Amtrak vs Via Rail Toronto to Vancouver

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caravanman

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Fare Information


FAREG.S.T/H.S.T.P.S.T.TOTAL
$514.25$66.85$0.00$581.10
PAYMENT - authorization #

ITINERARYFARE PLANREFUND/EXCHANGE CONDITIONS
TORONTO to VANCOUVEREXPRESS DEALSNon-exchangeable and non-refundable.


Gosh fares have leapt up, that is my discounted ticket for a solo cabin for 1 back in May, 2011.
 
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fdaley

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I know that used to be the case and I have benefited from it in the past. I'm not sure how it would work with their current system, so would likely require an agent's advice - if still possible at all. Since the Canadian reappeared in the inventory I've done a number of trial bookings and can't see how the "sum of the parts" would not greatly exceed a full-length trip.
The sum of the parts is definitely a lot more. With an agent's help we were able to book at the Toronto-Vancouver fare, with stopovers, in 2014 and 2016. We tried in 2019, but couldn't get space at the discounted fare on the previous or following departures, though in theory the no-charge stopover was still offered.
 

zephyr17

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For anyone interested, here are some sample fares for travel out of Toronto in late October (shoulder season) for 2 Seniors in a bedroom:
Winnipeg - $2100
Saskatoon - $2300
Edmonton - $2500
Vancouver - $4000

All are discounted (low-bucket) numbers in CAD rounded to closest $100. Interestingly on the same date Prestige Class is available either Toronto - Winnipeg or Toronto - Vancouver, but not the intervening cities. The latter is a whopping $10K.😲
Note that October is still shoulder season pricing, which is nearly as expensive as peak. Off peak pricing starts November 1st. That should drop the 2 adult price to about 3600 CAD.

4 nights in an Amtrak bedroom would probably be comparable.
 

Seaboard92

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The upper berth at times is the best deal in travel. I have gotten it for 400 CAD once for the whole distance of Vancouver-Toronto which includes so many good meals. I find it the easiest bed to sleep in as it gets completely dark. Which has led to me joking and calling it the coffin bed. As it's literally like a coffin dark and easy to sleep. I always struggle with waking up in the morning in time for breakfast or scenery.
 

NS VIA Fan

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The upper berth at times is the best deal in travel. I have gotten it for 400 CAD once for the whole distance of Vancouver-Toronto which includes so many good meals........

To each his own!!....I just wouldn't consider an upper even at a great fare. If I wake up I have to see where we're at and besides it's nice to be able to just lie back in bed and watch the scenery......perhaps on a moon lit night after a fresh snow fall!
 

Palmetto

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I've done both roomette and lower berth on VIA. The bed in the berth was superior to that in the roomette. The one big drawback I encountered in the section was that there was no electrical outlet to charge anything. Maybe that has changed.
 

fdaley

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As to the original discussion in this thread, you could actually get from Toronto to Vancouver faster (pre-pandemic) by taking the Empire Builder and Cascades, especially if you used a bus/taxi/limo between VIA at Windsor and Amtrak in Detroit. It likely would cost less, and the trains run every day. But the Canadian is a much better train and onboard experience, well worth the extra time and money.
 

crescent-zephyr

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i haven’t ridden since the prestige class - maybe @Seaboard92 and others who have ridden before and after can say how much of a difference it really is?

It just doesn’t sound as fun with certain seats blocked off, and less convenient access to the park car. But maybe I’m overthinking it.
 

fdaley

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i haven’t ridden since the prestige class - maybe @Seaboard92 and others who have ridden before and after can say how much of a difference it really is?

It just doesn’t sound as fun with certain seats blocked off, and less convenient access to the park car. But maybe I’m overthinking it.
All of my trips since the advent of Prestige Class have been in the off-season (February). Initially there was no restriction on access for passengers in the regular sleeper class, though on my most recent trip, in 2019, the first two rows of seats in the Park car dome had bands saying they were reserved for prestige travelers. Otherwise we had full use of the Park car. VIA has also added a Skyline car ahead of the prestige cars and the diner, and the dome there is open to all sleeper passengers. Plus there's a third dome near the front that's open to coach travelers, though the staff was discouraging us from using that on our last trip.

