Discussion of Canadian Passenger Rail Services such as AMT (Montreal), Go Transit (Toronto), VIA Rail, and other Canadian Railways and Transit

Moderator: Ken V

  by bagofbobbish
Hello how is luggage stored on the Canadian? Is there a luggage area in the sleepers? Any room in the bedrooms? Also, which Canadian cell carrier has the best coverage on this route? I'm an American and plan on getting a Canadian SIM card for the trip. Thank you.
  by Backshophoss
As far as cellphone service,believe the only choise is Bell Canada. Monopoly in the great white north!
  by Dayliner381
There are three national cell phone networks in Canada: Bell Canada, Rogers and Telus. There are also smaller second tier carriers, like Fido and Virgin, some of whom are controlled by the majors. US carriers have roaming arrangements with their Canadian counterparts. Regardless of which network you use, you will not get much reception along the CN line through Northern Ontario, nor in the Rockies. There are not enough people to justify the towers.

As far as luggage is concerned, there is limited storage space on the train, either on a shelf above the toilet annex (doubles) or under the seat (roomettes, berths). The VIA website has information on carry-on size restrctions.
  by Mark0f0
T-Mobile pre-paid data plans/data passes, FWIW, work great in Canada. US$10 for 1gb for a week, roams onto Telus/Bell/SaskTel, and will keep you covered basically anywhere there's actually service along the Canadian route.

Do not count on any VIA-sponsored WiFi being available in the en-route stations. It might work when there's nobody there, but when the train pulls in and everyone has the same idea to check their email, trust me, its very frustrating.

Luggage is stored in a baggage car at the front of the train, with the exception of a small carry-on bag. You will not have access to the baggage in the baggage car short of a pretty significant calamity (ie: you messed up bad and left your insulin in there), so plan accordingly.
  by Mark0f0
Bell/Telus/SaskTel have identical coverage, as they share towers coast to coast (ie: its not roaming, the tower natively thinks its a Bell/Telus/SaskTel tower!). Rogers has pretty good coverage in Southern Ontario, and decent in the major cities, but is pretty poor on the rural prairies. Wind and Mobilicity have their own towers primarily in the major cities but to the best of my knowledge, don't share with the other carriers outside (they may roam, but it won't be a native tower). Fido, Virgin Mobile Canada, and a few other carriers are merely "low-cost" rebrands operated by Telus/Bell/etc.

So I'd tell someone visiting Canada and intending to travel to its rural areas to get onto a carrier that uses the Bell/Telus/SaskTel infrastructure, or has no problem roaming onto it.