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Need advise for train New York - Toronto - Vancouver

Drammen, Norway
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Need advise for train New York - Toronto - Vancouver

I am tempted to go by train from NY to Toronto, and from there to Vancouver. I saw an advertisment from Amtrac (?) which costs about CAD 1100 , whole trip in nice cabin , meals included.

Which time of the year to go?

Are there better lines?

All information will be nice!

Thanks in advance !

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Vancouver
Vancouver
British Columbia, Canada
West Grey, Ontario
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1. Re: Need advise for train New York - Toronto - Vancouver

Hi DavidoOslo;

For passenger rail service in the US, your only option is Amtrak, and in Canada, your only option is VIA Rail. There are no other lines that run acrosss country or across the US / Canada border.

You don't say how long you have for these trips. NYC to Toronto is approx. 500 miles / 800 km. The Amtrak train ride is more than 12 hours in duration.

Toronto to Vancouver is approx. 2811 miles / 4383 km. The VIA Rail train ride is more than 86 hours in duration.

How long is the offer available ?

Best Regards

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Vancouver
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Ottawa, Canada
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2. Re: Need advise for train New York - Toronto - Vancouver

Hi DavidOslo,

Welcome to the TORONTO TRAVEL FORUM.

As you have no doubt by now figureed out Canada is a HUGE country (second largest in the world after Russia) equal in about size to all of Europe, we span more than 5,000 miles / 8,000 Kms from our East Coast to West, and close to 50 Degrees Latitude from North to South (or about half the distance to the Equator).

As my Esteemed Colleage RESCUE TEAM as pointed out Amtrak runs in the USA and Via Rail runs in Canada (so I am not sure how this "deal" you've seen advertised works).

Via Rail runs "The Canadian" out of Toronto to Vancouver... for more info on that train trip you might want to check out this recent TA Topic entitled "Via Rail - The Canadian" = tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-g155019-i55-k288425…

You'll want to be sure and read the posts by three Travellers who have taken the trip:

UKPerson with Reply # 19

RossDurhamUK with Reply # 22

and SaveVP with Reply # 33

What you do want to know is that although the train is extremely comfortable... it really is just a mode of transportation to "get across" this great country. It does not really allow one to get off and enjoy any of the sights along the way (although I supose one could stop-over until the next train comes along... which could be several days).

If you haven't figured it out yet, inter-city transportation in Canada is both difficult and expensive. This is primarily due to the vastness of our country, and our scant population (because although we are about the same size of all of Europe, we have a mere 34 Million population vs 731 Million for Europe). Consequently, transportation between cities is both expensive and not very convenient when it comes to scheduling (just not a high demand). Many a Traveller has been shocked to find out the prices for our Plane, Train and Bus Service.

Which is why the car is king in Canada. Having a car means that one can explore the scenic countryside which is found between our large cities (most of our cities being 2 to 8 hours apart). It is this scenery for which Canada is most known.

As a general rule of thumb we tell Travellers to allow 2 to 3 weeks to explore any of our geographic regions (we have about 13 which closely align with our 10 Provinces and 3 Territories).

I think having more of an idea on your plans for your trip would be helpful... When are you planning on visiting, for how long, what is it you wish to do while here (a vision of your trip) etc.

I look forward to your future posts,

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

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Vancouver
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Toronto, Canada
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3. Re: Need advise for train New York - Toronto - Vancouver

Also, it's worth mentioning the Toronto-New York is a long ride on a daytime local train (no cabins, no beds, etc.)... it's the Toronto-Vancouver train that offers more comfort.

Oakville, Canada
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4. Re: Need advise for train New York - Toronto - Vancouver

>Are there better lines?

Yes - airlines

I'd be tempted to pick up the train in Edmonton or Calgary- you would still see the best bits of the journey.

However the price you quote seems good - my quick check on Via Rail came to close to $1000 starting in Edmonton (in the summer). Mind you I think someone would have to PAY ME to do the New York to Edmonton section!

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New York
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Ottawa, Canada
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5. Re: Need advise for train New York - Toronto - Vancouver

TO SPOLD905,

You said:

<< However the price you quote seems good - my quick check on Via Rail came to close to $ 1000 starting in Edmonton (in the summer). >>

Which is why I wondered about what the OP wrote...

<< I saw an advertisement from Amtrac (?) which costs about CAD 1100, whole trip in nice cabin, meals included. >>

Which is why inturn wrote....

<< As my Esteemed Colleage RESCUE TEAM as pointed out Amtrak runs in the USA and Via Rail runs in Canada (so I am not sure how this "deal" you've seen advertised works). >>

I'll add to that, I am not only seriously wondering about this "offer" (Amtrak, Via whatever) but also about the description... thinking that the "nice cabin" is just an Economy Coach Seat... (and this ad is just a "hook" to get someone in for more tour info / spending).

Like you said "Someone would have to PAY ME to do the New York to Edmonton Section"... trust me, if my hunch is right that it is sitting upright in an uncomfortable position 24 / 7 for 98 Hours Straight... (that works out to 4 frickin days) THEN THEY DON'T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO PAY ME TO DO THAT.

Lol

Wine-4-2

Edited: 6:31 pm, February 24, 2010
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New York
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Drammen, Norway
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6. Re: Need advise for train New York - Toronto - Vancouver

Here I got several replies with a lot of helpful information !

I had no idea of when to go, and I planned to spend 3 weeks on the tracks and on the road. I like going by train. Maybe a car is a better alternative?

Just arrived from China, where they really build high speed-railways. I love to drive them. Went from Changsha to Guangzhou . The train had a speed of close to 400 km/h, you were served coffee, tea, dinner, beer etc, A nice meal with beer costs about $ 10 .What is impressive about the Chinese is they plan to build some 13,000km of such routes by 2014 !!!!! It is not to believe. I am sure we in Norway will still be debating whether we shall build a high speed reailway or not, with exactly zero new kilometers built.

