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Canada by Train: VIA Rail, Routes, Tickets

  • Scenic
  • 11 min read

If you’re looking to explore Canada by rail, you’ve come to the right place! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide an overview of Canada’s vast rail network mostly run by VIA Rail Canada, including information on major train companies and their routes. Plus, we’ll give you tips on how to book your ticket online. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!


VIA Rail - Train London - Ontario

VIA Rail – Canada’s principal train company

VIA Rail Canada is the country’s main provider of passenger rail services. It operates trains in all provinces except Prince Edward Island, with a network that stretches from coast to coast. VIA Rail offers both long-distance and regional services, carrying over 4 million passengers each year. Popular routes include the Canadian, which runs from Toronto to Vancouver, and the Atlantic, which links Montreal with Halifax. VIA Rail operates several scenic routes through the Canadian Rockies and along the St. Lawrence River. In addition to its regular services, VIA Rail also provides charters and special event trains. These include The Polar Bear Express, which runs to a remote town in Northern Ontario, and The Great Canadian Adventure, a transcontinental journey that takes passengers.

VIA Rail History

VIA Rail is the primary train service in Canada, running routes across the country from coast to coast. The company has a long and storied history, dating back to 1881, founded as the Canadian Pacific Railway. Since then, VIA Rail has undergone several changes, including a major restructuring in 1977 that saw it become a Crown corporation. Today, VIA Rail provides an efficient and eco-friendly way to travel, with modern trains that offer comfortable seating, ample legroom, and stunning views of the Canadian landscape. Whether you’re looking to explore the Rocky Mountains or the Atlantic Coast, VIA Rail is an ideal way to see everything that Canada has to offer.
VIA Rail operates over 12,500 kilometers of track, making it the second-largest rail network in North America (after Amtrak in the United States).

VIA Rail in Numbers: track length, passengers, and routes

VIA Rail is Canada’s primary train company, linking over 500 communities across the country. With over 12,500 kilometers (7,800 miles) of the track, VIA Rail carries nearly 4.8 million passengers on over 500 trains each year. The company offers various routes, including cross-country journeys, regional services, and specialized tourist trains. VIA Rail also provides connecting service to Amtrak in the United States for passengers looking to explore even more of North America by rail. Whether you’re looking to travel for business or pleasure, VIA Rail offers a unique and convenient way to see Canada’s diverse landscape.

VIA Rail Routes

VIA Rail is Canada’s top train company, operating passenger rail service across the country. The company’s flagship route is the transcontinental Canadian, which runs from Toronto to Vancouver via Winnipeg and Jasper. The Canadian operates three times per week, with Journey times ranging from four to five days. Tickets start at CAD$865 for an economy seat and rise to CAD$4,419 for a deluxe bedroom. VIA Rail also offers several other routes, including the Sudbury – White River Train in Ontario and the Jasper – Prince Rupert Train in British Columbia. VIA Rail is an excellent option for those looking to explore Canada by rail.
VIA Rail is Canada’s largest train company, operating routes across the country. One of its most popular routes is the VIA Rail Océan, which runs from Montreal to Halifax. The train offers a variety of cabin options, including Economy, Business, and First Class. It also has a wide range of amenities, such as a dining car, lounge car, and Wi-Fi. The VIA Rail Océan operates daily, with tickets starting at $39 CAD for Economy class. For those looking for a more luxurious experience, First Class tickets start at $199 CAD. Regardless of which cabin you choose, the VIA Rail Océan is an enjoyable way to see the stunning scenery of eastern Canada.
VIA Rail is Canada’s primary train company, connecting major cities across the country. The most popular route is the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal-Québec line, which offers both economy and business-class tickets. Business-class cabins are spacious and comfortable, with ample legroom and reclining seats. Economy class cabins are more compact but still offer comfortable seating. Trains run daily, and ticket prices vary depending on the travel class and booking time. VIA Rail also offers discounts for seniors, students, and children. VIA Rail is an excellent option for those looking to explore Canada by train.

Canada’s national rail service, VIA Rail, offers daily service from Toronto to Niagara Falls. The journey takes approximately two hours, and passengers can choose between economy and business class seating. Economy tickets start at $39 CAD, while business class tickets start at $59 CAD. The train features large windows for optimal views of the passing scenery, and passengers are welcome to move about the cabin during the journey. For those who want a more private experience, VIA Rail also offers sleeper cabins for an additional fee. Sleeper cabins come with a bed, linens, and access to a private washroom. Tickets can be purchased online or at any VIA Rail station.

VIA Rail – Book your ticket now!

