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Via Rail Family Train Travel

I recently came back from a fabulous trip with my family in Montreal. Fabulous because we enjoyed lots of quality time together given Saturday night hockey at the Bell Centre, great food, and lots of walking time, while introducing our kids to a new city within Canada. Fabulous because our time on the VIA Rail train did not only take us directly to Montreal in utter comfort, it formed a memorable part of our weekend vacation.

The train can be a wonderful experience for parents and children alike. We had the pleasure of travelling in business class and by the time we arrived at our vacation destination, I felt completely relaxed, having been pampered for the prior five hours.

I can say first-hand that the train is a wonderful option for travel in economy or business class.

1) I quickly learned that families travelling with young children enjoy priority boarding when a kind Via Rail employee pulled us out of the long line-up to board early; business class passengers are entitled to this same convenience.

2) The children immediately commented on how comfortable there seats were - like a living room, but better.

3) There are huge windows on both sides of the train, so that the moving landscape can be appreciated. There was so much to comment on during our journey, from a mill to the lake, to the changing leaves, small towns and more.

4) Baggage storage at the front of the train makes it very easy to be off to your vacation destination as soon as the train stops.

5) Free wi-fi on the train meant people were able to bring the convenience of work or the internet with you on your laptop.
6) The train station was conveniently located in downtown Montreal, steps from shopping, attractions, restaurants and hotels.

7) The Via Rail stewards were all extremely friendly and helpful.

Business Class

We were able to experience the extra advantages of business class on this trip.

1) When we arrived at the train station, we had the chance to relax in a dedicated business class lounge.

2) The seats are assigned, so that we could enjoy the peace of mind of knowing we were sitting together before we arrived at the station.

3) Our nine-year-old child kept referring to business class travel as ‘deluxe’ travel. It was her term. She said she always wants to travel this way.

4) We were all impressed with the many times the Via Rail stewards came around offering drinks and snacks, in addition to a meal (which in itself was delicious).  In terms of the meal itself, we were able to place a special order to meet any dietary needs (including a kids’ meal), up to 48 hours prior to departure. The choices on the train menu were delicious-sounding and unlike most of my experiences on airplanes, tasted as good as they sounded.

5) On the way home, we were not sitting in a four-seat configuration, and the steward volunteered to turn around the seats so that we were facing each other.

I know that our children will not only be asking to return to Montreal, it will be to travel there by train.

We are fortunate to live in a beautiful country with so many diverse  experiences available at our doorstep and the train to take us there. Our plan to one day travel across our great nation with Via Rail suddenly seems more realistic and exciting.

To learn more about Via Rail and their many routes, schedules and special deals, visit www.viarail.ca or find them on Facebook or Twitter.

(c) Kids Around Canada 2011

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