Canada Rail – Top 10 Amazing Facts

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Canada Rail

Canada Rail Transport may not be the primary lifeline transport system of Canada, but for freight services and commuter services, it’s a great influence.

In 1836, the first Canadian Railway was opened in Montreal, followed by another railway system at Stellarton in Nova Scotia in 1840. This marked the stage if the initial success of the Canadian Railway system.

The then longest railway line in the world, The Canadian Pacific Railway was constructed in 1885. The federal government then build the National Transcontinental Railway and the Grand Trunk Pacific in 1900. Both these Canada Rail lines merged with Canadian Government Railways to form Canadian National Railways in 1923.

In 1978, the Canadian Government-mandated Via Rail that took all the national passenger rail services throughout the country.

Do you know any interesting facts about the next Canada Rail train you will catch? Or the station you’ll visit? Here are 10 Interesting facts about Canada Rail you might want to know before stepping in.


Top 10 Amazing Facts about Canada Rail

1. Travel between the cities of Canada to US Cities like New York and Seattle

Maple Leaf: The Maple is an international passenger train service in Canada connecting Toronto with New York. It is operated by Amtrak.

The trip from Toronto’s Union Station to Pennsylvania Station In New York City takes about 12 hours roughly, with immigration checkpoints at Niagara Falls.

It has regular stoppages in the following stations: Oakville, Aldershot, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Rochester, Rome, Hudson, Yonkers, and Pennsylvania Station in New York.

The train began its operation on 26th April 1981.

Check the scheduled halts for the Maple Leaf train, here.

One can opt for trains to Seattle, Florida, Boston, and other cities from Pennsylvania Station in New York.

2. Cargo Travel from the Pacific Coast to Atlantic Coast, even to the Mexican Gulf in Canada’s Largest Rail Network

Canadian National or CN is undoubtedly is Canada’s largest railway, in terms of physical reach and revenue generation.

It spans from the Atlantic Coast in Nova Scotia to the Pacific Coast in British Columbia and the Gulf of Mexico. Its track length is arguably 32,830 km.

On 17th November 1995, CN was privatized by the Canadian Government. CN was established by the federal government in 1919. It’s now headquartered in Montreal, and currently Canada’s only operational transcontinental railway.

CN now operates only freight operations across Canada, as well as in some parts of Western and Southern United States, it continued it’s passenger services until 1978, after that, they were assumed by Via Rail, another popular name in Canada Rail World.

Interestingly, Bill Gates owns $2 Billion worth of stake in the Canadian National Railway.

3. Canada’s First Transcontinental Railway

Canadian Pacific Railways

Photo by Andy Holmes on Unsplash

The Canadian Pacific Railways, popularly known as CP Rail was the first Canadian transcontinental railways, but it no longer serves the Atlantic Coastal areas.

It spans from Montreal to Vancouver to Edmonton in the north. Also, it connects six provinces in the United States, namely, Detroit, Chicago, New York, Albany, and Minneapolis – St. Paul. Its track length is approximately 20,100 km. It was incorporated in 1881.

Today the railway plays an important role in the transportation of agricultural and manufactured goods and raw materials from one sector to the other. Its passenger services were discontinued in 1986.

The first transcontinental passenger train left Dalhousie Station in Montreal on 28th June 1886. It arrived at port Moody on 4th July 1886. The Canada Rail wonder consists of a mail car, one dining car, two first-class coaches, two sleeping cars, two baggage cars, and a second-class coach.

The CP Railway, was on command during World War II, helping in transporting pieces of equipment, war supplies, and even ships and bombers.

4. Give yourself some rest in Canada’s very own Rail Hotels

hotel vancouver

Ken Walker, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Surprisingly, Canada Rail companies built and operated their own resort hotels, to provide rail passengers some overnight rest who’re traveling long distances.

These railway hotels across the country, are icons for Canadian architecture, some are even local and national landmark built by the Canada Rail Companies.

The Canadian Pacific Railways inaugurated the first railway hotel, Hotel Vancouver on 16th May 1888. On 1st June 1888, The Canadian Pacific Railways opened another railway hotel, the Banff Springs (now named as Fairmont Banff Springs).

The Grand Trunk Railways built the Chateau Laurier (now, Fairmont Chateau Laurier) in Ottawa in 1912, followed by the Fort Garry Hotel in Manitoba in 1913.

