ghYHZ
Topic Author
Posts: 355
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:26 pm

VIA Business Class (Rail Trip Report with Photos)

Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:20 am

Time for a trip from Toronto to Ottawa on VIA Rail Canada. I had a VIA Preference Coupon (their ‘Frequant Flyer’ program) offering a Business Class up-grade at a very reasonable cost.

Business Class is available on just about every train running in the Quebec-Ontario Corridor and is quite popular with sell-outs and some trains even with two Business Class cars. Seating in the recently refurbished cars is 2 + 1.... so for the best selection of seats.....single or double….aisle or window and being in no particular rush to get to Ottawa I’ve found the best time to travel is on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning when fewer are travelling (we were about half-full)

I was staying at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel directly across from Toronto Union Station and made my way over about an 45 minutes before departure so I would have time to enjoy the Business Class Lounge.


Image20180922_113921 by GH, on Flickr
Image20180922_080534 by GH, on Flickr
Image20180921_155801 by GH, on Flickr
Image20180922_120925 by GH, on Flickr
Image20180922_121517 by GH, on Flickr


About 20 minutes before departure the train was announced and all headed up to the platform where an F40PH-2 was leading the 3 car LRC consist + one Budd HEP coach on the rear.


Image20180922_130445 by GH, on Flickr
Image20180922_131616 by GH, on Flickr
Image20180922_131643 by GH, on Flickr
Image20180922_131816 by GH, on Flickr


Before we were even out of the station.....the attendant passed thru with the bar cart and I had a Rickards Red Ale and snack-mix.


Image20180922_133645 by GH, on Flickr


There was a hot towelette to freshen-up and the Dinner service started shortly afterwards. Three choices: pasta, chicken or the beef which I selected along with garlic mashed, carrots and beans. The wine glass was constantly topped up during the meal.....then coffee and a brownie for desert. An after-dinner chocolate was also offered.


Image20180922_140331 by GH, on Flickr
Image20180922_142513 by GH, on Flickr
Image20180922_144233 by GH, on Flickr


The 450km run to Ottawa takes about 4 ½ hours with 10 trains a day each way. On the last leg of the trip I enjoyed another Rickards Red as we passed through Smiths Falls above the Rideau Canal Lock on the sunny, warm fall afternoon.


Image20180922_163759 by GH, on Flickr
Image20180922_165528 by GH, on Flickr
Image20180922_170111 by GH, on Flickr


Arrival was ontime…..stopping alongside the new high-level platforms at Ottawa’s most attractive VIA Station. I hopped on a bus and was at my downtown hotel in about 10 minutes. (travel downtown from the station will get even more convenient very soon with Ottawa’s new light-rail transit just about ready to open)


Image20180922_174554 by GH, on Flickr
Image20180922_174619 by GH, on Flickr
Image20180922_174623 by GH, on Flickr
Image20180922_174940 by GH, on Flickr
Image20180922_175022 by GH, on Flickr
Image20180922_175117 by GH, on Flickr
 
D1n0
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 11:02 pm

Re: VIA Business Class (Rail Trip Report with Photos)

Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:36 am

Erm.....is this the right forum?.....try trainspotting.com.anorak
 
ghYHZ
Topic Author
Posts: 355
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:26 pm

Re: VIA Business Class (Rail Trip Report with Photos)

Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:51 am

D1n0 wrote:
Erm.....is this the right forum?.....try trainspotting.com.anorak


Yup....it is! See the Mods reply here:

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1409213
 
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atcsundevil
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Re: VIA Business Class (Rail Trip Report with Photos)

Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:02 pm

D1n0 wrote:
Erm.....is this the right forum?.....try trainspotting.com.anorak

As mentioned, we are content with users posting non aviation trip reports provided it is clearly described in the title.

The official forum description is, "Discussions about specific trips you have taken. The more detail the better. Photo-essays on complete trips are welcome and encouraged. We welcome start-to-finish accounts of your journeys with the sort of detail your fellow enthusiasts will appreciate."

Because we've never specified aviation only, and because many users enjoy trip reports via other means of transport, then we're happy to see them posted. They aren't common, but they do come up from time to time.
 
beeweel15
Posts: 1000
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2003 12:59 am

Re: VIA Business Class (Rail Trip Report with Photos)

Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:34 pm

Great report. I enjoy traveling by train now and again
 
ghYHZ
Topic Author
Posts: 355
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Re: VIA Business Class (Rail Trip Report with Photos)

Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:39 pm

beeweel15 wrote:
Great report. I enjoy traveling by train now and again


Thanks!

Porter Airlines was an option from downtown Toronto and also within walking distance of the Royal York Hotel (2 km). But the hassle-free walk across the street to the station then out to the train…..no security, no lineups. A nice meal and a couple of beers just won me over.

Overall…I might have saved about 2 hours flying. And price…..I had VIA Business Class for less than coach on Porter.
 
Tay52
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Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:26 pm

Re: VIA Business Class (Rail Trip Report with Photos)

Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:35 pm

I enjoyed the report. Thanks for posting.
 
ConnectAir
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Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:20 pm

Re: VIA Business Class (Rail Trip Report with Photos)

Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:40 pm

I enjoyed this. As much as I am an aviation geek I also have a soft spot for other methods of travel (such as trains and boats) and love hearing about experiences on transport methods such as this that I would not normally go on.

Also, what was that cold salad in the bottom right of your tray?
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longhauler
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Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 12:00 am

Re: VIA Business Class (Rail Trip Report with Photos)

Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:30 am

Thanks for taking the time to post this with great pictures. VIA offers a solid product, that, if they ever got into a high speed product would give airlines serious competition.

It’s like the bus travel and Amtrak reports on here, very interesting.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
Flanker7
Posts: 186
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 4:38 pm

Re: VIA Business Class (Rail Trip Report with Photos)

Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:23 am

I most certainly enjoyed it and reports like these give me ideas on trips to make other then by plane. Nice pictures and good report, thnx
Flying blue only if possible
 
cschleic
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Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2002 10:47 pm

Re: VIA Business Class (Rail Trip Report with Photos)

Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:07 am

Thanks for posting. Nice report and photos. Train rides are always fun.
 
KLDC10
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Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:15 pm

Re: VIA Business Class (Rail Trip Report with Photos)

Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:13 am

Thanks for a great report. I for one always enjoy reading reports about rail travel - there's an old-fashioned elegance about taking long trips by rail that just can't be replicated by other forms of transport.

As for VIA, I think they offer an excellent product in Business, certainly much better than anything Amtrak offer on comparable routes (read: NE Corridor), and the food presentation is very good too. I've taken two round trips with VIA in Business myself: Montreal-Ottawa and Montreal-Quebec City. On both trips, the service was excellent, the food was top notch and the trains were very comfortable. I'm glad that, judging from this report at least, VIA have maintained their standards since then.

The lounge in Toronto looks like it could use a refresh, but that's the only negative I can see here. Thanks again for sharing.
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