Canada is a beautiful country with friendly, welcoming cities, endless forests, incredible mountains, beautiful coasts on both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and much more. It is large, the second largest country in the world, but only sparsely populated outside of the major cities. Distances here are vast which means most people choose the fast, convenient travel option of airplanes. That being said, Canada is still a leader in rail travel, with some of the most epic, beautiful train trips in the world.
Here you can literally take a train from coast to coast, seeing everything from the French-speaking cities in the East to the endless plains of central Canada to the majestic Rocky Mountains. While these tracks once carried new settlers towards the west, now-a-days they mainly carry travelers, hoping for a few peaceful days of gliding through the countryside.
There are three main train routes across Canada, that combined see the vast majority of rail travelers. They are the Ocean, the Corridor, and the Canadian. You can buy tickets that run the entire route or break up the trip to stop in cities and towns along the way. Ticket prices are split into low and high season. Low season, which runs from about October to May, means cold winter weather and shorter days. Ticket prices are cheaper during this time but the early sunsets mean less time for sightseeing out the train window. The summer high season is a very popular time to ride the trains across Canada and tickets are priced quite a bit higher.
No matter what time of year you are traveling, if you plan to spend more than a few days on the train, you should definitely look into the Canrailpass. The pass covers a certain number of one-way train trips during a selected period of time. For travelers hoping to do a cross-country trip, the 21 day main Canrailpass – System pass, which covers 7 one-way train trips, is the best option.
Below we have broken down the most popular train routes for rail travel in Canada.
Traveling between Halifax and Montréal three times a week, this route takes just around 24 hours, with a full day of sightseeing along the most beautiful parts of eastern Canada, as well as an overnight section.
Not actually a single route, the Corridor instead applies to a number of intercity routes that connect the cities of Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, and others in this area of Canada. It is not the most scenic region to travel by rail but it is convenient with many daily departures between the cities and fast, efficient trains.
The most interesting and popular long-distance train trip in Canada is arguably the cross-country Canadian route. Running between Toronto and Vancouver three days a week, the trip takes a full three days to complete. The train passes through pristine Canadian forests, the vast central plains, and straight over the Rocky Mountains for an endless array of beautiful scenery.