Vancouver Getaway: Trains & Tikis part 1

March 1, 2011

My dear friends Michael & Marlena and I went to Vancouver a few weeks ago to get away from this for a while:

We got a great express fare from VIA Rail for the trip there (unfortunately we couldn’t get the same great deal on the way back).

Train #1, “The Canadian” in Jasper Alberta. The Park Car at the end of the train has a bar, a lounge area with complimentary snacks, and a panoramic dome.

I was thrilled when Marlena suggested it because I used to love to take the train back in the day (the 70s and 80s) but I figured I couldn’t afford it anymore. In Western Canada, intercity train travel has become a tourist service – mostly patronized by retirees who have the time and the money for a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip. The express fares made the trip quite reasonable – they’re about a quarter of the full price, and in Sleeper Touring class they include all your meals! I paid $207 (plus gst) for a lower berth from Edmonton to Vancouver.

Dining Car

Etched glass panel

Brunch: Potato pancakes with smoked salmon

Dinner: Rack of lamb with blueberry balsamic sauce

I know I sound like a shill for VIA Rail, but they didn’t pay me – I just love the train.

My lower berth in the daytime

It’s the antithesis of flying (I don’t fly, but I’ve been told): Comfy and relaxing, good food (cooked on board), friendly service, lots of room to stretch and walk around, you can take lots of luggage, there’s no invasive body searches, and on and on.

Marlena & Michael’s cabin for two

Michael snoozes in the dome car. That awesome Crown Royal sweater used to belong to a Seagram’s sales rep.

Marlena also has a funky vintage sweater – it celebrates Alberta’s Golden Anniversary in 1955 (50 years as a Canadian province). Most likely hand knit from a pattern.

When we got back on the train after the stop in Jasper there was free champagne and hors d’oeuvres in the park car. Swank! Later that night there was also a complimentary tasting of several local beers.

Cabin for two made up for bed

Lower berth: Chocolates and souvenir postcards.

If you have the time (the trip from Edmonton to Vancouver is about 26 hours), I highly recommend you take the train.

Next: Waldorf!


4 Responses to “Vancouver Getaway: Trains & Tikis part 1”

  1. That looks like a really fun trip!

    I’ve never traveled overnight by train, but you are right, it does seem a little more comfortable than flying (except for first class on international flights, which I can’t really afford!)

    The food looks delicious, too!

  2. Tracy Z Says:

    I really prefer train travel to planes too, but it’s far too expensive in Canada. Although I do want to try training across Canada one day – the scenery would be amazing!

    I hope you enjoyed my hometown of Vancouver! =)

  3. stinky Says:

    An outstanding trip report !

    It appears to have been worth a $million$ memories.

    Thanks for the pics on the blog.


  4. elicia tamburine Says:

    that looks wonderful!!

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