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Canada 150 Pass Trip


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#1 FreeskierInVT

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 12:17 PM

Hey everyone,

 

I lucked out a few weeks ago and got a Canada 150 pass for travel this July. I have worked out a *rough* itinerary, and hope to get some feedback about my journey from those a but more familiar with Via and Canada than I am. I realize this would involve a long time in a coach seat, as well as no access to some of the amenities that are only available to sleeper passengers, both of which I am alright with. My itinerary is flexible, with the exception of my plans for Whistler (which is semi-flexible, as long as I get a day of skiing in). Their summer skiing season ends on July 16, and my current plan is to ski there on closing day. I also plan to rent a car in Jasper during my layovers there, but am also open to stopping over in other towns provided there is affordable lodging (hostels preferably) and things to do.

 

Any suggestions on things to do and sights to see are more than welcome as well!

 

Thanks,

Josh

 

Corridor #65

Depart Montreal, QC Sat Jul 1 10:55

Arrive Toronto, ON Sat Jul 1 16:03

 

Canadian #1

Depart Toronto, ON Sat Jul 1 22:00

Arrive Winnipeg, MB Mon Jul 3 08:00

 

Monday night in Winnipeg

 

Hudson Bay #693 

Depart Winnipeg, MB Tue Jul 4 12:05

Arrive Churchill, MB Thu Jul 6 09:00

 

Thursday-Friday nights in Churchill

 

Hudson Bay #692

Depart Churchill, MB Sat Jul 8 19:30

Arrive Winnipeg, MB Mon Jul 10 16:45

 

Monday night in Winnipeg, then Tue-Wed nights on the train to save costs:

 

Canadian #2

Depart Winnipeg, MB Tue Jul 11 22:30

Arrive Sioux Lookout, ON Wed Jul 12 05:02

 

Canadian #1

Depart Sioux Lookout, ON Thu Jul 13 00:09

Arrive Vancouver, BC Sat Jul 15 09:42

 

Rent a car and drive to Whistler, BC for Sat night-Mon night.

Summer skiing at Whistler Sun 7/16 (closing day), mountain biking Mon 7/17

 

===============================

From here, I'm torn on two options. One is to stay in Whistler/Vancouver until Friday 7/21:

Canadian #2

Depart Vancouver, BC Fri Jul 21 20:30

Arrive Jasper, AB Sat Jul 22 16:00

 

Saturday-Sunday nights in Jasper

 

Canadian #2

Depart Jasper, AB Mon Jul 24 17:30

Arrive Toronto, ON Thu Jul 27 09:30

 

Corridor to Montreal

-------------------------------------------------------

My other option is to depart Vancouver on Tue 7/18, and experience the Prince George/Rupert route

Canadian #2

Depart Vancouver, BC Tue Jul 18 20:30

Arrive Jasper, AB Wed Jul 19 16:00

 

Wed-Thu night in Jasper

 

Skeena #5

Depart Jasper, AB Fri Jul 21 12:45

Arrive Prince George, BC Fri Jul 21 19:08

 

Fri night in Prince George

 

Depart Prince George, BC Sat Jul 22 08:00

Arrive Prince Rupert, BC Sat Jul 22 20:25

Sat night in Prince Rupert

Skeena #6

Depart Prince Rupert, BC Sun Jul 23  08:00

Arrive Prince George, BC Sun Jul 23 20:29

 

Sun night in Prince George

 

Depart Prince George, BC Mon Jul 24 09:45

Arrive Jasper, AB Mon Jul 24 18:30

 

Mon-Tue night in Jasper

 

Canadian #2

Depart Jasper, AB Wed Jul 26 17:30

Arrive Toronto, ON Sat Jul 29 09:30

 

Corridor Toronto-Montreal

 

 


Routes taken:

Vermonter (38), Ethan Allen Express (7), Northeast Regional (20), Acela Express (4; 2 BC/2 FC), Downeaster (9; 3 w/ Dome Car), Lake Shore Limited- Boston (1), Hiawatha (2), Lake Shore Limited- New York (1), Maple Leaf (1), Adirondack (3; 1 w/ Dome Car), Keystone (3), Pennsylvanian (1), Springfield Shuttle (6), Autumn Express (Nov. 3, 2013)

 

VIA Rail Canada: Ocean (R/T Montreal-Halifax)

 