The remake of the prestige cars, including the Park car, is really impressive, and overall the atmosphere is a bit more festive for everyone. I was afraid some of the prestige folks might be frowning at sharing space with us ordinary mortals, but in fact they were all having a great time, and we shared some good conversations.
 

crescent-zephyr

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All of my trips since the advent of Prestige Class have been in the off-season (February). Initially there was no restriction on access for passengers in the regular sleeper class, though on my most recent trip, in 2019, the first two rows of seats in the Park car dome had bands saying they were reserved for prestige travelers. Otherwise we had full use of the Park car. VIA has also added a Skyline car ahead of the prestige cars and the diner, and the dome there is open to all sleeper passengers. Plus there's a third dome near the front that's open to coach travelers, though the staff was discouraging us from using that on our last trip.

The remake of the prestige cars, including the Park car, is really impressive, and overall the atmosphere is a bit more festive for everyone. I was afraid some of the prestige folks might be frowning at sharing space with us ordinary mortals, but in fact they were all having a great time, and we shared some good conversations.
That’s good to know. So even in off season there is now a second dome just for sleeping car passengers? That’s good.

When I rode I spent a decent amount of time in the “Coach” dome since that was closest to the front of the train.

Sounds like I don’t have much to worry about then... yes I was afraid the atmosphere of the park car wouldn’t be the same!
 

zephyr17

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I've taken 3 off season trips since Prestige started. It really hasn't impacted my enjoyment of the train. The first few rows in the Park dome are reserved. How many depends on the Prestige passenger load. Been on trips where it was only the first row, another when it was the first 3. There's always the Skyline, too. The Bullet Lounge has no restrictions, btw.

It isn't a big deal in the off season.
 

OBS

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I've taken 3 off season trips since Prestige started. It really hasn't impacted my enjoyment of the train. The first few rows in the Park dome are reserved. How many depends on the Prestige passenger load. Been on trips where it was only the first row, another when it was the first 3. There's always the Skyline, too. The Bullet Lounge has no restrictions, btw.

It isn't a big deal in the off season.
This mirrors my experience as well.
 

Seaboard92

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i haven’t ridden since the prestige class - maybe @Seaboard92 and others who have ridden before and after can say how much of a difference it really is?

It just doesn’t sound as fun with certain seats blocked off, and less convenient access to the park car. But maybe I’m overthinking it.

I've only done the trip since they did the Prestige roll out however I can somewhat compare to the Parks on the Ocean. Me personally I don't like that they have marked most of the seats out in the dome. My most recent trip there were only two seats (one pair) available for non prestige passengers. Now I sat in the prestige seats in the middle of the night and no one seamed to really care. But that's partly because it was the middle of the night no one wanted to be up there.

My first trip across Canada VCVR-TRTO I only went back to the Park car once because the clientele I found was super rude. I remember when I got to go back the first time hearing this remark about me, "Looks like they let the riff raff in" and I was immediately mad and left. It wasn't worth the argument with them. By leaving I demonstrated I have more class than to go into an argument in my opinion. The second trip I made on the Canadian VCVR-WNPG I went back with my friends from the regular sleeper right before Edmonton and no one made snide remarks. And one of the fellows a retired Space Engineer (Literally when they say you have to work for NASA to understand something he did) was really nice and invited me to spend as much time in Prestige as I wanted. I didn't because I really liked my misfit group I was in with the normal crowd. Namely Australians and Canadians.

Now the Prestige passengers eat always in Diner B so if that is your diner you will get to mingle with them. In addition diner B will be the updated interiors when those get back into service soon. Me personally I like being in the B section of the train I always find the personality better on the rear end. But that could just be because I'm a people person and I put them at ease.
 

zephyr17

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Well, in my off season trips there has only been one diner and there were usually at least 3 rows in the Park dome that weren't marked off. Didn't catch any attitude from the Prestige pax and a quite a few Sleeper Plus pax were usually back there, in the dome, bar, and Bullet Lounge.

If there were 2 diners, that must have been more in shoulder season. Most times I've taken in the off season there have only been 4 or 5 Manors, and one Prestige Chateau, so they were only running one diner.
 

Seaboard92

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I mean I would still argue you could run a far better service to western Canada if you would shorten the consist. When you think they are running 9 to 12 sleeper lines per trainset that is insane. You could easily run with 4 per trainset and you would have enough sets to cover the route in daylight. You also wouldn't have to assign two diners to the train. Skylines become a bit of a problem I believe but I would have to play with the numbers.
 

railiner

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I've only done the trip since they did the Prestige roll out however I can somewhat compare to the Parks on the Ocean. Me personally I don't like that they have marked most of the seats out in the dome. My most recent trip there were only two seats (one pair) available for non prestige passengers. Now I sat in the prestige seats in the middle of the night and no one seamed to really care. But that's partly because it was the middle of the night no one wanted to be up there.

