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VIA Rail’s Train Travel Tips

By Sarah Binns

Read time: 3 minutes

Whether it’s your first time taking the train or you’re a seasoned expert, here are some train travel tips to get the most out of your adventure.

Booking Your Train

RS5839_Simon Sees Fall 2016-362Anytime you’re booking travel, even on the train, it’s best to book in advance.  You’ll often get the best availability and lowest fares when booking early.  If you want to ensure you have flexibility with your travel times, consider booking an Economy Plus ticket, which is fully refundable and can be easily exchanged with no service charge. There are some last-minute deals available every week on Discount Tuesday for travel the following week.

Are you a frequent VIA Rail traveller? Create a profile on for faster booking and to make sure you never miss a Discount Tuesday email.  While you’re at it, sign up for VIA Préférence, our membership program, to start earning points towards free train trips.

Before the Trip

Before you head to the station, check your train’s status online, or sign up for SMS alerts to be notified by text message of service disruptions or if your train is delayed.  You can save time at the station and bypass the ticket counter by printing your boarding pass at home before you leave, or displaying it on your smartphone.

We ask that you arrive at the station half an hour before departure for travel within the Corridor, and one hour before departure for long haul trains.

What to Pack: Short Trips

IMG_1567Wi-Fi is available on all trains within the Québec City – Windsor corridor so you can stay connected by answering emails and browsing the web.  You can bring your own food on the train, however there are also snacks, meals, and beverages available to purchase on board.

What to Pack: Overnight Trips

IMG_1008Packing for one of our long distance trains, like the Canadian, the Ocean, or the Winnipeg-Churchill train, is a little different. When you’re going to be spending more than 24 hours on the train, there are certain essentials you won’t want to be without.

Wi-Fi is only available on the Ocean (between Halifax and Montreal), so make sure to pack some non-electronic reading materials when travelling on the Canadian or a regional service train.  There will be power outlets available on board to charge eReaders or tablets.

We highly recommend packing your camera to capture the breathtaking views, and a spare battery or charger so you never miss the perfect shot.

In addition to your regular footwear, it’s a good idea to pack slippers for moving around at night and flip flops for the shower.

If you’re travelling in Economy class, you’ll need to bring your own pillow and blanket, or purchase them on board.  Earplugs are also recommended.  You can bring your own food on the train (as meals are not included in Economy class), however there are also snacks, meals, and beverages available to purchase on board with cash or credit.

If you’re travelling with kids, ask an agent on board for the kids activity book.

Want to know when it’s time for your stop? Follow your train in real time here.

We look forward to seeing you on board soon!


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