VIA Rail route

VIA Rail Canadian, Toronto – Winnipeg – Jasper – Vancouver$865 CAD
VIA Rail Océan, Montreal – Halifaxfrom $39 CAD
VIA Rail Intercity Toronto – Ottawa – Montrealfrom $39 CAD
VIA Rail Toronto – Niagara Fallsfrom $39 CAD

Amtrak, CN Railway, CP Railway 

In addition to VIA Rail, there are more companies in Canda offering train services. Read all about it here:
In addition to VIA Rail, Amtrak also operates in Canada, running the popular Cascades service between Vancouver and Seattle. The journey takes approximately four hours, and tickets start at $30 CAD for economy class. The train features large windows for optimal views of the passing scenery, and passengers are welcome to move about the cabin during the journey. Amtrak also offers a variety of food and drink options for purchase, including sandwiches, snacks, and beverages. Tickets can be purchased online or at any Amtrak station.

Even more amazing are the additional discounts and travel benefits offered and tied to each of these rail passes. You are given discounts to many attractions in many cities and multiple countries, as well as shopping and dining discounts, a true traveler’s dream. It extends the benefits of your BahnCard, your Deutche rail pass, your unlimited travel card, your Saver Fare card, and even your Länder-Tickets. It is one giant super-beneficial train transport package ticket all-in-one.

Consider purchasing this online ticket before you depart from the U.S., and within a few weeks of departure if you want to print your online tickets or have them shipped to you via mail. In fact, it is a very good idea to contact Eurail or DB (Deutche Bahn) a good month prior to leaving the U.S. to have your BahnCard, German rail pass, long-distance Rail Europe, or other train tickets far in advance. Then you are guaranteed to be a passenger on any train leaving from any station and booking is so simple when you do it online.

The Canadian National Railway (CN) is a transcontinental railway that spans Canada from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast. Founded in 1918, the CN was created to bring together several smaller railway companies struggling to compete against larger rivals. Today, the CN is one of the largest railways in North America, transporting everything from oil and gas to grain and lumber. The CN operates a fleet of modern diesel-electric locomotives, and its routes reach as far north as James Bay and as far south as New Orleans. In addition to freight trains, the CN also operates passenger trains, including the famous Canadian, which runs between Toronto and Vancouver.

The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) is a transcontinental railway that stretches from Vancouver to Montreal. It was built in the late 19th century as a way to connect the growing nation of Canada from coast to coast. The CPR was originally built as a private venture, but it soon became clear that the scale of the project was too great for anyone company to handle. As a result, the Canadian government stepped in and took over the construction of the railway. The CPR was finally completed in 1885, and it remains an important transportation artery in Canada today. The CPR’s mainline runs through some of the most scenic parts of the country, including the Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes. The railway also operates several popular tourist trains, such as the
It is a privately-owned train company that offers service between Vancouver and Banff. The Rocky Mountaineer is known for its stunning mountain scenery, and its route through the Canadian Rockies is considered one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. The company operates a fleet of modern diesel-electric locomotives, and all of its trains are equipped with large panoramic windows to give passengers the best possible views. Tickets can be booked online or through a travel agent.
The train also offers service between Vancouver and Toronto, making it a convenient way to see both cities. The Rocky Mountaineer website offers various tickets and packages, so it’s easy to find a trip that suits your needs. The website also has a helpful FAQ section that can answer any questions you may have about the trip. If you’re looking for an unforgettable way to see the Canadian Rockies, the Rocky Mountaineer is worth checking out.

Amtrak – America’s national passenger railroad

Amtrak is the United States’ national passenger railroad, providing service to over 500 destinations. Amtrak operates a fleet of over 300 trains, including long-distance routes that span several states and regional services that connect smaller cities and towns. Whether you’re looking to travel across the country or take a short day trip, Amtrak has the right train for you. Tickets can be booked online or through a travel agent.
You do NOT need a visa to travel to Canada by train if you come from the US. All you need is a valid passport. If you are coming from another country, please check the requirements for your specific nationality. For example, citizens of Mexico will need a visa to enter Canada.

What else do I need to know about train travels in Canada?

  • When booking your train ticket, you will be asked to select a class of service. Economy class is the most basic and affordable option, while business class offers more comfortable seating and additional amenities. First-class is the top-tier option and includes access to exclusive lounges and other perks. No matter which class you choose, you’re sure to have a comfortable and enjoyable journey on the Canadian rail network.
  • So there you have it! A comprehensive guide to Canada’s rail network. Whether you’re looking to travel for business or pleasure, the Canadian rail network has the right train for you. And with convenient online booking, it’s easy to get started on your next adventure. Bon, voyage!
  • Finally, if you’re looking to explore Canada by rail, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, make sure you have a valid passport. Second, familiarize yourself with the different railway companies and routes in Canada. And third, book your tickets early to get the best possible price. You can have an unforgettable Canadian rail adventure with a little planning and research.