Tour Date: 1 to 13 May 2024Location: Canada and USA

Via Rail Canada’s Canadian has the longest run of Budd built streamliner passenger cars in the World at 4,466 km (2,775 miles). It is the 2nd longest run in the world.

This train inherited its name from a previous service operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway, which ran from Toronto to Vancouver. The current route is largely that used by the Canadian National Railway. From the bustle of Toronto to the majesty of the Rockies and the serene West Coast, The VIA Rail Canadian train gives you a rare opportunity to see Canada’s diverse scenery in one amazing trip.

The Canadian provides an epic trans-continental journey which can be divided geographically (and scenically) into 3 distinct parts:  (1)  The lakes, fir trees and rocky outcrops of the great Canadian Shield from Toronto to Winnipeg, (2)  the rolling Prairies from Winnipeg to Jasper, and (3) the Rockies from Jasper to Vancouver. 

The Canadian operates using an assortment of cars used on the original Canadian and cars of the same era purchased from US railways. The cars, mostly built in the 1950s, have been rebuilt several times and while quaint, are functional and have been modernized to a limited degree. During the summer months, when demand is higher, the train will be longer than 20 cars. While the train is dominated by tourists, especially in the summer, one of its purposes is to provide transportation services to the remote communities between Capreol and Winnipeg, and thus it makes many stops in remote places along the line.

The Canadian spans Canada from Toronto to the Pacific, an epic trans-continental journey which can be divided geographically (and scenically) into 3 distinct parts:  (1)  The lakes, fir trees and rocky outcrops of the great Canadian Shield from Toronto to Winnipeg, (2)  the rolling Prairies from Winnipeg to Jasper, and (3) the Rockies from Jasper to Vancouver.  I’ve seen some Tripadvisor posts claim you should fly to Jasper and just do the Rockies – a completely mistaken view, as every part of this epic train ride has it’s own scenic and historical interest.  Indeed, I sometimes think that I like the two day journey across the Shield almost as much as the day through the Rockies, perhaps because no-one tells you how lovely the Shield is before you go.  Well, I’m telling you now.  And as you’ll read below, the most jaw-dropping part of the Rockies experience was approaching Jasper from the east, an experience you won’t get if you only travel from Jasper westwards.

VIA Rail Canada is looking to replace the passenger equipment on its long-distance and regional trains. Last month, the railroad issued a “Notice of Market Consultation” to seek potential builders of new cars for trains outside its main corridor between Windsor, Ont., and Quebec City. 

VIA has been investing heavily in updating its corridor trains with new locomotives and cars from Siemens, but the long-distance network is still using decades-old stainless steel cars built in the 1950s The “Notice of Market Consultation” would help gauge the interest of potential builders. The request comes as VIA works hard to keep what it has going. Yes, the classic Budd Built streamliner cars from the 1950’s is on short time before retirement. This could be your last opportunity to ride on these cars.

Please note: The PTG Tours group are travelling as part of the Trains and Travels International (California) tour.

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Tour Highlights


  • Private charter train
  • Machu Piccu
  • Rare line not usually accessible to passengers
  • Lake Titicaca boat cruise
  • Full day onboard the luxurious "Titicaca Train"
  • Some of the most scenic views in the World
  • Photo Run Bys
  • Tour Itinerary
  • Prices & Options
  • Booking
  • Gallery
  • Transport & Accommodation

VIA rail 2048x819

Day 0 Wednesday 1 May, 2024

Various flight options from the UK to JFK New York. Direct from Heathrow (13:20 with BA or 12:55 with Virgin), Gatwick (12:50 with Norse Atlantic), Manchester (14:30 with Air Lingus) or Edinburgh (13:35 with Virgin). From Birmingham via Dublin (12:20 with Air Lingus). Overnight in Hampton Inn Madison Square Garden.