My first trip across Canada VCVR-TRTO I only went back to the Park car once because the clientele I found was super rude. I remember when I got to go back the first time hearing this remark about me, "Looks like they let the riff raff in" and I was immediately mad and left. It wasn't worth the argument with them. By leaving I demonstrated I have more class than to go into an argument in my opinion. The second trip I made on the Canadian VCVR-WNPG I went back with my friends from the regular sleeper right before Edmonton and no one made snide remarks. And one of the fellows a retired Space Engineer (Literally when they say you have to work for NASA to understand something he did) was really nice and invited me to spend as much time in Prestige as I wanted. I didn't because I really liked my misfit group I was in with the normal crowd. Namely Australians and Canadians.

Now the Prestige passengers eat always in Diner B so if that is your diner you will get to mingle with them. In addition diner B will be the updated interiors when those get back into service soon. Me personally I like being in the B section of the train I always find the personality better on the rear end. But that could just be because I'm a people person and I put them at ease.
I like to sit in the "railfans's seat", the front row of a dome car, so if I was restricted from using it, it would spoil the trip somewhat for me. On the other hand, if I had paid the very high Prestige fare, it would annoy me if those not paying the same, took my 'reserved space' away from me. I liked the Alaska RR "Gold Star Service", where every seat was in the full-length ultra-dome, and you could reserve a specific seat, on a first come-first served basis....:cool:
 

Seaboard92

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I like to sit in the "railfans's seat", the front row of a dome car, so if I was restricted from using it, it would spoil the trip somewhat for me. On the other hand, if I had paid the very high Prestige fare, it would annoy me if those not paying the same, took my 'reserved space' away from me. I liked the Alaska RR "Gold Star Service", where every seat was in the full-length ultra-dome, and you could reserve a specific seat, on a first come-first served basis....:cool:
Its funny for me I would prefer the regular vista domes that the Alaska Railroad has. I prefer the classics. But I wouldn't really use the dome as they have open vestibules which I would probably enjoy more.
 

railiner

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Its funny for me I would prefer the regular vista domes that the Alaska Railroad has. I prefer the classics. But I wouldn't really use the dome as they have open vestibules which I would probably enjoy more.
I love the regular vista-domes better than the older full length domes, but the Ultra Domes 'have it all'....you can reserve a specific dome seat, and if you are early enough, snag the front ones. They are so high, that you can actually look over the top of an older dome car. They also have the open sided observation platforms in the upper rear, and have their own galley and dining room on the lower level, with an ADA lift between levels. The original paired Ultra Domes operated by Princess Tours even had a 'gift shop' selling sundries, snacks, and souvenirs on board... :cool:
 

zephyr17

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I mean I would still argue you could run a far better service to western Canada if you would shorten the consist. When you think they are running 9 to 12 sleeper lines per trainset that is insane. You could easily run with 4 per trainset and you would have enough sets to cover the route in daylight. You also wouldn't have to assign two diners to the train. Skylines become a bit of a problem I believe but I would have to play with the numbers.
That is one of the reason I like the off season. The off season consists I have been on have been 4 or 5 Manors. I understand minimum consist is 3 Manors. So consists I have been have been 12-13 cars (baggage, coach, Skyline, 4 or 5 Manors, Skyline, Diner, crew Chateau, Prestige Chateau, Prestige Park). That feels like a normal train. The 25-26 car monsters of the summer do not.

And, as I said, the vibe is much more low key.
 

railiner

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I love the regular vista-domes better than the older full length domes, but the Ultra Domes 'have it all'....you can reserve a specific dome seat, and if you are early enough, snag the front ones. They are so high, that you can actually look over the top of an older dome car. They also have the open sided observation platforms in the upper rear, and have their own galley and dining room on the lower level, with an ADA lift between levels. The original paired Ultra Domes operated by Princess Tours even had a 'gift shop' selling sundries, snacks, and souvenirs on board... :cool:
Just went thru some scans of old photos I took on my ride in the Princess Ultra-domes, back in 1991.
Not great photos, but you can get an idea of how much higher they were than the Holland America former Big Domes ahead of them on the AuRoRa. HAL replaced those with Ultra-domes since then...
57D0106E-80B2-490A-B5AC-F82474CC5AD6.jpegA5902082-22FD-476C-BED2-81D62C056A10.jpeg
 
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