Canadian New Years Eve…what can I expect?

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ScottR

Train Attendant
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
53
Location
Monterey
I have always wanted to take the Canadian…and I love the snow. So I have a trip booked Vancouver to Winnipeg leaving New Years Eve 3.00pm Fri and arriving Winnipeg 10.00pm Jan 2 Sun. Wish I could go to Toronto but haven’t the time. I’m an American flying SFO to Vancouver Dec 30 and back from Winnipeg Jan 3.

Do you think I’ll see snow?
Do you think they will have the great food and the dining car the Canadian shows on the website?
will there be a Park car…an observation car? Both are shuttered now forCovid but back Oct 16th according to the website? That isn’t clear.

I’m vaxxed and prob boostered by Jan etc….


just wondering if there is any chance I might get the full experience…I’m in 210 unit 3 sleeper Train 2 btw so how is that going to be?
 

joelkfla

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
936
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12 miles from Walt Disney World
Do you think I’ll see snow?
Well, yeah -- unless global warming's a lot worse than we think!

There's usually an extended stop at Jasper. You might be able to get off and walk around the village for a bit. But check with a crew member to make sure you have enough time. Dress warm and wear some good boots; the sidewalks are very icy.

Climate | Jasper, AB - Official Website (jasper-alberta.com)

I did the same 4 years ago, but it was at the end of January and I stayed on all the way to Toronto. I flew into Vancouver a few days early, and took the bus on a day trip to Whistler ski resort, even though I don't ski, just to enjoy the snowy atmosphere and ride the gondola lifts.

It's too early to know what the COVID situation will be 5 months from now, but I hope you get the full experience. I spent most of my time in the dome cars. And the food was great.
 

Cal

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Do you think they will have the great food and the dining car the Canadian shows on the website?
will there be a Park car…an observation car? Both are shuttered now forCovid but back Oct 16th according to the website? That isn’t clear.
Honestly theres no way of knowing, but personally I wouldn't bet on it, to be honest. I hope everything goes well, however.
 

joelkfla

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
936
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
Forgot to mention: Did you sign up for the VIA Preference rewards program? If you didn't, you can still sign up and get credit for the trip if it's within 30 days of booking. You only need $1,000 spend to qualify for the 2nd level membership, which will get you coupons good for discounts or extra points towards a trip next year. You may not be planning anything, but you never know, and it costs nothing to join.

When I went to the website to check my tickets a couple of weeks before my trip, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had been upgraded from a cabin for 1 to a cabin for 2. When I mentioned the upgrade to my sleeping car attendant, he said my signing up for Preference probably contributed to being selected.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
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Jul 22, 2009
Messages
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Washington State
Thanks I “think“ I signed up…and this trip is about 1100…
Well, make sure before your trip so you get credit. If you were signed before or with your ticket, you VIA Preference number is partly displayed on your confirmation and your boarding pass. If it isn't, call them up and get it attached.

The 50% off coupon you get with Privilege status (> 999 CAD VIA spend) is gold. I booked a Vancouver-Toronto-Vancouver round trip in a roomette for $1859 USD for next spring using it.
 

pennyk

50 year Amtrak Rider
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Do you think I’ll see snow?
I traveled from Toronto to Vancouver in early December 2011. I saw more snow than I had ever previously seen. It was beautiful (from the perspective of a lifelong Floridian). It was -15F in Winnipeg when we arrived. I stayed outside as long as I could stand it. It was the coldest temperature I had ever experienced.
 

ScottR

Train Attendant
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
53
Location
Monterey
Well I decided after realizing I needed a neg Covid test to get back into the US that getting into Winnipeg late night and flying back to SFO in the early morning wasn’t such a good idea with all the stress of getting even a rapid test would cause.

so I extended to Toronto for a couple of hundred extra (really less than I was expecting) and booked a night at the Fairmont (looks beautiful) and an instant 15 minute test at the airport. Thankfully the US will take the antigen test and doesn’t require the PCR like Canada Because holy heck getting one of those with a guaranteed turnaround of 24 - 48 hrs isn’t cheap (I’m too afraid to do a mail in one…I just know it will get lost)

so much looking forward to this. I must say the customer service was so far on point. A quick call, answers within a minute, looked at my booking, said it would cost another 1000$ but wait, let’s see what cancelling and rebook will do, so just another 300$. Friendly and helpful.

and I understand the Park car and ALL meals in the diner will be open. Can someone in the know confirm this? And isthe Park Car is restricted until 2.00pm unless you are in a certain class?

I am in a cabin for 1 discounted which from my understanding is like a super liner roomette without the upper bunk….and has a toilet. Not a fan of that in the room but as long as it doesn’t smell I’ll just use it as a footrest.

any tips for first timers? I love Canada, have cousins in Calgary and have been to the stampede, and am So looking forward to a snowy trip (I depart New Years Eve) as I imagine traveling through snow on a train must be magical.

lots of travels on Amtrak but first time on Via…
 

fdaley

Lead Service Attendant
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Jan 25, 2020
Messages
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Pre-Covid there was no restriction on access to the Park Car in the winter months, except that some seats near the front of the dome may be reserved for Prestige Class customers. However, there usually is another dome car available to ordinary mortal (Sleeper Plus class) sleeper passengers, and a third for coach travelers.

