Via Rail is Canada’s nationwide passenger rail service, linking over 400 places coast-to-coast since 1977. Today, the rail service presents a singular alternative to journey and see Canada’s pure grandeur.
For our journey from Winnipeg to Toronto, we launched into a prolonged 40-hour practice trip in Prestige Class, which is Via Rail’s First Class providing. These luxurious cabins debuted in 2014, giving passengers a superior railway expertise with ultra-personalized service on their most well-known practice, “The Canadian”.
Following my current journey on the Rocky Mountaineer, as nicely an epic practice journey years in the past on the Trans-Siberian Railway, I used to be excited to proceed using the rails with this prolonged journey on Via Rail Prestige Class.
Via Rail Prestige Class – Routes
Via Rail has over 400 stations throughout Canada, with prospects for each shorter jaunts and prolonged journeys.
There are three predominant routes connecting Toronto to Vancouver (“The Canadian”), Quebec to Windsor, and Montreal to Halifax (“The Ocean”), in addition to “Scenic Adventure Routes” in choose distant areas, reminiscent of Churchill and Northern British Columbia.
“The Canadian” completely hyperlinks Toronto to Vancouver, with connections in Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Jasper, in addition to various smaller cities and cities in between.
The full route begins at both Toronto’s Union Station or Vancouver’s Pacific Station. Along this route, the railway snakes its approach over the Rockies and throughout the nearly limitless prairies.
It takes 4 nights to finish the whole transcontinental journey, making it Canada’s longest practice journey.
For our eastbound journey from Winnipeg to Toronto, key stops alongside the best way included Sioux Lookout, Hornepayne, Sudbury, and Parry Sound.
Via Rail Prestige Class – Classes of Service
There are 4 courses onboard Via Rail: Economy, Business, Sleeper Plus, and Prestige.
Only financial system is constant throughout every route, and the opposite courses of service differ relying on the vacation spot and route.
- Ontario and Quebec: Business class and financial system class
- Western Canada: Economy class, Sleeper Plus class, Prestige Class
- Atlantic Canada: Sleeper Plus class and financial system class
- The Adventure Routes: Sleeper Plus class, financial system class, and Touring class
Economy class solely presents upright chairs with a semi-recline function, which you’ll want to bear in mind for any long-distance journey. For instance, a four-day journey from Toronto to Vancouver could also be relatively disagreeable for those who’re unable to lie all the way down to sleep.
Snacks and drinks are supplied for an additional charge, however no meal service is offered.
Sleeper Plus class has quite a few options for lodging, in addition to complimentary meals and drinks. Depending on the journey, personal cabins for one or two individuals or semi-private rooms in higher and decrease berths may be reserved.
Passengers in every carriage have entry to communal restroom amenities.
Lastly, Prestige Class is the practice’s elevated luxurious providing, completely accessible for journeys between Toronto and Vancouver. These cabins supply all of the perks of different courses, in addition to unrivalled consolation with a non-public suite, gourmand meals, a full ensuite toilet, and even a private concierge.
Via Rail Prestige Class – Booking
You can e-book Via Rail tickets instantly by the web reserving engine on their web site, or by a journey company. Pricing varies relying on route and time of yr.
Note that journey businesses typically purchase up Prestige Class stock in the course of the peak summer time interval, so chances are you’ll have to undergo a journey company for those who’re unable to e-book instantly.
Booking Via Rail Prestige Class with Prince of Travel to entry extra stock in comparison with what’s accessible instantly on the Via Rail web site.
Click right here to e-book Via Rail (enter “Via Rail” within the Destination discipline of the shape).
For Prestige Class, I paid round $2,900 (CAD) per individual for the Winnipeg–Toronto route. If you’re concerned about travelling the total route from Vancouver to Toronto on Prestige Class, fares start at round $5,000 (CAD), and may attain as much as $6,000 (CAD) in the course of the summer time months.
