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Train through Rockies

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California
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Train through Rockies

My husband and I would like to take the train through the Rockies May/June2012. Which trip is the best value for money? We are fairly fit Seniors? We have never been to Canada so all suggestions are welcome for train travel.

Mary

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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1. Re: Train through Rockies

You have two (well, actually three) choices for trains through the Rockies - the luxury tour train, the Rocky Mountaineer ( www.rockymountaineer.com ), VIA Rail's train, "The Canadian" ( www.viariail.ca ), or the ultra-luxury train, the Royal Canadian Pacific (if you don't mind spending $8,200 per person for a one-week trip!)

seattle
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2. Re: Train through Rockies

Via rail goes thru the nite so you miss a lot of the scenery. Only the Rocky Mtnr is all daylight and the route to Banff will take you thru more of the mtns than the jasper route.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Train through Rockies

In terms of an airport location, Calgary is 1.5 hours from Banff and Edmonton is about 4 hours drive from Jasper.

The Rocky Mountaineer goes to both Jasper and Banff. VIA Rail goes to Jasper. If you chose VIA Rail, you could consider renting a one way car from Jasper to Calgary for a flight home. The Icefields Parkway between Jasper and Lake Louise is spectacular and really shouldn't be missed simply because you get off the train in one of the towns at either end of it.

May June in the Rockies is late spring and it will definitely be chilly in the morning and evening. But that's part of the charm. :-)

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Train through Rockies

Its worth mentioning that the railways cross the Rockies east to west, but the best views are to be had down the highway that runs north-south between Banff and Jasper. You'll need a car for that bit, which ever train route you choose.

Not to say that the views from the train aren't good, I'm sure they are (haven't done it myself), but just that to really see the Rockies, you have to get off the train and travel by road either in a car or as part of a tour.

Hull
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5. Re: Train through Rockies

As others have said, you don't see the Rockies from a train, but if you are looking for value riding the rails, Via Rail's 'Skeena' between Prince Rupert and Jasper must be a strong bet. I'm sure the RM is a top trip but you should check prices- if you haven't you'll gulp!

The Skeena goes through some fantastic scenery and the Tourist class which includes food (airline standard) and access to the panorama car is well worth the cost ($750pp one way?) Of course, if you really want best value, previously, they offered a limited number of senior tickets 2-4-1 but only in the basic class (no food, stuck in your seats) but very cheap travel.

You wil be early enough to take this deal if it appeals?

I did this a while ago and strongly recommend it, driving Jasper/Banff/ Calgary for the return flight (inbound to YPR via YVR). Allow enough time for the drive after the train- 7 days min.

Greater Sydney...
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6. Re: Train through Rockies

Once again, ATSF, you neglect to address the logistics of getting to Prince Rupert to join the Skeena, as you always do.

Hull
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7. Re: Train through Rockies

'(inbound YPR via YVR)'? Big bird, then smaller one...

Worked for me.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Train through Rockies

Variety of suggestions, advice, ideas is always a good thing. I do think when mentioning all the ways of getting to the Rockies, the OP needs to have an idea of the logistics of those ways.

We deal so much with the southern routes to the Rockies that the logistics of getting there is all over the forums.

In the case of the train from PR to Jasper, there are basically two ways of getting to the start of that journey.

Option 1: by BC Ferries from the north end of Vancouver Island. That means a drive of about 8 hours (469 km) from Vancouver to Pt. Hardy. Next step is to take BC Ferries that leaves at 7:00 am and arrives in PR at about 10:30 pm. Third step is to take the Skeena which is 15 hours and 1093 km. This has so far taken 2 days of a vacation to get to the train-head (so to speak.) The ferry trip during daylight would be quite impressive.

Option 2: by air. Air Canada flies non stop, twice a day: at about 8 am and about 5:30 pm. This method uses less time and allows the visitor to possibly make a good afternoon connection to that flight.

Both the northern route and southern routes would be spectacular, the northern route being perhaps more "natural" because it is less developed and less populated, except for Prince George. The southern route would go through the Spiral Tunnel which is an experience in itself. The extra costs and time of getting to PR would need to be factored in which may level the playing field somewhat compared to taking the RM from Vancouver. Knowing the whole picture of taking the northern route helps the OP.

mt emu
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9. Re: Train through Rockies

Hi We just did a tour of the Rockies in May and this included a RM trip interestingly most of us felt that the trip whilst beautiful felt a bit flat, and overlong. I think as foreigners we are told this is THE way to see the Rockies interesting to read vancouverite6's opinion that it is best by road and that was our experience. The icefield parkway was amazing as was so many other places we saw. If i did it again would def miss the train and spend the time exploring another area in more depth. Good luck and we didn't find it that cold surprisingly mild to us Aussies.

sydney Australia
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10. Re: Train through Rockies

ok. I will buy into this. I loved my RM trip. Did it on Red Class, only one I could afford, and was so gld I did. I am hoping to repeat the trip this time to or from Banff with my husband in 2013.

I have also done the first part of the Skeena trip. going from Jasper to Prince George. The other people on the train were mostly going the whole way, and then catching the ferry to Vancouver Island seeing most of the inside passage I believe. Though this is not the rockies, as it is north of there somewhat. the VIa rail though also a normal passenger train, does do tourist things in the summer months, for instance we stopped off at an old goldmining rail stop, and there was commentary over the speakers as to what we were seeing.

On the RM, liked having the two days rather than spending some time in the night, and also having the break and the nice bed to sleep in was nice. we got prior notice of a big site, and the train did slow down at at least three places so people in various parts of the train can take a good photo. This also happened when a bear or something else was sighted in the front carriage.

the food wasnt bad either, and it was a spoiling experience.

I cant wait to go back. It is worth for me to take budget options in other areas to make sure I can do this, perhaps even in gold class, and now I am wondering about getting to do the Prine Rupert trip too. I am already visiting prince george so it is a bit easier.