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Drive or Train from Quebec City to Portland (Maine)

Australia
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Drive or Train from Quebec City to Portland (Maine)

We are 3 Aussies who are planning to travel from Quebec City to Portland (Maine)in late November 2010 as part of our 5 week holiday in Canada and the USA.

We have discovered that there are no direct flights between the two cities, and the time it takes to get from Quebec City to Portland is between 4 and a half and 5 Hours (depending on where the stop-over is).

In light of this we are considering alternative options - Driving is one (estimated distance is 274 miles/441 km), or taking the train.

Should we choose to drive,

1. What route would you recommend we take.

2. What are the roads like in late November.

3. Are there any restrictions on car hire (ie. one way across the border)?

Alternatively is there a train from Quebec City to Portland that runs during Late November ?

West Grey, Ontario
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1. Re: Drive or Train from Quebec City to Portland (Maine)

Hi 3Aussies2110;

First, trains travelling between Canada and the US cross outside of Montreal, approx. 157 miles / 253 km west of Quebec City. You would need to take a train to Montreal first.

www.viarail.ca

In Montreal you would then board a train to travel south into the US, to Albany NY, approx. 222 miles / 358 km, where you would transfer to another train heading east to Portland, ME, approx. 271 miles / 436 km.

www.amtrak.com

There are some car rental companies that will not permit their cars across the border, or have different pricing if the rental car goes out of the province or out of the country. Most of the larger rental companies will allow cross border rentals.

The cost of one-way rentals is much higher than a regular rental due to the drop fees charged, as the vehicle must somehow be returned to the point of origin, towed if necessary.

Ensure that the rental company notes on the rental agreement that they authorize you to take the car into the US. You may be asked by Customs when entering the US for this documentation.

In late November you could encounter winter driving conditions. Without considerable winter driving experience I would NOT suggest starting in an unfamiliar rental car, in an unfamiliar area. Driving in the winter takes genuine experience.

You may want to read over the Traveler Article "Winter Driving in Canada", here on TA.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g153339-c55003/Canada…

Best Regards

Ottawa, Canada
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2. Re: Drive or Train from Quebec City to Portland (Maine)

Hi 3Aussies2110,

Welcome to the QUEBEC CITY TRAVEL FORUM.

Ok, a bit of background.... Canada is a pretty big place (2nd largest Country in the world only behind Russia) and we have vast amounts of open countryside with a relatively scant population (Quebec City thru to Southern New Brunswick would be one such example). When it comes to size by area... for comparison the USA is much smaller (Ranks # 4 in the world behind China... BTW Australia is # 6 behind Brazil).

Anyways, here we are a country the size of ALL of Europe and yet we have a scant population of just 34 Million (vs the USA which has 307 Million). Similarly those states that border on Canada... suffer much the same fate (why live in the coldest parts of America when you can live somewhere warm?)

Consequently transporatation, especially public transportation between cities here in Canada is lagging far behind of Europe etc. It is inconvenient, infrequent, and expensive... supply & demand (our transporation in cities however is excellent due to the challenges we face with getting around during our winter weather).

With our cities being 2 to 8 hours apart... and so little need or desire for intercity transit... the car is king.

To my knowledge there is no trains that run between Quebec City and the USA (let alone Portland Maine). There is a train that runs between Quebec City and the Maritimes (I believe it goes to Halifax, and is the Via Rail Atlantic).

Infact due to the hassles of crossing the border... there are few trains that make the trek between our two countries any longer... it is far easier to just drive one's self across... both the bus and train are riddled with delays... as a bus can not proceed until EVERY Passenger has cleared Customs... (2 Hour Waits at the Border are not uncommon).

Driving too does not have its problems... taking a rental car between the two countries on a one way rental is Very Very Expensive... the drop-fee often being more than the whole rental itself. (Rentals Cars have to some way find their way back to point of origin... even if that means being towed).

Your best bet will probably be to either drive from Quebec City to a close Canadian Border town (Saint Johns NB perphaps... you'll still pay a car rental drop fee but it will less because the car won't be taken out of the country of origin) and then take a bus to Portland.

OR look at getting yourself to Halifax from Quebec City (like I said I think the train goes there) and then somehow making your way to Portland Maine from there (not sure if there are any flights... some one in the NOVA SCOTIA TRAVEL FORUM might know) I do know that there is a new air service connecting Portland Maine to Yarmouth NS in lieu of the Ferry Service that ran perviously.

You might also want to post this topic on the NOVA SCOTIA and PORTLAND MAINE TRAVEL FORUMS for more info and other perspectives on how to deal with your dilema.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Ottawa, Canada
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3. Re: Drive or Train from Quebec City to Portland (Maine)

EDITS...

I see I was composing at the same time that RESCUE TEAM was posting... so I will add the following.

AGREE whole heartedly about Winter Driving. We here on the CANADA TRAVEL FORUMS typically advise Travellers who DO NOT HAVE SIGNIFICANT Winter Driving Experience not to undertake it here on a lark... as stated it is a real skill (Too much to contend with for a newbie... Snow Falls, Snow Storms, Blizzards, Blowing Snow, White-Outs, Sleet, Freezing Rain, Black Ice and Freaky Fog). All of which will be even more pronounced in the parts of Canada that are more rugged in geography, and less densely populated... Quebec City thru to Portland Maine, would certainly meet that criteria.... not to mention smack-dab in the midst of a HUGE Snowbelt.

Our Winter Season runs generally from sometime in November thru to April... but can vary somewhat year-to-year... coming in November you might want to make up your mind based on the current and projected weather conditions once you arrive (some years November is late Fall, some years early Winter and we well into the cold weather and deep snow).

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Edited: 11:02 pm, April 07, 2010
Montreal, Canada
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for Quebec, Montreal, Quebec City, Mont Tremblant, Miami, Miami Beach
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4. Re: Drive or Train from Quebec City to Portland (Maine)

Aussies, end of November, car rental, Maine... This is probably the worst combination that you can get, really sorry and I am not sarcastic.

With what was already written I will say that driving is a no no.

There are no trains, just the very circonvoluted route already described.

Bus, you have to get to Mtl first (excellent service) and then to Boston and finally to Portland.

As you can see all of those alternatives will take waaay more time than your two leg flight taking 5 hours.

Sorry but that is the only suggestion that can be sensible and also the only one that I would personally use.

Australia
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5. Re: Drive or Train from Quebec City to Portland (Maine)

Thank you everyone for your advice,

We have decided that flying is probably the best way to go.

Kind regards

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: Drive or Train from Quebec City to Portland (Maine)

Hi 3Aussies2110,

You are very welcome... I hope you have a great vacation.

When all is said and done, do come back to the FORUMS and give us a TripReport and tell us how the trip went for you.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

West Grey, Ontario
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for Toronto
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7. Re: Drive or Train from Quebec City to Portland (Maine)

You're Welcome, 3Aussies2110 !

Quebec City, Canada
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8. Re: Drive or Train from Quebec City to Portland (Maine)

Hi,

I think that Air Canada add Portland, Maine to their destination list a few weeks ago. It's now possible to fly from Quebec City (YQB) to Portland via Toronto.

Have a nice stay in Canada

9. Re: Drive or Train from Quebec City to Portland (Maine)

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