The similar route in financial system class begins at $240 (CAD), and jumps to $1,000–$2,000 (CAD) for Sleeper Plus. The Vancouver–Edmonton route usually is the most affordable method to expertise Prestige Class, and can be probably the most scenic route, beginning at round $2,000 (CAD).
Via Rail Prestige Class – Departure
Our journey started at Winnipeg’s Union Train Station, a shocking constructing with an exquisite white and turquoise-domed rotunda, classical detailed arches, and flanking columns.
It was approaching midnight as we exited the departure lounge and climbed aboard The Canadian for our two-day practice trip onboard Via Rail’s Prestige Class.
It’s vital to notice that Via Rail passenger trains share the rail with freight trains, which take priority. Therefore, be ready for frequent delays, and it’s finest to be versatile along with your departure and arrival preparations, as you may be delayed at both finish.
Via Rail Prestige Class – Cabin
The Prestige Class suites are designed to comfortably accommodate two passengers in type, and it was certainly a wide ranging sight as we stepped contained in the cabin for the primary time.
The cabin was instantly cozy and alluring, attributable to its wood partitions, charming plant décor, and the Murphy mattress that had already been proactively ready for our arrival.
Once transformed into the daytime house, the mattress folds up, disappearing seamlessly into the wall. When it’s tucked away, a brown leather-based sectional that appears out by the window takes its place, which boasts uninterrupted views of Canadian wilderness.
There’s a shelf simply above the seat that gives some space for storing, after which a cupboard that’s used to retailer the bedding in the course of the day.
The cooler cupboard was one of many suite’s finest options, and though it isn’t a fridge, it undoubtedly retains issues chilly. We requested that the workers inventory the house with refreshments so we might take pleasure in them all through the day.
There’s a TV simply above the cooler, and to its proper is a small compartment for hanging your clothes. There’s a collection of films pre-loaded into the leisure system so that you can take pleasure in in the course of the practice trip.
The espresso desk in the midst of the cabin doubles as a help for the mattress when folded down. The controls for lighting, heating, and calling the attendant are situated near the doorway.
The personal ensuite toilet is really outstanding. The rest room and sink are positioned collectively, whereas there’s some space for storing with charging ports and a hair dryer above the sink, in addition to a basket of varied bathe facilities additional above.
When it involves the bathe, a two-piece door opens up so that you can enter, and openings within the ground enable the water to stream out.
While the temperature was tough to regulate and rapidly grew to become both too scorching or too chilly, the water strain was surprisingly glorious. And in fact, I might hardly consider that it’s doable to bathe on a practice within the first place, so I naturally took nice pleasure in making full use of the bathe on each nights.
We went to mattress comparatively quickly after boarding, however not earlier than I used to be completed marvelling at my environment resulting from pleasure. We handed by Manitoba in the course of the night time, and fell asleep to a charming thunderstorm lighting up the skies.
By the time we awoke, we had already arrived in Ontario, and it was time to discover the remainder of the practice.
Via Rail Prestige Class – Dining Car & Park Car
There are three predominant areas on Prestige Class the place passengers can spend their time: the suite, the eating automotive, and the Park automotive.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served within the eating automotive, which can be shared with passengers within the Sleeper Plus cabin.
The automotive is usually organized with four-person seating, so that you’ll ceaselessly be sitting with different travellers on the journey. You’re inspired to socialize throughout meals, and we actually did our justifiable share of chatting and attending to know our fellow passengers on this journey.
The Park automotive is the final automotive, which was two vehicles down from our room in Prestige Class. This is actually the hub of every day life on the practice, the place you’ll discover comfy leather-based couches on each side and a bar with limitless drinks accessible, together with alcohol.
Heading up the steps is the place you’ll discover the viewing deck, with a full glass ceiling affording limitless panoramic views.
VIA Rail Prestige Class – Day 1
We headed all the way down to the eating automotive for our first breakfast of the journey. I kicked issues off with fried eggs, crispy bacon, and shredded-potato hash browns, and my accomplice Jessy ordered the vegan scramble.