Total Amtrak/VIA mileage:   19,316

Amtrak mileage in 2016:       2,702

Amtrak mileage in 2015:        362

Amtrak/VIA Mileage in 2014: 7,858

Amtrak Mileage in 2013:        6,154

 

LIRR: 3,598 total miles - 86 trips totaling 145 trains

 

Upcoming:

Canada Youth 150 Trip

VIA Corridor: Montreal-Toronto, Toronto-Montreal

Canadian: Toronto-Winnipeg, Winnipeg-Edmonton, Edmonton-Vancouver, Vancouver-Jasper, Jasper-Toronto

Skeena: Jasper-Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert-Jasper

Ocean: Montreal-Moncton, Moncton-Montreal

 

 

 


#2 Bob Dylan

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 03:02 PM

Nice trip,we're envious!😎

Remember that Coach passengers on the Canadian ( located in the front of the very long Summer consists) have their own diner/cafe and Dome car.

You also receive a blanket and pillow at night, the seats are comfortable and not usially that crowded in Coach.

Prices in Canada,tend to be high,especially on alcohol, and there is a Goods and Service Tax of 15% on most items.

It can still get very cold at night in the train so layering up on clothing is a good idea.

Since you are doing layovers, you'll have a chance to shop for supplies to take aboard,highly recommended.

Travel Light and Travel Right, VIA,unlike Amtrak, is very strict with their Luggage policies, carry on is limited and checking bags is easy and necessary if you have more than a pack and maybe a cooler or bag for food and drink.

As for your travel option upon returning, Id do #2, the Prince George/Prince Rupert train.

Edited by Bob Dylan, 13 April 2017 - 03:07 PM.

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#3 NS VIA Fan

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 09:29 AM

Those are looooong layovers in Churchill and Sioux Lookout.

Summer is not Polar Bear season when most tourists go to Churchill.......

http://www.everythin...etting-started/

......and especially Sioux Lookout, a small community and probably not much to do in the early morning and late at night when the Canadian passes through:

http://www.siouxlook...ca/en/index.asp

#4 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 10:11 AM

I would spend more time in Winnipeg. And do not forget to eat at Jesse's Kitchen.
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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#5 NS VIA Fan

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 04:53 PM

I see you will be leaving Toronto on the Canadian on July 1 at 10pm. That's our 150th Birthday.....so grab a seat in the Dome as you will probably see lots of fireworks along the waterfront departing Union Station.

#6 Train2104

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 05:38 PM

Remember that Coach passengers on the Canadian ( located in the front of the very long Summer consists) have their own diner/cafe and Dome car.

 

I don't think they get a diner at all. Just a Skyline car with the dome and cafe.



#7 NS VIA Fan

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 06:58 PM

Remember that Coach passengers on the Canadian ( located in the front of the very long Summer consists) have their own diner/cafe and Dome car.

 
I don't think they get a diner at all. Just a Skyline car with the dome and cafe.


From VIA's Webpage:

Economy Class: Choose from a selection of affordable meals, snacks, beverages, cooked meals and alcoholic drinks on board the Skyline car.

#8 Anderson

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 03:14 AM

From what I can tell, it varies.  I know in winter they can use the diner (or the front diner if there are two diners) but I'm not sure about the summer.


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)

#9 NS VIA Fan

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 06:31 AM

You face a couple of layovers in Jasper.....but you will find plenty to do here and in 2017 admission to all National Parks is free.

http://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/jasper

If you get a chance.....vist the iconic Jasper Park Lodge which was originally built by the Grand Trunk Pacific, Canadian National Railways and now a Fairmont Hotel.


Edited by NS VIA Fan, 16 April 2017 - 06:33 AM.


#10 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 07:03 AM

The skyline car has a full kitchen.
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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#11 FreeskierInVT

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 11:08 PM

Thanks for the tips!!! I'm ok either way, diner or no diner. I am trying to make this trip happen as economically as possible, so I would probably only have a few meals in the diner if there is one. 

 

In both Vancouver and Jasper I plan to rent a car, and am definitely going to check out the parks out there. That'll be the plan either way whether I do the Prince Rupert train or stay longer in Vancouver/Whistler.

 

At Churchill, I do realize it isn't polar bear season  :(. I'm planning on taking a beluga whale tour, and if money allows I may spring for a polar bear buggy tour.

 

I'm not sure what my plans will be at Winnipeg. The Sioux Lookout idea was just to avoid the cost of two nights in Winnipeg, but am definitely open to changing that part of my trip if it seems like there's a fair amount of things to do without a car.


