Travelling by rail is reminiscent of a bygone era. The railways of yesterday were the link to the Wild West, gold fields and an integral component of the Industrial Revolution. At its peak, it was the easiest, fastest and certainly the most luxurious mode of transportation to move people and goods from East to West. With the development of automobiles and air transportation the golden age of train travel for most lost its appeal and many railways ceased passenger services.
Travelling by rail across the country has a reflective and romantic appeal today for many. Growing up I was intrigued by the stories my mother shared of her trips across Canada during the war years as my father was transferred from his base in Vancouver to Halifax. I remember her talking about falling asleep to the click- clack of the wheels on the rails, the gentle swaying of the train and the interesting and wonderful people she met onboard. It has left me with the desire to someday make this trip and see firsthand the magnificence of the country in which I was born.
For many, the journey across Canada is a bucket list item as well as a nostalgic experience. The trains today are more comfortable and offer dome cars for optimal viewing. In preparing to write this blog I spoke with Ryan Robutka at Via Rail Canada for his input on rail travel today, “I think many people are drawn to train travel because of the intimate access it provides to the beautiful places across the Canadian landscape. However; the more I travel onboard any of our trains, the more I realize it’s the experience inside the train that grabs hold of passengers and the realization that within the train’s sleeping, dining and dome cars is a moving community of travellers bound together by a unique experience reminiscent of days gone by and a pace that’s quieter and simpler than our hectic day-to-day existence”
Here are some additional reasons why train travel is so desirable today:
Stress Free: By taking the train you stay on the ground where looking out the window provides ever changing views but without the stress of worrying where the next gas station is, where your next meal will be or where you will lay your head at night. If you get tired, no need to pull over, just close your eyes and enjoy a little shut eye.
Scenery: Whether you travel from East to West or West to East you will enjoy splendid views of the Rockies, the Coast Mountains, glaciers, the Prairies, lakes, forests and very likely Canadian wildlife.
Dining Delights: All meals are prepared fresh on board the train. Choices are provided at every meal and as you cross the country you will notice many dishes are prepared with local ingredients in mind.
Relaxed Social Environment: Trains today provide lots of space for passengers to move about and mingle with others over a meal, morning coffee or a glass of wine. Meeting new friends and sharing stories add to the overall experience.
Looking for a reason to make this trip in 2108? Wells Gray Tours has two departures, Westbound on May 15th and Eastbound on May 27tth including stops in major cities such as Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal. We have also included visiting iconic sites such as; Manitoba Museum, Mennonite Heritage Village, Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Folklorama, Niagara Falls and more. See our full itinerary.
Itineraries from Interior
Itineraries from Victoria
Written by: Joan Niemeier with Ryan Robutka, Via Rail Canada Senior Manager, Sales & Marketing – Americas