After a leisurely morning having fun with the views within the Park automotive, we headed again to the eating automotive for some lunch. I opted for tomato soup, adopted by a juicy and tender signature burger, whereas Jessy had the quinoa salad.
The spotlight of our lunch was the chocolate cake and ice cream served for dessert.
We then headed again to our suite, the place we snacked all through the afternoon on a charcuterie board alongside just a few glasses of wine and a few cocktails. We took the time to easily loosen up, benefit from the views, and sneak in a nap or two.
As we approached 5pm on Day 1 of our journey, we had a fast 30-minute cease within the Township of Hornepayne, Ontario. This was the one likelihood we needed to stretch our legs, as the opposite stops passed off in the course of the night time or early within the morning.
I couldn’t assist however marvel at simply how giant Ontario is, as we primarily spent a whole day and a half crossing only one province, with loads of distance to go. As we boarded again onto the practice, we continued the journey southward to Toronto.
It was now supper time service, which started with shared appetizers of bacon wrapped dates and French onion soup, adopted by our predominant meals. I opted for the pork loin, and Jessy had the rooster cutlets.
The pork loin was tender and delectable, and amongst my favourites of the meals thus far.
I used to be feeling fairly full at that time; nevertheless, I managed to search out sufficient room to wrap up my dinner with one other scrumptious dessert, a gentle and spongy slice of cheesecake, adorned with the phrase “Via” in strawberry sauce.
After a fulsome meal, we headed again to our suite for the rest of the night, the place our Murphy mattress had already been ready for us. I absolutely relished the expertise of taking one other bathe, after which we kicked up our legs as nighttime fell.
Via Rail Prestige Class – Day 2
Waking up on Day 2 at round 9am, we solely had round 4 hours left within the journey till we reached Toronto. We headed to the Park automotive for some Nespresso, juice, and packaged pastries, as brunch is served simply previous to the 1pm arrival in Toronto.
The Nespresso was far superior to the drip espresso provided within the eating automotive, and the workers have been very courteous and keen to help us with no matter we would have liked, every time we would have liked it. This included our time on the bar, sitting within the Park automotive, or bringing something to our room.
Just earlier than lunch, we took a stroll by the remainder of the practice vehicles simply to discover the whole practice. In the Skyline automotive, which is a communal space for passengers in all cabins, there have been tables arrange for board video games or chess.
The Skyline vehicles seemed completely different all through the practice, and had a way more old-school inside design than the Park automotive.
For brunch service, I ordered the waffle alongside fried eggs, ham, and hash browns. It was a gentle and candy conclusion to our meals onboard Via Rail Prestige Class, and Jessy famous that her southern scramble wasn’t too unhealthy, both.
Overall, we discovered the meals onboard to be enough, however not distinctive, particularly contemplating the excessive worth of Prestige Class. As some extent of comparability, it was subpar to what we had on the Rocky Mountaineer, which was far more consistent with what you’d count on on a luxurious practice.
As we pulled into Toronto, I mirrored on how rapidly the time handed on the practice. Throughout the journey, I discovered myself readily falling asleep and napping on a number of events, and it was good to journey in such a soothing method.
Travelling by practice is a a lot slower, intentional method to journey. You nonetheless wind up at your vacation spot, however with out the hustle and bustle that’s usually concerned with flying or driving.
I’d liken Via Rail Prestige Class to taking a cruise on land, the place conductor does the entire arduous work, and your job is solely to eat, sleep, and loosen up amidst the free-flowing meals and drinks.
Via Rail Prestige Class is best suited to a specific sort of older and wiser traveller, who needs to traverse huge distances at a leisurely tempo in very comfy environment. It’s undoubtedly not the quickest or the most affordable method to journey, which is what most individuals want.
Since I’ve now checked off each of Canada’s most luxurious practice journeys from my bucket checklist, I’m able to see what else is on the market on this planet of luxurious practice journey.