Routes taken:

Vermonter (38), Ethan Allen Express (7), Northeast Regional (20), Acela Express (4; 2 BC/2 FC), Downeaster (9; 3 w/ Dome Car), Lake Shore Limited- Boston (1), Hiawatha (2), Lake Shore Limited- New York (1), Maple Leaf (1), Adirondack (3; 1 w/ Dome Car), Keystone (3), Pennsylvanian (1), Springfield Shuttle (6), Autumn Express (Nov. 3, 2013)

 

VIA Rail Canada: Ocean (R/T Montreal-Halifax)

 

Total Amtrak/VIA mileage:   19,316

Amtrak mileage in 2016:       2,702

Amtrak mileage in 2015:        362

Amtrak/VIA Mileage in 2014: 7,858

Amtrak Mileage in 2013:        6,154

 

LIRR: 3,598 total miles - 86 trips totaling 145 trains

 

Upcoming:

Canada Youth 150 Trip

VIA Corridor: Montreal-Toronto, Toronto-Montreal

Canadian: Toronto-Winnipeg, Winnipeg-Edmonton, Edmonton-Vancouver, Vancouver-Jasper, Jasper-Toronto

Skeena: Jasper-Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert-Jasper

Ocean: Montreal-Moncton, Moncton-Montreal

 

 

 


#12 FreeskierInVT

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 11:33 AM

Booked tickets early this morning, and I'm glad I did since the Canadian heading out of Toronto on 7/1 is already sold out in all classes of Economy. I went with a longer stay in Whistler and Vancouver instead of doing the Prince Rupert train, but did add a leg from Montreal-Truro the last few days of the month. Total cost would have been CAD$1783 without the pass, and will add up to 10,183 miles if my math is correct. 

 

The last leg on the Ocean is tentative, but I would want to see the Bay of Fundy since that was something I missed on my trip to Halifax a few years ago. I would have about 24 hours since I'd need to squeeze it between the arrival of the eastbound Ocean on Sat 7/29 and the departure of the next day's westbound Ocean, while also finding somewhere that I can rent a car on the weekend. This was a last minute addition and I haven't had much time to do a lot of research, but would a different stop on the Ocean be better for such a short layover? I'm thinking Moncton may be a better alternative simply because of rental car availability on Saturday and Sunday with most locations being closed.

 

Now I just need to count down the 73 days until July 1st! Can't wait!


Routes taken:

Vermonter (38), Ethan Allen Express (7), Northeast Regional (20), Acela Express (4; 2 BC/2 FC), Downeaster (9; 3 w/ Dome Car), Lake Shore Limited- Boston (1), Hiawatha (2), Lake Shore Limited- New York (1), Maple Leaf (1), Adirondack (3; 1 w/ Dome Car), Keystone (3), Pennsylvanian (1), Springfield Shuttle (6), Autumn Express (Nov. 3, 2013)

 

VIA Rail Canada: Ocean (R/T Montreal-Halifax)

 

Total Amtrak/VIA mileage:   19,316

Amtrak mileage in 2016:       2,702

Amtrak mileage in 2015:        362

Amtrak/VIA Mileage in 2014: 7,858

Amtrak Mileage in 2013:        6,154

 

LIRR: 3,598 total miles - 86 trips totaling 145 trains

 

Upcoming:

Canada Youth 150 Trip

VIA Corridor: Montreal-Toronto, Toronto-Montreal

Canadian: Toronto-Winnipeg, Winnipeg-Edmonton, Edmonton-Vancouver, Vancouver-Jasper, Jasper-Toronto

Skeena: Jasper-Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert-Jasper

Ocean: Montreal-Moncton, Moncton-Montreal

 

 

 


#13 NS VIA Fan

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 03:21 PM

The last leg on the Ocean is tentative, but I would want to see the Bay of Fundy since that was something I missed on my trip to Halifax a few years ago..........I'm thinking Moncton may be a better alternative simply because of rental car availability on Saturday and Sunday with most locations being closed.


A stopover in Moncton would be a good choice. Pop is 150,000 so there's a good selection of hotels and car rentals.....but still it's the tourist season so make a reservation.