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Norway
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7. Re: Need advise for train New York - Toronto - Vancouver

We're a bit envious of the quality of train service in Scandanavia just like you're envious of train service in China.

The scenery from Edmonton to Vancouver is spectacular. There are nice parts along the rest of the route but it can get very repetitive. Driving is even slower than the train, because the train covers a fair bit of ground while you're sleeping. I'd suggest narrowing down your trip so that you can make the most of the most interesting parts, and flying the rest of the way.

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8. Re: Need advise for train New York - Toronto - Vancouver

Hi DavidoOslo,

Thank you for providing us with more info… well… as a Train Lover myself, I can totally understand your “hopes” of having a romantic adventure here in Canada. Unfortunately rail travel in North America was extensively gutted in the 1980s, so it bears little in comparison to that offered in other parts of the world (and the Americans who post in the various CANADA TRAVEL FORUMS tell us that Via Rail is far superior to Amtrak). So unless you really want to experience the trek across Canada from Toronto to Vancouver, I’d say it isn’t worth the expense or the time committed.

The exception would be the part of the trip thru the Rocky Mountains. Via’s “Rocky Mountaineer” gets a lot of positive Reviews here on TripAdvisor, and is indeed one great way to see the region (combined with some stops & side trips in the National Parks).

So now we are working on what part of Canada for you to visit…

With just 3 Weeks, you really are going to be limited… as I said in my first reply (# 2 Above) Canada is a HUGE Country, and we usually recommend that a Traveller look at spending 2 to 3 weeks in any of our Geographic Regions to get a real feel for them.

With 3 weeks for your visit, I suggest that you pick what interests you and focus on that area of the country (vs trying to do some time in Central Canada and then some time in Western Canada… splitting up a vacation means you won’t do either area the justice that it deserves).

You’ll need to familiarize yourself with GOOGLE MAPS (easy to use) so you can “see” where things are:

Typically we refer to Canada as having at least 12 specific geographic zones (which closely follow our Provincial divisions)...

1- Newfoundland & Labrador

2- The Maritimes (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick)

3- Quebec

4- Eastern & Southern Ontario

5- The Great Lakes & Northern Ontario

6- Central Canada (Manitoba & the Near North)

7- The Prairies (Saskatchewan & Alberta)

8- The Rockies

9- British Columbia

10- Southern British Columbia

11- The Territories (Northwest Territories, The Yukon, Nunavut)

12- The Far North (the frozen arctic)

You`ll need to do a lot of reading to find out what you are interested in... I suggest starting with TA`s CANADA TRAVEL FORUM and the TRAVEL GUIDE.

The most popular spots that Travellers begin their explorations of Canada tend to be –

* Eastern Central Canada (Quebec & Ontario… the most populated portion of Canada with cities such as Quebec CityMontrealOttawa – Toronto and Niagara Falls).

* Southern British Columbia (Where the 2010 Olympics are now – cities such as Vancouver & Victoria and the scenic sunshine coast).

* The Rockies (a bit of BC and a bit of Alberta… Canada’s most famous mountainous National Parks).

* The Territories (often combined with a cruise to Alaska from BC).

If you are indeed leaning towards any particular region, you can also find info on each of them on TA (ie. The Rockies would offer you info in THE CANADIAN ROCKIES, BANFF, JASPER and LAKE LOUISE TRAVEL Pages and their related TRAVEL FORUMS).

In the end the elements that will come into play are Time, Money (Transportation you will find will be very expensive vs other countries... partially due to the fact that we are so spread out, and also because of our scant population vs landmass). Self-Driving is an excellent to see Canada, although a car is not necessary for any of our cities (we have excellent public transit due to our harsh winters) it is certainly the best way to see the amazing countryside that we are most known for, that exists between our cities.

As for when to visit, the best months by far are May thru October, generally speaking our Summer tourist season begins with Victoria Day Weekend (Third Monday in May) and runs thru to our Thanksgiving (Second Monday in October). This is when you’ll find most tourist things are open and on a full summer schedule. Weather wise, this also tends to correspond with the best time to visit. Early May can be chilly and rainy, late October similar. Snow is possible in a great portion of the country from late October thru to mid April… coldest month of the year overall is January… if you want a Winter Holiday mid December to the New Year is a good bet as is early March (moderate winter months). If you are thinking an outdoorsy holiday (camping, hiking etc) then May and June are both particularly bad months in the woods when it comes to bugs (Black Flies & Mosquitos). Also as our Lakes are mostly snow fed or spring fed, the water is generally only warm enough to swim in July and August (out west and up north, glacier fed lakes never warm up).

This should start you on your research… I suggest that as you narrow down your choices of Destinations that you post Questions in those specific TRAVEL FORUMS (and not here in the one for Toronto)… Likewise, if you continue to just want to know general info about the country as a whole, you should post in the more General CANADA TRAVEL FORUM.

Hope this is helpful,

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

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9. Re: Need advise for train New York - Toronto - Vancouver

Ooops,

I incorrectly said above that the Rocky Mountaineer was part of the Via Rail family... it isn't... it is run as a private venture out of Vancouver, BC.

For more info see the following Websites:

Wikipedia - Rocky Mountaineer = en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Mountaineer

and the Tour Company's own Website - Rocky Mountaineer = www.rockymountaineer.com/en_CA/

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

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Drammen, Norway
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10. Re: Need advise for train New York - Toronto - Vancouver

Thank you so much,guys! This was something, and Wine-4-2 , you wrote a book :)

Tusen takk!