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Travelling across Canada by rail

Amanda Angus ( 24 October 2016 )

Ever wondered what it would be like to travel across Canada by rail? Find out why this amazing tour is a popular choice for travellers.

Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park is a must see for all travellers to Canada.

Saga customers can save hundreds on holidays and cruises - browse our available travel offers and find out more here.

Holiday Hunter Chris Parker is very excited about one of his new upcoming tours across Canada

I’ve wanted to do this tour ever since I started here, but the company who runs the train used to only allow one stop, so you either had to stop in Winnipeg but miss out on the Rockies, which of course no one wants to do, or you had a really long journey through to Jasper and the Rockies without being able to disembark, which was equally unappealing to me. 

But this year they’ve started allowing both stops, which is exactly what I’ve been waiting for! I’d been hoping and hoping for it, and I’d even pushed it with them in the past, so when I heard they were finally changing the rules, I jumped on it! 

And now I think it’s the perfect way to get across Canada. What nicer way to travel than to sit back in a carriage, watching as the incredible scenery goes by, getting off for a couple of days to explore some truly fabulous places?

What better way to see the world than by taking a scenic train journey? Find out about our rail holidays

Polar bears and Winnipeg

The first stop is in Winnipeg. I was surprised by how much there is to do in Winnipeg; for example, when I visited I stopped at the Museum of Human Rights, which at that point had only been open a couple of days. 

I’m not sure what I expected; I’m not a big fan of museums really, and I think I thought it would be boring, which I realise now was a pretty silly assumption, because actually, it was absolutely fascinating. 

It was all about indigenous people, not just in Canada but in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, all over the world. 

Learning their history was incredible, and it was really interactive, which I find really helps me to absorb more, so I came away feeling as though I knew a hundred times more than before – which is the whole point of visiting a museum, I guess! 

I didn’t want to leave, I could have happily spent much more time there.

Winnipeg is right on the edge of where people leave to go and see the polar bears up on the Hudson, and the Assiniboine Park Zoo there is fantastic. 

I visited the Journey to Churchill exhibition, where they have polar bears, and a huge enclosure for wolves too. They also have a heavy horse centre, which I think would interest a lot of our customers as well.

Rocky Mountaineer: travelling the Rocky Mountains by train

Jasper National Park

The next stop is in Jasper, in the Rockies. One of my favourite things to do here we don’t actually get to do on many of our other tours because of driving times is the Glacier Sky Walk. 

This is like a horseshoe that goes out over the canyon, it’s about 900 feet high with a glass floor, and it’s a fabulous experience – exciting whilst totally safe – so I’m glad we get the chance to do it.

Then you have the afternoon on the train, and travel through the night. The good thing about doing it this way is that the closer you get to Vancouver, the less interesting the scenery becomes.

 So you do all the nice bits in the afternoon and evening, go to sleep, then as you wake up you’re coming into Vancouver. It works really well.

In Canada freight trains always have priority over passenger trains, so times are always subject to change, depending on the freight. 

Over here it’s the opposite; passenger trains have priority, but over in Canada it’s the only way to economically transport perishables, and the trains go on for miles. It’s something I think our customers need to be aware of, but I think it just adds to the interest!

Cool mountain peaks and even ‘cooler’ cities, Canada offers a world of experiences. Find out more about our holidays to Canada here

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.