And if you want to see the Fundy Tides....one of the best spots is the Hopewell Rocks about 40 min. from Moncton. Here's a time-lapse video:





Then continue on another half hour to Fundy National. All Nationl Parks are free admission this year but Hopewell Rocks is a Provincial Park so there's a fee.

http://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/nb/fundy

#14 FreeskierInVT

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 04:21 PM

Just got an email from the hostel I booked in Churchill that rail service to Churchill is suspended because of above average snowfall and the spring thaw. A phone call to Via confirmed this, but they said the suspension is active until June 30th, and my trip shouldn't be affected.

 

I'm still a bit worried, since it appears it's no longer possible to book a ticket on my train. When I select Winnipeg to Churchill on July 4, it says there is no service matching my criteria. Should I be worried??


Routes taken:

Vermonter (38), Ethan Allen Express (7), Northeast Regional (20), Acela Express (4; 2 BC/2 FC), Downeaster (9; 3 w/ Dome Car), Lake Shore Limited- Boston (1), Hiawatha (2), Lake Shore Limited- New York (1), Maple Leaf (1), Adirondack (3; 1 w/ Dome Car), Keystone (3), Pennsylvanian (1), Springfield Shuttle (6), Autumn Express (Nov. 3, 2013)

 

VIA Rail Canada: Ocean (R/T Montreal-Halifax)

 

Total Amtrak/VIA mileage:   19,316

Amtrak mileage in 2016:       2,702

Amtrak mileage in 2015:        362

Amtrak/VIA Mileage in 2014: 7,858

Amtrak Mileage in 2013:        6,154

 

LIRR: 3,598 total miles - 86 trips totaling 145 trains

 

Upcoming:

Canada Youth 150 Trip

VIA Corridor: Montreal-Toronto, Toronto-Montreal

Canadian: Toronto-Winnipeg, Winnipeg-Edmonton, Edmonton-Vancouver, Vancouver-Jasper, Jasper-Toronto

Skeena: Jasper-Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert-Jasper

Ocean: Montreal-Moncton, Moncton-Montreal

 

 

 


#15 NS VIA Fan

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 07:46 AM

A story posted on CBC Manitoba yesterday (Jun 9) says Churchill service could be suspended until the winter or next spring......so I would start looking for alternates now.

http://www.cbc.ca/ne...rvice-1.4154221

#16 NS VIA Fan

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 08:51 AM

Found a little more info:

VIA service is only suspended between Gillam & Churchill.....so if you are up for an adventure you can still ride to Gillam and back to Winnipeg.


http://www.newswire....-627562033.html

#17 FreeskierInVT

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 11:03 AM

Is there much to do in Gillam? I had booked a stay at the Tundra Inn in Churchill, who said that Calm Air is running flights from Gillam to Churchill for Via passengers that connect with the train schedules. I'll look into this but it'll likely be too costly.

Routes taken:

Vermonter (38), Ethan Allen Express (7), Northeast Regional (20), Acela Express (4; 2 BC/2 FC), Downeaster (9; 3 w/ Dome Car), Lake Shore Limited- Boston (1), Hiawatha (2), Lake Shore Limited- New York (1), Maple Leaf (1), Adirondack (3; 1 w/ Dome Car), Keystone (3), Pennsylvanian (1), Springfield Shuttle (6), Autumn Express (Nov. 3, 2013)

 

VIA Rail Canada: Ocean (R/T Montreal-Halifax)

 

Total Amtrak/VIA mileage:   19,316

Amtrak mileage in 2016:       2,702

Amtrak mileage in 2015:        362

Amtrak/VIA Mileage in 2014: 7,858

Amtrak Mileage in 2013:        6,154

 

LIRR: 3,598 total miles - 86 trips totaling 145 trains

 

Upcoming:

Canada Youth 150 Trip

VIA Corridor: Montreal-Toronto, Toronto-Montreal

Canadian: Toronto-Winnipeg, Winnipeg-Edmonton, Edmonton-Vancouver, Vancouver-Jasper, Jasper-Toronto

Skeena: Jasper-Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert-Jasper

Ocean: Montreal-Moncton, Moncton-Montreal

 

 

 


#18 FreeskierInVT

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Posted 11 June 2017 - 07:59 PM

With flights far out of my price range and Via confirming trains are cancelled until at least the upcoming winter, Churchill is going to have to wait for a future trip. I went back to square one and redid almost my entire itinerary, which was difficult with some Canadian and Prince Rupert departures being sold out of economy escape fares. It took a heck of a lot of researching on my own and over three hours on the phone with Via agents, who went above and beyond with *amazing* customer service, helping me research an alternate plan and piecing together trains that still had seats left. Their call center is in Moncton, so both agents I spoke with were very familiar with the Fundy area and suggested closer places to stay than the place I had booked in Sussex and some of their favorite drives along the coast.

