If you think the glamour of train travel is long gone, you've obviously never been to Vancouver -- or gotten to Vancouver by way of rail. These days, Vancouver trains offer some of the most luxurious ways to see the lush landscape of British Columbia and its neighbouring provinces. Here are five ways to ride the rails in Vancouver and take advantage of this classic form of transportation.
Amtrak CascadesAmtrak Cascades
offers a greener and, some might say, swankier way to travel the Pacific Northwest. The Amtrak Cascades
line provides twice-daily rail service between Eugene, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver (and several smaller towns in between) aboard European-style trains where you can sit back and admire the passing scenery -- including vistas of Mount St. Helens and the Columbia River Gorge. There are even bicycle and ski racks; checked baggage services; a Bistro Car that serves regionally sourced and inspired foods, coffee, wines and beers; and generous seats equipped with electrical outlets for laptops. The Cascades
is even more flexible now with a second daily train both ways so you can travel in the morning or enjoy a trip over dinner.
This isn't your average train ride. Rocky Mountaineer
combines legendary scenery, world-class service and high-class furnishings. As seen on ABC's "The Bachelorette," the travel company books vacations on its signature rail line through Western Canada's landscapes and into destinations such as Banff National Park. Among the packages is the highly praised two-day Rocky Mountaineer rail journey on a historic route built more than 100 years ago. To no one's surprise, the trip captures the nostalgic era of railroads, recapturing both the excitement and romanticism of train rides.
Whistler MountaineerWhistler Mountaineer
-- sister rail to Rocky Mountaineer -- follows the famous Sea-to-Sky corridor, taking passengers through lush forests and along mountain scenery. The Whistler route features two trains. The Whistler Dome train features unique panoramic views and full-length dome windows, giving passengers the opportunity to take in that beautiful B.C. sky. The Whistler Classic train is just as exciting, offering the same gorgeous views via the Heritage Observation Car, an open-air experience with unrivaled views.
VIA Rail Canada Inc.
Operating nearly 480 trains per week and boasting 14,000 kilometres of track, VIA Rail Canada
is more like a hotel on rails than a mode of transportation. From Vancouver, trains leave from the epic Pacific Central Station and stop in Edmonton, Jasper, Winnipeg, and finally Toronto, taking passengers through the spectacular boreal forests, prairie sunsets and majestic mountain peaks. Enjoy the panoramic views, the first-class cooking and luxurious accommodations, and if you stop in any of the towns along the way, there's always something fun and exciting to experience.
Those who want to see Vancouver by rail just have to hop on the SkyTrain
, the city's urban rapid transit system. It's the longest automated rapid transit system in the world, boasting 68.7 kilometres of track. Recently, the Canada Line opened to provide a convenient way for visitors to travel from the Vancouver International Airport to downtown Vancouver. The West Coast Express commuter lines out to Mission are much more than easy transportation. This route offers stellar views along the way.