Check out the West Coast Trail campsites, click here.

The last railway hotel in Canada was built in 1958 in Montreal, the Queen Elizabeth Hotel.

The hotels, the then was an attraction for peoples traveling long journeys – a place for them to refresh and replenish.

5. Visit the Agawa Canyon in a Special Train

If you’re planning for a getaway to Agawa Canyon, one of the convenient and popular ways to visit is by the special Agawa Canyon Tour Train.

Check out the tour packages for the Agawa Canyon Tour train, here.

One of the popular Canada Rail tours in North America, the Agawa Canyon Tour Train departing daily from the city of Sault Ste. Marie will take you to the north of Sault Ste. Marie, a city on the banks of St. Marys River in Ontario, whistling through Canadian Shield forests and northern granite rock formations.

You’ll get to experience some of Canada’s rugged landscapes through the large windows. Along with large windows, it features a GPS-triggered tour narration in 6 languages and various dining options.

The train halts for 90-minutes in Canyon Park, allowing the passengers to experience the nearby waterfalls, several walking trails and a 250-foot high Canyon lookout climbing up to 300 stars above.

The train departs from Sault Ste. Marie at 8 a.m. and returns around 6 p.m.

The train is a smoke-free environment.

For reservations, Click Here.

6. Give yourself a Luxury Experience in Rocky Mountaineer and Royal Canadian Pacific

Rocky Mountaineer train

Photo by Roderick Eime/ Flickr, Copyright 2021

Rocky Mountaineer: One of the royal train tours in Canada, Rocky Mountaineer which operates on three rail routes over British Columbia and Alberta.


First Passage to the West: Arguably one of the most scenic routes, this route travel through Kicking Horse River, terminating in Banff.

Journey through the clouds: Formerly called the Yellowhead route after the mountain pass it takes through the Rockies, this route travels through the Coastal Mountain Range and the Fraser Canyon.

Rainforest to Gold Rush: This journey is all about getting into the gold-rush and timber country, a three-day route beginning in North Vancouver, and terminating in Jasper. It has stops in Whistler and Quesnel.

Service Classes:

Gold Leaf: Gold Leaf is the premium-option one can afford. Here, passengers travel in double-deck dome cars, under glass roofs.

Upstairs, there are 72 reclining seats, and downstairs, there are kitchens, toilets, and a 36-seater restaurant for wine-and-dine. It also features a viewing platform for reflection-free photography.

The Gold Leaf fare includes a hotel room for an overnight stay and free car transfer from the coach to the hotel.

Silver Leaf: Silver Leaf passengers travel in single-deck glass-domed coaches with reclining seats and huge panoramic windows attached.

Guests are offered entree options for breakfast and plated lunch served at their seats and are attended by two or three onboard hosts.

The fare includes lunch and breakfast with complimentary beverages including beer, wine, and other non-alcoholic drinks.

To book your Rocky Mountaineer journey, click here.

Canada Rail - Top 10 Amazing Facts 3

Photo by Luxury Train Club/ Flickr, Copyright 2021

Royal Canadian Pacific: One of the world’s finest luxury train, the Royal Canadian Pacific is a pride to Canada Rail. European Royalties, celebrities, Prime-Ministers have traveled aboard over the years.

The journey begins in Calgary at the Canadia Pacific Railway Pavilion. The train travels through the most anticipated Canadian Rockies and Banff and Lake Louise. Most excursions travel through the Columbia Valley to Crowsnest Pass and then back to Calgary or Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Royal Canadian Pacific carries a maximum of 32 guests on any given trip. There are 19 staterooms on board.

There is a customized private dining experience onboard the Royal Canadian Pacific, the elegant Craigellachie Dining Car. There is also a cocktail reception in the Mt. Stephen Observation Car.

The average per person price for a 6 days/5 nights luxury rail cruise is CAD 8000. 5% tax-exclusive is levied.

To book your Royal Canadian Pacific journey, click here.


7. Travel from Downtown Toronto to Canada’s Largest and Busiest Airport in an Airport Rail

Union Pearson Express

Photo by Rina Pitucci/ Flickr, Copyright 2021

Union Pearson Express or UP Express is an airport rail link connecting Downtown Toronto with the Toronto Pearson International Airport, the biggest and busiest airport in Canada, operated by Metrolinx, similar to GO Transit.