Going all the way from Vancouver to Toronto, I'm sure you'll see plenty of snow. It's a great train and a wonderful ride; to me, it's the best long-distance train experience left in North America. It's also notorious for extreme delays from CN freight traffic, so make sure you have a day's buffer at the end of the trip before you have to be on any other mode of transport.
 

danasgoodstuff

Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 23, 2021
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PDX
It was -15F in Winnipeg when we arrived.
At New Years it could easily be much colder, or not - temps on the Prairies can vary widely and rapidly. And if it gets much below -20 F nothing runs right and the train tends to be late anyway, so you could be way late. I grew up in Saskatchewan, that kind of cold is literally a breathtaking experience. But it can also be very beautiful in the few hours of daylight. Maybe you'll get sundogs during the day and/or northern lights at night. When I took the train home to SK at Xmas in the '70s it was often well below freezing between cars.
 

west point

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Jun 9, 2015
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I have been in Calgary in the winter more than once. Twice the temperature was -40 . And for those of you that wonder that number is both F and C . But of course in summer the stampede was fun.
 

joelkfla

OBS Chief
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Messages
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12 miles from Walt Disney World
And if it gets much below -20 F nothing runs right and the train tends to be late anyway, so you could be way late.
So true! On my trip, the crew said one of our many delays was because it got so cold that a rail broke. We were scheduled to arrive in Toronto at 9:30 am; I can't remember the exact time we arrived, but I think it was around 10 pm, so I lost an entire day of sightseeing in Toronto.
 

NS VIA Fan

Conductor
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Nova Scotia
As I've posted before.....here's a link in the Trip Report forum to a 'Winter Ride on the Canadian' I took several years ago and IMHO....the best time to ride!


 

NS VIA Fan

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I am in a cabin for 1 discounted which from my understanding is like a super liner roomette without the upper bunk….and has a toilet. Not a fan of that in the room but as long as it doesn’t smell I’ll just use it as a footrest.

Here's a couple views of a Cabin for 1 (or old style Roomette) Her purse is on the toilet.....so you can easily use it as a foot rest.

2020-04-13_105721.jpg



2020-05-01_085732.jpg
 

Dakota 400

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Mar 5, 2014
Messages
3,161
I am in a cabin for 1 discounted which from my understanding is like a super liner roomette without the upper bunk….and has a toilet. Not a fan of that in the room but as long as it doesn’t smell I’ll just use it as a footrest.
I have had that type of old style Roomette when Amtrak and PRR had them. I think they are more roomy than the current Roomettes and their was no odor issues from the toilet. A disadvantage, though, is if one needs to use the toilet during the night, you must put the bed back into the wall in order to access the toilet.
 

ScottR

Train Attendant
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
53
Location
Monterey
Pre-Covid there was no restriction on access to the Park Car in the winter months, except that some seats near the front of the dome may be reserved for Prestige Class customers. However, there usually is another dome car available to ordinary mortal (Sleeper Plus class) sleeper passengers, and a third for coach travelers.

Going all the way from Vancouver to Toronto, I'm sure you'll see plenty of snow. It's a great train and a wonderful ride; to me, it's the best long-distance train experience left in North America. It's also notorious for extreme delays from CN freight traffic, so make sure you have a day's buffer at the end of the trip before you have to be on any other mode of transport.
Oh indeed….I’ve love to call work and say i am stuck in a blizzard in Canada…HR can figure that one out😀
 

ScottR

Train Attendant
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
53
Location
Monterey
Here's a couple views of a Cabin for 1 (or old style Roomette) Her purse is on the toilet.....so you can easily use it as a foot rest.

View attachment 24540



View attachment 24541
Ok!!! From now on on whatever trip I am on there will never be a roomette…but la chambrette. It is the ONLY way to travel and I look forward to the brilliance! Thank you that made my day! I can’t wait!
 

ScottR

Train Attendant
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
53
Location
Monterey
Hey whut…..is there any other kind? I love my Canadian friends and might need political asylum there someday. Oh Canada🍁
 

TrackWalker

##############
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Apr 19, 2009
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Rural Pacific Northwet
Don't forget to complete this paperwork, too, before leaving home.


Not required if transiting through Canada at an airport to another destination as I recently did. (USA-Greece and back again by way of Toronto)

Enjoy your trip.
 

ScottR

Train Attendant
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
53
Location
Monterey
Don't forget to complete this paperwork, too, before leaving home.


Not required if transiting through Canada at an airport to another destination as I recently did. (USA-Greece and back again by way of Toronto)

Enjoy your trip.
Yes thank you for the reminder as I did NOT consider it in booking the trip in the first instance. Getting the PCR test 72 hours before isn’t trivial as it generally takes more than that normally (in my town of Monterey, CA about 48 hours at least so you are stressing all the way) and costs a good 200$ to get it stat and then you have to do it again coming back but the antigen test is ok with the US and they do it at the airport in Toronto.

ive had both jabs and will have the booster by this trip so not complaining but you need your ducks in a row!
 
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