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 BarbR

I am new to the forum.

I have travelled by train, but many years ago and not with kids! I am considering taking my kids 9yrs and 12 yrs from Moncton to Brantford this July to visit family. The travel agent told me I was crazy, bu then she had never actaully been on a train before...........

I would love some opinions. Should we bother? and if so is Comfort OK for one night or should we spring for a sleeper? I remember travelling from Calgary to Toronto in the 80's and we had some kind of a bunk bed with a heavy curtain across (what do you call those?).

Anyway, let me know what you think.

Barb in PEI
  by Ken V
Welcome to the forum Barb.

I wouldn't say you're crazy to consider taking your kids on a train trip. Plenty of folks do it all the time. In my opinion it's a far better way to travel than being cooped up in an car and driving for hours on end.

Your trip would consist of two different types of trains. For the part between Moncton and Montreal, on the Ocean, you can wander around the train and spend time in the lounge car. In the corridor between Montreal, Toronto, and Brantford you can still get up and walk around but, without a lounge or snack car, there's really nowhere to go. Instead of going somewhere to get lunch or a snack, the staff brings them to you at your seat.

For one night the kids should be just fine sleeping in a coach seat but you also have yourself to consider. The choice of Economy (formerly called Comfort) versus Sleeper will depend very much on your budget and needs. If you are considering a bedroom on the train you might want to go one step further to Touring class. In Touring class all meals in the dining car are included in the fare and you can also go to the dome (Park) car on the rear of the train for special activities or just to take in the all-around view.

This won't be like the one you remember from many years ago. VIA's modern cars now in use on the Ocean are much different from the historical ones used on the Canadian out west. The bunks with curtains that you described are called sections and do not exist (except for rare occasions) on the trains you are looking at for this trip.

I hope this gives you a flavour of what you might expect but I'm sure I haven't answered all the questions you may have. If there's anything you'd like to know just ask and someone will be sure to respond.
  by BarbR
Thanks, Ken

That's very helpful. I explained what you said about the different trains to the kids and they are getting quite excited about going. I booked it this morning and we are on train 15 from Moncton change to train 57 in Montreal to Toronto and then train 75 from TO to Brantford.

The Sleeper sound nice but is quite a bit more expensive. I think if it were for more than one night I might consider it.

I think this trip is likely something the kids will remember for years to come and is all the more exciting because there are no trains here on PEI.

Do you know if we can check our luggage right through to Brantford from Moncton or do we have to look after it ourselves when transferring between trains?

Kind regards
  by Ken V
I'm glad the kids are getting excited about the trip and it should be a very memorable experience. You can check your bags straight through from Moncton to Brantford and not have to worry about it. In addition, trains 57 and 75 are actually the same train (on most days) and you should be able to leave any carry-on items on board during the short layover in Toronto while you explore the area.
  by BarbR
Thanks for the additional information. This is a very helpful forum!