The UP Express operated every day, each train departing at a gap of 15 minutes. It takes 25 minutes roughly to reach Toronto Pearson from Downtown Toronto. It operates at a standard speed of around 60 km/h.

The Canada Rail wonder began its operation on 6th June 2015 and each year, an estimated 2.5 million are serviced by this airport ride.

Union Pearson Express is the first rail service in North America to use Tier 4 diesel which diminishes bad air emissions by 80 percent.

8. Experience the Public Transit Railways in the cities of Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal

Canada Rail - Top 10 Amazing Facts 4

Photo by Trae Gould on Unsplash

Toronto: GO Transit is the regional public transit service for the Greater Horseshoe region In Toronto and Hamilton area. Its Canada’s first public transit system.

They began their regular passenger transit service on 23rd May 1967, from a single train line along Lake Ontario’s shoreline, and now it carries more than 70 million passengers a year bursting into an extensive network of railway lines.

GO Transit brought a revolution in daily transit in Canada Rail atmosphere. It extends till Niagara Falls in the South, Newcastle in the North, and Brantford and Kitchener in the west operating from downtown Toronto.

Montreal: Public Transit System in Montreal is served by Réseau de transport métropolitain, or simply Exo. It serves Greater Montreal, including the Island of Montreal and the North Shore of Mille Îles River and the South Shore of St. Lawrence River. It is the second busiest public transport system in Canada Rail World after GO Transit.

The railway services extend to the west till Hudson, Mont-Saint-Hilaire in the east, Candiac in the South, and Saint-Jérôme in the North. It serves around 20 million passenger rides each year all the way from Montreal to other connecting Canada Rail destinations.

West Coast Express

Photo by William Davies/ Flickr, Copyright 2021

Vancouver: In Vancouver, commuter transit services are carried out by the West Coast Express. It is the only commuter railway service in western Canada and provides more than 3.5 million passenger rides every year.

West Coast Express provides service between Downtown Vancouver to Port Moody, Maple Ridge, Port Coquitlam, and Mission. It began its operation as a commuter Canada Rail Service on 1st November 1995.


9. A Regional Canada Rail Line in northern Canada owned by the First Nations People

Canada Rail - Top 10 Amazing Facts 5

Photo by Dan Loran on Unsplash

Tshiuetin Rail Transportation Company is a regional railway in Canada stretching all the way till Quebec on the interprovincial boundary. It connects Labrador with the northernmost Emiril community in Quebec.

Interestingly, this is the first railway company in North America and Canada Rail world to be operated and owned by the First Nations People.

Who are these First Nations People?

They are the predominant indigenous people in Canada living to the south of the Arctic Circle. There are about 634 recognized First Nations Government spread across the country of Canada. Different communities have formed with a sheer cultural and custom difference. Slavey, Innu, Micmac, Haida, Kainai, and Blackfoot are some of the First Nations communities.

The railway boasts a 356-kilometer railway line that connects Quebec with Emeril. Canada Rail Transportation began its operations on 1st December 2005.

10. Only Operating Railway Line service in Vancouver Island

Canada Rail - Top 10 Amazing Facts 6

Photo by Anton Casta on Unsplash

After the closure of Englewood Railways of northern Vancouver Island in November 2017, the Southern Railway of Vancouver Island is the only remaining railway line on Vancouver Island.

The railway track spans 234 kilometers, running all the way from Victoria to Courtenay in British Columbia, with a branch line from Parksville to Port Alberni of British Columbia.

This Canada Rail part is associated with quite a few names. Until 1996, it was known as the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railways, and after Canadian Pacific Railways acquired it, it was called E & N Railfreight. After the operations were sold to RailAmerica, it was named E & N Railway Co. in 1998.

The Southern Railway of Vancouver Islands or SVI operates the freights and passenger services there. It also operates daily intercity services from Victoria to Courtenay in association with Via Rail.

Canada Rail - Top 10 Amazing Facts 7

Photo by Dan Loran on Unsplash


It takes something to manage this vast network of trains going from the Pacific to Atlantic carrying tons of freight and millions of passengers.

So now as you’ve read about the interesting facts you needed to know about the Canada Rail Transport, now leave a comment about which ride you’re interested to hop on in near future.


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