In the US we have Amtrak. In Canada they have VIA Rail Canada. I have only been on one Amtrak train, the Cascades. On that train, the crew was very willing to help. They almost made us enjoy the fact that we got stuck for an hour due to a broken BNSF train. I have never been on any VIA train, so I am speaking from reviews I have seen.
In the past few editions, you could not read Trains Magazine without seeing something about the VIA Canadian, the 4 night long train that goes from Vancouver to Toronto and vice versa. A few editions ago, there was a full story on the train. After reading it, you can bet I instantly looked it up. Now to someone who knows nothing about this train, four nights on a train may seem like a living hell. if you are confined to the elephant car on the circus train, then it probably is. However, the conductor and attendants will make you almost wish this trip took a lifetime.
Yes it is expensive. This kind of pampering is always expensive. Just now while I was researching, I registered myself as a youth and put myself in a 1 person sleeper. Traveling solo, round trip is $1,765.93 USD, including tax. Imagine traveling as a family on this train. Keep this in mind: THIS IS NOT A TRAIN MEANT FOR FAMILIES. Yes, there are family cabins. But when you think about it, what would your kid under 13 do without their Xbox 360? Speaking from being a teenager, I did not start liking scenery until when I rode the Cascades back in December. That was beautiful. However, most little kids/pre-teens do not really care about the lake reflecting the snow covered mountains. Another problem: Internet. If you are American, like me, then you will not get mobile networks in Canada. This train does not have wi-fi, you will need to wait until you stop at Winnipeg, Edmonton, or Jasper. But when you have breathtaking, evergreen views like this, who needs to shoe shop? This is vacation, get off!
The Canadian is known by multiple sites as one of the best train rides in the world. It is a very classic train, dating back to 1950. They have been using the same classic Budd-style stainless steel cars since 1955. However, they may look archaic on the outside, but I guarantee they are beautiful on the inside. So, why not take a full journey and escape on this historic train?