Day 1 Thursday 2 May (B)

Meet our guide at Penn Station in New York City prior to boarding Amtrak train No. 69 the Adirondack departing at 8:40am. The Adirondack travels from New York City, through the lush wine country of the Hudson Valley, into Montreal. Departing New York City you travel back in time as you pass dramatic geological features with origins 200 million years old. Feature attractions between the bombast of Broadway and the charm of Old Montréal include the magnificent Palisades; the Adirondack Mountains; the ruins of world famous Bannerman’s Castle; the iconic Academy at West Point; the gateway to Catskill Mountain resorts; and the Hudson River Valley that inspired an entire artistic genre with its visual jewel, Lake Champlain. Living history from your train window conjures images of Benedict Arnold delaying the British Fleet at the south end of the lake to prevent the fall of Fort Ticonderoga – an overlooked feat for which he is less remembered than for his infamous reputation as a turncoat. From your lookout for reputed lake monster “Champ” to the visual combination of history and modernity that defines

Montréal, the Adirondack serves up a kaleidoscope of scenes upon which you will reflect for some time to come. So relax and enjoy this unique 381-mile view of eastern New York and Québec from your picture window arriving in Montreal at 8:16pm. The Adirondack is the modern descendent of a service that originally carried the colors of the Delaware and Hudson Railway (D&H), which had its beginnings in the early 1820s as a canal company organized to transport coal from Pennsylvania to New York City. Now defunct, it once called itself “America’s oldest continually operating transportation company.” After Amtrak took over passenger operations in 1971, D&H inaugurated, in 1974, its New York-Montréal service under a funding agreement with Amtrak and the State of New York. Using rebuilt ALCO locomotives and refurbished 1950s passenger cars, this “streamliner” revival delighted fans in the Empire State. There is a Amfleet Dinette car on the train offering sandwiches, snacks and beverages.

Day 2 Friday 3 May (B,D)

In the morning we visit the Montreal Exporail Canadian Railway Museum. which contains more than 150 historic vehicles, ranging from locomotives, steam engines, old Montréal streetcars and passenger cars to snow plows. It’s widely acknowledged as one of North America’s most outstanding collections. Then rest of the day free for you to explore Montreal. Welcome to Canada dinner in the evening.

Canada, Quebec, Montreal, Delson, Canadian Railway Museum, Exporail, elevated view
Canadian Railway Museum

Day 3 Saturday 4 May (B,L)

Depart Montreal onboard Via Rail train No. 63 in Business Class at 8:50am arriving Toronto at 2:18pm. Our fast train will travel 335 miles in just 5 hours and 28 minutes. After arrival we visit the Toronto Railway Museum prior to hotel check-in.

Day 4 Sunday 5 May (B,L,D)

Depart Toronto onboard train No. 1 The Canadian in Sleeper Plus Class at 9:55am. From just west of Toronto the train traverses the Great Canadian Shield, a sparsely-populated area of lakes and forests interspersed with outcrops of igneous rock.

'The Canadian' train at Vancouver station
‘The Canadian’ Train

Day 5 Monday 6 May (B,L,D)

Relax and enjoy the scenery and food as we travel on from Sudbury to Sioux Lookout, Ontario.

Day 6 Tuesday 7 May (B,L,D)

Winnipeg, Manitoba to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Passengers are given three hours to explore Winnipeg as the train is serviced and restocked. Via Rail offers a bus tour of the city if you prefer.

Day 7 Wednesday 8 May (B,L,D)

Edmonton, Alberta to Kamloops, British Columbia. Passengers are given some time to explore Jasper.

Passenger getting off the Canadian Via Rail train in Jasper, Alberta
Passenger getting off the Canadian Via Rail train in Jasper, Alberta

Day 8 Thursday 9 May (B,L,D)

8:00am arrival at Vancouver, British Columbia. Vancouver area tour. Skytrain, Stanley Park, and Capilano Suspension Bridge. Hotel check-in North Vancouver. We will also go up to the top of Grouse Mountain. Rising 1,250 metres (4,100 feet) above Vancouver and just 15 minutes from the city’s downtown core, is the vast alpine playground of Grouse Mountain.  The iconic Red Skyride gives visitors and locals alike the opportunity to see the jaw-dropping majestic nature of B.C. unfold in front of them during the 8 minute ride from the Valley Station to the summit. As Vancouver’s most popular attraction, Grouse Mountain is the only truly four-season destination in the lower mainland and features a wildlife refu

Day 9 Friday 10 May (B,L,D)

Today we will go north of Vancouver for 40 miles to the town of Squamish to visit the Squamish Railway Museum. After our museum visit then we will pay a visit to the near-by Britannia Mine Museum. This was a functioning mine from 1904 until 1974. Ore was first discovered here in 1888. At one point, more than 60,000 people lived nearby and worked in what was once the largest copper mine in the former British Empire. Over seven decades, workers extracted more than 50 million tons of ore that produced copper, zinc, lead, cadmium, silver, and gold.