 

My trip now consists of:

>Montreal-Edmonton, with two days in Edmonton.

>Edmonton-Vancouver, with three days at Whistler and three days in Vancouver, all with a free rental car booked on Hertz points.

>Vancouver-Hinton, AB, with an eight hour layover to a 3am Greyhound bus to backtrack to Jasper. I couldn't find any lodging south of $500 for the one-night layover in Jasper (which is well outside of my budget), except a wilderness hostel one hour south. But with no rental car, this would be very difficult to get to.

>Jasper-Prince Rupert, with one day in Rupert and the overnight in Prince George.

>Prince Rupert-McBride, BC, with the night in PG and a one "night" layover in McBride before an early morning (3am) Greyhound bus back to Jasper. Again, no lodging availability in Jasper and all rental car places closing before the train from Rupert arrives. Three days in Jasper with a rental car, instead of my previous plan having two. I snagged one of the last beds in a hostel for the first extra night I'm there, with the other two coinciding with my initial itinerary.

>Jasper-Toronto, with one day in Toronto.

>Toronto-Montreal, connecting to the Ocean, Montreal-Moncton. 28 hours around the Bay of Fundy with a rental car before returning back to Montreal to close out the month.

 

20 days until departure, and with things hopefully being concrete now, I can't wait!


Routes taken:

Vermonter (38), Ethan Allen Express (7), Northeast Regional (20), Acela Express (4; 2 BC/2 FC), Downeaster (9; 3 w/ Dome Car), Lake Shore Limited- Boston (1), Hiawatha (2), Lake Shore Limited- New York (1), Maple Leaf (1), Adirondack (3; 1 w/ Dome Car), Keystone (3), Pennsylvanian (1), Springfield Shuttle (6), Autumn Express (Nov. 3, 2013)

 

VIA Rail Canada: Ocean (R/T Montreal-Halifax)

 

Total Amtrak/VIA mileage:   19,316

Amtrak mileage in 2016:       2,702

Amtrak mileage in 2015:        362

Amtrak/VIA Mileage in 2014: 7,858

Amtrak Mileage in 2013:        6,154

 

LIRR: 3,598 total miles - 86 trips totaling 145 trains

 

Upcoming:

Canada Youth 150 Trip

VIA Corridor: Montreal-Toronto, Toronto-Montreal

Canadian: Toronto-Winnipeg, Winnipeg-Edmonton, Edmonton-Vancouver, Vancouver-Jasper, Jasper-Toronto

Skeena: Jasper-Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert-Jasper

Ocean: Montreal-Moncton, Moncton-Montreal

 

 

 


#19 FreeskierInVT

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 02:22 PM

Thankfully I've been able to eliminate the overnight buses from my itinerary, after coordinating an after hours car rental with Avis in Jasper after arriving back from Prince Rupert. This will allow me to get to the hostel I was able to book down along the Icefield Parkway.

 

I was able to do the same coming east from Vancouver as well, for under US$20 for the night. Not bad for peak season rates!


Routes taken:

Vermonter (38), Ethan Allen Express (7), Northeast Regional (20), Acela Express (4; 2 BC/2 FC), Downeaster (9; 3 w/ Dome Car), Lake Shore Limited- Boston (1), Hiawatha (2), Lake Shore Limited- New York (1), Maple Leaf (1), Adirondack (3; 1 w/ Dome Car), Keystone (3), Pennsylvanian (1), Springfield Shuttle (6), Autumn Express (Nov. 3, 2013)

 

VIA Rail Canada: Ocean (R/T Montreal-Halifax)

 

Total Amtrak/VIA mileage:   19,316

Amtrak mileage in 2016:       2,702

Amtrak mileage in 2015:        362

Amtrak/VIA Mileage in 2014: 7,858

Amtrak Mileage in 2013:        6,154

 

LIRR: 3,598 total miles - 86 trips totaling 145 trains

 

Upcoming:

Canada Youth 150 Trip

VIA Corridor: Montreal-Toronto, Toronto-Montreal

Canadian: Toronto-Winnipeg, Winnipeg-Edmonton, Edmonton-Vancouver, Vancouver-Jasper, Jasper-Toronto

Skeena: Jasper-Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert-Jasper

Ocean: Montreal-Moncton, Moncton-Montreal

 

 

 





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