIA: - Canadian*

 

Iowa Pacific - Hoosier State*, and City of New Orleans Pullman*.   


#11 bmjhagen9426

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 09:04 PM

A few years ago I took the Maple Leaf to Toronto, Canadian to Vancouver, Cascades to Seattle (and then Coast Starlight and Chief back). Was a great trip. 

 

I traveled in winter because of the lower prices... winter in Canada is boring.... snow covers everything! This seems obvious but it's more extreme than you may realize... the lakes and rivers freeze, and the snow covers them as well. Since much of the Canadian travels through very remote regions there are many many miles where all you see is snow. That sounds charming... but 2 full days of it gets boring. Of course the the trip through the Rockies was wonderful and the snow and ice made the mountains look even more magical.  I would like to return and ride it when the fields are a color other than white!

 

My initial plans call for going thru Canada in November of a given year. What should I keep an eye out for, and be aware about? I am considering taking the Ocean, Canadian, Northern Spirits (Winnipeg-Churchill), and Skeena (Jasper-Prince George-Prince Rupert) while in Canada.


Trains taken (US): Coast Starlight, San Joaquins, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Hoosier State, SP4449 excursion 2015
Current Amtrak mileage: 20271 miles plus 130 Ambus miles

#12 Palmetto

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 09:05 AM

Breaking you trip in Winnipeg and Jasper will probabaly have to occur, due to the schedules of the trains.  Both nice cities to spend a day or two.



#13 lyke99

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 07:42 PM

I'll echo the suggestions to ride the Adirondack instead of the Maple Leaf. I will also say that while slow and not particularly scenic, the Winnipeg-Churchill train highlights the basic transportation function of trains in the same way The Canadian highlights the pleasurable journey as a function of trains. I rode the Winnipeg-Churchill train in April of 1997 and again in July 2015 - both were excellent trips (and for varying reasons). There is something about plodding along at 40-50 kph all day long that makes cares of the world melt away.



#14 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 10:54 AM

I got "stuck" in Winnipeg on my honey moon- the train was annulled there due to a bridge fire and I ended up staying there (hotel on Via's dime- they offered to fly me, but I don't) before heading back the other way.

I didn't have my glasses, couldn't rent a car, and had not budgeted for it. I arrived thinking "WTF is there to do in Winnipeg in late February?" 3 days later, Via offered to send me back to Vancouver, and I elected to stay until the next train. After being in Winnipeg a week, I went home intending to move there. I'm still trying to figure it a way to do it.

If you don't include spending a few days in that city as part of your bucket list, you are cracked. Although I do suggest a slightly warmer time of year if you aren't a polar bear like me.
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#15 Bob Dylan

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 01:38 PM

Good story Lion! I spent a whole year in Winterpeg one Winter night waiting on a bus to Fargo after getting off a very late Canadian!

As you say, great place in the Summer!😄
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 "..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#16 Anderson

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 01:24 AM

Aside from the Adirondack/Maple Leaf advice, my main thought on the above would be to split things into two trips if possible.  There is a real risk of burning yourself out on travel partway through the trip with an itinerary like that.


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Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#17 bmjhagen9426

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 01:34 AM

I'll inevitably have to spend the night sooner or later between trains, because VIA's LD trains run less than daily, and I plan to use the sleepers (preferably a roomette or a bedroom) for the Canadian (if I have some extra money to burn, a First Class sleeper (aka the Prestige Class) only if I am also riding the length of it, before or after backtracking at Jasper and Winnipeg), Ocean, and Northern Spirits. As for the Skeena, it calls for using the Totem Deluxe, and for the corridors, the Business Class. I'll inevitably have to spend a night each way in Prince George, as the Skeena does not run overnight, as well as a night at Prince Rupert during the turn-around back to Jasper.


Trains taken (US): Coast Starlight, San Joaquins, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Hoosier State, SP4449 excursion 2015
Current Amtrak mileage: 20271 miles plus 130 Ambus miles

#18 Anderson

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 12:08 PM

I know what you're saying, but I tallied that up and I think you're looking at 14 nights over perhaps three or four weeks.  I've got probably 125,000 miles on Amtrak and maybe 15,000 on VIA and I probably average something like 20 nights a year on trains on a continuing basis.  That is a big trip and on the basis of your existing mileage I really don't think you comprehend just how exhausting a trip like that can be.  The one time I did a massive trip like that (it was smaller [1] and poorly timed [2]) I was totally spent by the end of it, and that only involved about five nights on trains over two weeks (though to be fair, one too many early-morning departures probably did not help).

 

[1] Acela-Adirondack-some corridor travel-Ocean-drive to Yarmouth-ferry-Downeaster-LSL-Zephyr-Starlight

[2] AGR 2.0 dropped while I was on the Ocean and wrecked my mood


Edited by Anderson, 15 February 2017 - 12:21 PM.

Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#19 bmjhagen9426

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 04:52 PM

Should I reverse-order what I mentioned, starting in Seattle instead and enter Canada by way of Cascades, and exit by way of the Adirondack or Maple Leaf to New York (which will cause me to ride the Skeena before riding the Northern Spirits)? I heard that there are no border stops on the Cascades, which sounds like an easier entry and less of a hassle. Also, what are the likelyhood of the Atlantic hurricane encounters once I get to New York, and could those hurricanes have an effect on Atlantic Canada (West of Montreal) and the states of Ontario and Quebec?


Trains taken (US): Coast Starlight, San Joaquins, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Hoosier State, SP4449 excursion 2015
Current Amtrak mileage: 20271 miles plus 130 Ambus miles

#20 Metra Electric Rider

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 06:04 PM

Way too soon to worry about hurricanes.... Too unpredictable. But late summer early fall are the "popular" hurricane season. You'll want to check the El Nino vs La Nina predictions for that.


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