North American travel relies less on train transportation than most other continents. A lot European backpackers use trains exclusively to hop country-to-country, whereas North American tourists seem to favour road trips and flights. Road tripping makes sense here in Canada, but it misses a lot of the history available through the railroad system.
Touring Canada or the US by train takes you on a meandering journey through these nations’ backwoods, mountains and inner cities. This journey follows a path over a century old, tapping into a sense of heritage and nostalgia that can be quite exciting. Although somewhat slower, less direct than planes, the train also provides overnight opportunities for saving on accommodations and avoids the congestion found on city roads.
Compared to a vehicle—car or coach—trains boast superior comfort. They beat airplanes, too, offering greater leg room, walking space, amenities and stability. The track keeps the cars from experiencing sudden turbulence, allowing them to operate in the severest of conditions. Forget about the cancellations and delays that most other transportation modes are susceptible to.
Canada’s interprovincial railway, Via Rail, runs 475 trains weekly across a 12,500km of track. The company mandates that at least 50 of said trains travel to remote rural areas, improving transit conditions in otherwise detached communities. This is one policy that connects more than 400 communities from coast-to-coast.
Unlike airfare, train fare remains constant throughout the year. Especially for popular routes, the fare is always predictable and, in some cases, adjustable. If you purchase far enough in advance, there are ways to capitalize on buying incentives. Likewise, most train networks sell passes for regular commuters, making it an economical choice for frequent travellers.