Train with a Caboose as the last rail car at Squamish Museum Station near Vancouver
Train with a Caboose as the last rail car at Squamish Museum Station near Vancouver

Day 10 Saturday 11 May (B)

Today we take the morning BC Ferry from Vancouver over to Vancouver Island. One of the fabulous Canadian travel experiences is to ride the BC Ferry across the Strait of Georgia, the body of water that separates Vancouver from Vancouver Island, 24 nautical miles away. The trip from the ferry terminal at Tsawwassen (15 miles south of Vancouver) to the terminal at Swartz Bay – on Vancouver Island (17 miles north of Victoria) – is a spectacularly scenic and enjoyable 90 minutes that winds through the Southern Gulf Islands as it nears Victoria. We will visit Victoria, the charming capital city of British Columbia, Canada. This is one of the most picturesque cities on the Pacific Coast. Hosting the mildest climate in Canada, this fair weather city has many things to do year-round within walking distance of the downtown area, which straddles the Victoria harbor. One of the oldest cities in the northwest, Victoria has many charming brick buildings, colourful gardens and fantastic culinary experiences from all over the world. Being on the coast, seafood is both prevalent and incredibly fresh.

Beautiful,View,Of,Inner,Harbour,Of,Victoria,,Vancouver,Island,,B.c.,
View of the Inner Harbour of Victoria, Vancouver Island

The harbor-front walkway hosts local artists and draws crowds to watch the talented street entertainers perform during the afternoon and evening. Night time casts a magical glow as the water and walkway are lit up by the 3,300+ lightbulbs that adorn BC Parliament Buildings. We will also visit Butchart Gardens National Historic Site of Canada which is an internationally-known public attraction that has been open to visitors since 1904. It is located on the Saanich Peninsula. The gardens provide dramatic floral displays in a variety of garden settings and styles set against a backdrop of mature trees and shrubs and linked together by a network of paths and transition areas.

Lawn,And,Flower,Beds,In,The,Spring,With,Lush,Colors,

Day 11 Sunday 12 May (B)

Mid-day BC Ferry cruise back to the mainland. Fly back to UK today, or option to transfer to the train station to catch Amtrak’s Cascade passenger train departing Vancouver at 4:45pm and arriving Seattle at 9:10pm in Business Class. Upon arrival in Seattle and transfer to your hotel for the night.

Day 12 Monday 13 May (B)

Free time in Seattle before private transfer to the airport for flights back to the UK.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 22 MEALS
  • FULLY ESCORTED
  • BC FERRY TICKETS
  • GROUSE MOUNTAIN
  • BUTCHART GARDENS
  • 3 RAILROAD MUSEUMS
  • CITY TOUR OF VANCOUVER
  • SLEEPER CLASS ON THE CANADIAN
  • BUSINESS CLASS ON AMTRAK’S CASCADE
  • BUSINESS CLASS ON VIA RAIL’S MONTREAL-TORONTO TRAIN

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Prices (per person) joining at Penn Station on morning of 2nd May

  • Double/twin room occupancy at hotels and cabin for 2 on the Canadian: £4,675
  • Single room at hotels and upper berth on the Canadian: £4,425
  • Single room at hotels and lower berth on the Canadian: £4,600

Supplements

  • Return flights: from around £690
  • Pre-tour night of 1st May in Hampton Inn Madison Square Garden: £295 per room with breakfast
  • Single use cabin on the Canadian: £720
  • End trip with Amtrak to Seattle for night in hotel: £180 (double/twin), £320 (single use)

Deposits

  • £1,000 plus flight costs

Price includes

  • All tours and activities, entrance fees, as indicated in the program
  • Meals as indicated as B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner in the program
  • Services of our tour manager. (from New York)

Not included

  • Visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Anything which is not mentioned in the program

Online Booking

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