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The Canadian: Winter vs. Spring, 2018


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#1 Dakota 400

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Posted 28 April 2017 - 07:04 PM

I would appreciate opinions as to which season would be the most scenic to travel from Vancouver to Toronto on The Canadian.  Would late April or early to mid-May be too late to see snow on top of the mountains in the Canadian Rockies?

 

Opinions are appreciated as well about Sleeper Plus Class vs. Prestige Class on The Canadian.

 

Thank you for your opinions and experiences!

 

 



#2 zephyr17

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Posted 29 April 2017 - 09:38 PM

There will ALWAYS be snow on top of the Canadian Rockies (i.e. Mt. Robson).  At track level, maybe, maybe not.

 

Take Sleeper Plus in the off-season, so you have all-day access t the Park car.  Late April would do.

 

I would always take Sleeper Plus, as those are traditional railroad accommodations.  Prestige, they tubed out they cars and they bear no resemblance to their original layout.  The big thing about Prestige is the bed big enough to sleep two people.  If that is important to you, take Prestige if you have the money, otherwise do Sleeper Plus.   The meals are the same, and you can buy an awful lot of booze (included for Prestige) for the price differential, pretty much enough to destroy your liver if you are so inclined.

 

I ride the Canadian about once a year, off season in Sleeper Plus.

 

I am a big fan of the off-season.  The last few years I have taken the Canadian in either November or March, when it is a "normal" train (eight cars, not a 26 car monster), and I have a great time.


Edited by zephyr17, 29 April 2017 - 09:41 PM.

SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr, Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-Orlando), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal), BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX


#3 Montreal Ltd

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 07:40 PM

I rode The Canadian from Vancouver to Toronto about 5 weeks ago. More daylight in the Rockies that direction. First things I did before booking were A-check Daylight Time, started March 12. B-check Easter, April 16. High season began May 1 this year. Rode March 21-25 in a Cabin for One. Fantastic trip. Do not make plans for day of arrival because you WILL be late.

#4 Montreal Ltd

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 07:49 PM

Arrived Toronto Sat pm, and from my 11th floor window at the Royal York, got to see the westbound Canadian pull out of Union Station right on time!

#5 Dakota 400

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 03:59 PM

Thank you Montreal Ltd and zephyr17 for your responses.  

 

It is helpful to know that your arrival into Toronto was in the PM and not the scheduled AM.  Do you recall the approximate time in the PM that the Canadian arrived?



#6 zephyr17

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 07:03 PM

Second Montreal's recommendation on taking the eastbound trip, for the same reason...more time in the Rockies.  That is what I always do now and will continue to do on one-way Canadian trips.

 

Last two times I took it, we were actually a bit early into Toronto, but you absolutely cannot count on that. Another time we got in about 2 pm.  Arrival time with the Canadian is an absolute crapshoot, make no firm plans in advance except to have a room reserved and be happily surprised if you are on time.

 

BTW-the Strathcona is a good, less expensive alternative to the Royal York in downtown Toronto.  Pretty much across the street from Union Station, too, it is a walk of a few more yards to their lobby as opposed to the Royal York.  The rooms are quite small, but very nice.  Also, those the times the Canadian was on time, they let me check in wayyyyy early.


Edited by zephyr17, 03 May 2017 - 07:05 PM.

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#7 Dakota 400

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 06:58 PM

When one makes a reservation for a Sleeper Plus accommodation on The Canadian, is one informed as to whether the reservation is for a Manor Car or a Chateau Car Cabin?  Does it make a difference as to which Car one is assigned?



#8 zephyr17

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 11:26 AM

They know and will tell you if you ask, but you will have to ask, what they will tell you automatically is the car number and accommodation number.  Since I travel in roomettes, I don't like the Chateaus, since they have duplex roomettes and the duplex roomettes are smaller than the standard roomettes in the Manor.  Manors are the standard sleepers on the Canadian, while Chateaus are used, they are not that common in the non-summer period when plenty of Manors are available.

 

If you are picky about accommodation, call for a reservation.  The way Via works is a room will automatically be assigned, but the agent can change it.  Personally, I like to be in the rear-most Sleeper Plus Manor, and ask for that.


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#9 Montreal Ltd

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 06:03 PM

My #2 got into Toronto shortly before 2pm.

#10 Dakota 400

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 08:47 PM

Thanks again for the information!

 

zephyr17, I am picky about accommodations.  If I am going to spend what one must to travel, I want the best that I can obtain for the money I am willing to spend.

 

Your suggestion about requesting the rear-most Sleeper Plus Manor Car raises the question in my mind as to what might the probable consist of The Canadian be?  Via Rail's web site page for The Canadian says "3 Classes, 9 Cars".  I count 8 car types listed.  Is there only one Sleeper Plus Car?  Where might the Sleeper Plus Car(s) be located in relation to the Park Car?  

 

From previous visits to the Via Rail's The Canadian page, it is my understanding that the Park Car is available whenever to Sleeper Plus guests during the off-season.  Or. has that changed for the Fall, 2017 and Winter/Spring, 2018? 



