I took the train from Moncton to Montreal and it was the one of the coolest trip I’ve ever taken! I had to go to Quebec for a week on some business and while I usually drive the 1000 km I decided to make other arrangements because driving that road in the middle of winter didn’t sound like the best idea. At first I was going to fly since it’s a short hop to Montreal from Moncton but all the flights out were booked so DD suggested to look at taking Via Rail.
I checked for tickets and found it was actually pretty cheap, cheaper than I thought anyway. My ticket out was $230 and that was for a single cabin for one…although at the time I booked it I didn’t know what exactly that was…but when I got on the train, the 2nd to last wagon on the train with the other cabins I was blown away! The train is the greatest way to travel!!
I took the train when I was a little pup with Mama J back when I was about 7 or 8 and that was a short trip and we sat in the regular coach seats. When I boarded the Ocean Line Train in Moncton for Montreal it was incredible! It was like a mix between a boat and submarine all with the most wonderful Art Deco styling!
When I found my way though the car, which is like a long blue carpeted and stainless steel maze, and found my cabin I was so happy! My own little cabin, a little under 7 feet long by 4 feet wide but this was a marvel of engineering and had a sink, a toilet, a storage space, the fold-out bed, a nice comfy leather chair with arm rests, bottled water and running water, a fan, power plug, magazines, coat hangers! It was like my own private hotel room! A sliding door meant I could just kick back and look out the window and stretch out and listen to my music and eat snacks! Now that’s what I call comfort!
I’ve taken the Greyhound bus across Canada many times, probably 10 times at least. Riding the Greyhound from Montreal to Yellowknife, or Edmonton to Vancouver, or Vancouver to Montreal is a cool experience once in a lifetime but after the third time it loses its appeal, cramped in a seat besides the poor folks and crazies! What an excruciating way to travel…noiw that I was in my little private cabin on The Ocean I was thinking back to those bad old days and smiled and said to to myself “You’ve come a long way baby!”
The staff on the train was super friendly; Vernon explained to me how the bed worked and where the dining car and lounge were and the emergency exits. It was totally personal service and not like when the stewardess on an Air Canada flight explains the way to fasten a seatbelt over the intercom in a bored tone.
So I placed my bags and went to check out the train as it started moving out from Moncton. I had to walk through 4 cars to get to the dining car and then two more to get to the 360 degree glass roofed observation car.
Joey at the canteen served me a cold beer and I went upstairs to watch the sunset. Sitting there watching the snowy trees passing by with a nice reclining seat while sipping a cold beer was amazerful!!
After two frosty beverages I decided to go back to my cabin and get ready for supper…I figured I would dine at about 8. Before I left I wondered if I should pack some food and just eat some Sobeys prepared foods but DD said to try the whole train experience and I’m glad I did!
The dining car is so stylish, real tables with table cloths, real cutlery, the full package! The table de hote had three choices all for $12 tax included. I went for the ssteak with mushrooms and garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables…it was perfect! A glass of red wine in a real wine glass, with the click clack of the train wheels made me feel like some first class traveler in the 1950’s in some Hollywood movie!
After dinner I went back to the cabin and listened to some music then it was time for bed. I pulled the bed down and there was two nice fluffy white pillows and a comfy duvet…I snuggled down and turned the lights off and was rocked to sleep…ahhh what a great start to the trip…I was wishing I could have more than just one night!
I woke up at 7 and went to see Joey for my morning coffee. I was going to check out the observation car but there were people sleeping up there. Joey told me they had overbooked by about 30 tickets so people were basically sleeping in any chair they could find.
I went for a stroll to check out the whole train…oh my…I’m sooooo glad I didn’t ride coach…it was like a sardine can up there! It reminded me of the bus, people all bent out of shape trying to sleep.
I could tell by looking at people’s faces who was riding coach and who had thee berths and private cabins…we all looked fresh and happy but those who rode coach looked a little disheveled and grumpy…poor souls! If I ever take the train again, and I really want to now, I would only go if I can get a cabin.
The regular economy coach ticket was $105 one way Moncton to Montreal and my discounted single cabin fare was only $201.71…I mean that is double the price but I sure thought it was worth it to have the privacy and a bed I could get some real sleep in!
What a great trip!!