REVIEW | VIA Rail train in Economy Class from Ottawa to Toronto

Last year when our parents turned 60, my sister and I were thinking about what we should give them as a present. As my mother dropped several times how she would love it to visit Canada one day to visit our cousin living there, we decided to gift them the plane tickets to Canada and invite ourselves along for the trip. In about one and a half week we made a trip around the cities in central-eastern Canada, visiting Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa and Toronto.

As to avoid having to rent a car or go through the hassle of taking a domestic flight, we opted to travel by train in between our destinations on our Canada trip. Our third train ride would take us from the nation’s capital at Ottawa to our final stop of Toronto. As the business class fare was much higher than the standard economy class fare, we just travelled in economy to, well, economise.


We were pretty early at the Ottawa train station, as it’s remote location meant that we would be taking a taxi there and we did not want to risk getting stuck in traffic or not getting a taxi in time.

Luckily Canadian railway stations are made for people having to wait for a longer time with comfortable benches and free toilets. Inside some glass boxes they even have some train models on display. Even though we did not have lounge access this time, we still had a comfortable and quiet waiting time.


After business class had boarded it was our turn to follow too. This time we were seated in the rear coach of the train, an unrefurbished LRC car.

The car still possessed its 1970’s seats, with the very peculiar grey with coloured dots moquette.  Contrary to business class there are no big tables in the four seat groups so you will have to make do with small foldable tables in the armrests. Just like in business class big items of luggage are left at the entrance in big baggage racks, while smaller items can be stowed in the overhead bins above your head.


The ride itself is fairly unspectacular, mostly going through fields and forests on the way. After Kingston you start following the coast of the lake of which you sometimes can catch a glimpse.


Arrival in Toronto Union station was more or less on time, after which we had to make our way through the station which is still being refurbished/improved. Our next hotel was just around the corner, so we just had a small walk over there.


Even in economy VIA Rail offers a solid product. Seats are comfortable, there is airconditoning,WiFi and power plugs at all seats. All you need for a comfortable trip.

What do you do to keep yourself entertained during long unspectacular train rides? Let us know in the comments below!

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