It was my bright idea to cross Canada by train, from Toronto to Vancouver, covering 2/3 of the country, across 4 time zones and plenty of different terrain. The flag ship train, the number 1, the Canadian. There have been multiple setbacks to getting on the train, but once on I figured it would be smooth sailing, or railing as the case may be. All the following points are based on the experience in carriages designed for long distance travel

  • They are smooth and offer little in the way trouble to move around in, except when someone is coming down the aisle the other way, some one always have to give way
  • I went the economy route, so no sleeper cabin for me. The seats are comfortable enough to sleep in, but I think doing it for too long would lead to serious back issues
  • The food is top notch and surprisingly good value for money, I was expecting exorbitant pricing due to the captive audience, but no
  • They have an observation dome with glass on the roof, a great idea, especially for the day, offers great views but when it is overcast, leaves night viewing with much to be desired. It would have been the highlight of the trip to see the northern lights from the train, but sadly not to be
  • I know it is winter, but there has been surprisingly little animal life. I have seen to following:
    • Half a dozen deer (not sure which kind but definitely not moose or elk)
    • 1 fox, he had a big bushy tail unlike Australian Foxes
    • 2 Otters, or at least the lady on the train said they were Otters
    • 1 Bald Eagle, was big and majestic
    • 2 wild sheep
    • There has been no bears (either polar, black or grizzly), as said earlier, no Moose, no elk, no salmon jumping out of streams, no bison, no lumberjacks and no beavers
  • The scenery is beautiful, and would otherwise be inaccessible, as we are not passing any roads at all for the most part, it is a shame the train keeps going all night. Travelling through the Rockies and across the prairies has been a postcard adventure of the highest order
  • The train wasn’t so full, gladly, I think it would have been a nightmare with someone next to me the whole way
  • There is a surprising amount of room to be, with lounges, and observation decks and spare seats, It’s not as claustrophobic as I expected
  • You are allowed off at station stop for some fresh air and a stretch which is nice
  • Dining in the dining car is a community affair, you will be seated with others (due to space) which is a great opportunity to chat and share experiences and complaints
  • On the really long trips there is no Wi-Fi, has been disappointing, I would have thought they could get it together for such an adventure
  • There are more factors to delay the train than I thought there would be, we seem to have caught them all this trip leaving our train 12 hours behind time:
    • Arrival time of the previous route, If the train gets in late from the last run it will leave late for the next one
    • Traffic, yes traffic. The tracks are owned by the Freight companies, so we need to give way to the freight trains
    • Mechanical issues, I think the trains need a more thorough maintenance review, there were a few issues during the trip
    • Track issues, there were a few derailments blocking the path of our train
    • Necessary stops, for passengers, for fuel and to groom the train
  • All in all the trip has been very much worth is, It has been cheaper than hotel rooms and flights, I’ve met some great people, seen more of the country than I would have otherwise, been able to stretch out and catch up on some of the tasks I could not do otherwise. Yes it is slower, and can be delayed and I think I was here much longer cabin fever would set in but would I do this trip again? Yes. Perhaps with a sleeper cabin, even just in the economy cheap seats, I think seeing the extended trip would be amazing. Perhaps I will look into the Indian Pacific at home

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