#11 NS VIA Fan

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 05:43 AM

I’ve posted this link here before….but this will give you some info on a winter trip on the Canadian a couple of years ago. Consist would be similar except Prestige Class sleepers will now be added ahead of the Park Car:

http://discuss.amtra...an-with-photos/

#12 zephyr17

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 11:16 AM

Last winter the basic consist was:

Bag/dorm

Coach

Skyline (coach accessible)

2 Manor sleepers (Sleeper Plus)

Diner

2 Manor sleepers (Sleeper Plus)

Prestige Chateau

Park Car

 

In the summer, the train is 26 cars, with a coach portion (coaches and Skyline), two sleeper portions (Skyline "activity car", diner, Manor sleepers, maybe some unconverted Chateaus in each), Panorama car (car with non-revenue coach style seating and wrap around windows), Prestige Chateau sleepers and the Park car (restricted access for Sleeper Plus).

 

If you want the rearmost sleeper plus Manor like I do, ask for it.  In terms of accommodations, all the Manors are the same, the only difference is the distance to the Park Car and the diner.  The Manors run berths forward, roomettes rear.  If you get a "Cabin for 2", ask for an "F" room in the Manor.  Those are Compartments as opposed to Double Bedrooms and are slightly larger.


Edited by zephyr17, 09 May 2017 - 11:20 AM.

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#13 Dakota 400

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 07:29 PM

I’ve posted this link here before….but this will give you some info on a winter trip on the Canadian a couple of years ago. Consist would be similar except Prestige Class sleepers will now be added ahead of the Park Car:

http://discuss.amtra...an-with-photos/

 

Thank you for again posting this link.  You are really responsible for my considering a Winter journey on The Canadian as a result of viewing/reading your post.  I did an Empire Builder trip during the Winter and it is a favorite memory of mine.  That is why I have considered such a trip in Canada.  

 

 

 

 



#14 Dakota 400

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 07:42 PM

So, what to do?  Book a late March, 2018 trip this far out?  There will be much water "to flow over the dam" before then.  I'm hesitant to do so.

 

Do I risk not being able to book a Cabin for One by booking maybe this late Summer or early Fall for a late Spring Canadian trip?

 

Given the difference in the price of the Canadian $ and the US $, which is now quite attractive as an American, well, that is another factor to consider.

 

Opinions would be appreciated.  Thank you.



#15 Bob Dylan

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 08:29 AM

I suggest you consider booking a Lower Section Berth instead of a Cabin for One.

Much more affordable with the same amenities and the most comfortable bedding I've ever had on a train!

Keep watching via.ca and look for specials, currently the Winter Season Tuesday departures out of Vancouver to Toronto seem to be the best deals as opposed to Toronto to Vancouver.

Edited by Bob Dylan, 11 May 2017 - 08:29 AM.

 
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#16 Montreal Ltd

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 01:19 PM

FWIW I booked my trip in August.

#17 chakk

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 04:16 PM

Thank you Montreal Ltd and zephyr17 for your responses.  

 

It is helpful to know that your arrival into Toronto was in the PM and not the scheduled AM.  Do you recall the approximate time in the PM that the Canadian arrived?

When I took a February trip a couple years ago, my train arrived Toronto at 7 PM.   I was just barely able to make the last flight from Pearson Airport back to California on a red-eye.  I learned my lesson, and in the future will always plan for a night's stay in Toronto before attempting to return home.



#18 Chessie

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 05:46 PM

Sorry to piggyback on this thread but what would be a good price for a one way trip on the great Canadian, Sleeper plus during off season?

I am currently seeing $1062 for a lower berth in late May, is that a good price?

#19 zephyr17

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 06:23 PM

Sorry to piggyback on this thread but what would be a good price for a one way trip on the great Canadian, Sleeper plus during off season?

I am currently seeing $1062 for a lower berth in late May, is that a good price

That is the price on their Sleeper Plus discount page, which is for only for specified departures within a few weeks of departure.  The fares offered there are the best you can get, although they vary by time of year.   Via's yield management is much simpler than Amtrak's (5 buckets, etc).  You basically have full price, a "regular" discount price, and the Sleeper Plus specials (which were sleeper Discount Tuesday prices, but are no longer only offered on Tuesday).  So it is quite easy to figure out what is a deal and what isn't.

 

That special discount price is likely somewhat lower for the off-season (full winter), but you can only book those fares fairly close to the date of travel and may not be available for all departures.  The regular "discount" fare for the off-season that is bookable well in advance is $1277 for a lower, inclusive of tax.  That is from a "test" booking for 1/23/18.

 

Bear in mind, those prices are CAD.


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#20 zephyr17

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 06:27 PM

I suggest you consider booking a Lower Section Berth instead of a Cabin for One.

Much more affordable with the same amenities and the most comfortable bedding I've ever had on a train!

Keep watching via.ca and look for specials, currently the Winter Season Tuesday departures out of Vancouver to Toronto seem to be the best deals as opposed to Toronto to Vancouver.

I agree that the bed is the most comfortable on the train, but I will still continue to book roomettes on the Canadian.  I like having a door and a power outlets, and the bed isn't that much more comfortable to offset the loss of privacy and availability of power.  My personal choice, just pointing out there are trade-offs to be made.


Edited by zephyr17, 11 May 2017 - 06:29 PM.

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