Why is everything other than the Corridor so expensive?

Me and the GF are looking to do a trip within Canada as I've never been elsewhere in the country other than ON and QC.

I thought VIA would be cheaper and a nice experience to see some scenery, but looking for a cabin for 2 leaving Toronto to literally anywhere out West ends up in the thousands. Hard to justify taking a train when I could get us both airline tickets for under $800.

Why is our train system so brutally expensive? We looked at the lower classes but it appears we wouldn't be sleeping together which is a big no-no.


Think of VIA Rail sleeper service as a land-cruise that helps to subsidize basic economy travel for people who would otherwise have no way to access the outside world.


Even at those high prices, the (federal) taxpayer gives a huge subsidy to VIA. Read their annual report and sources of income/revenue. And the longer the trip the bigger the total subsidy will be for your trip. For short trips it can be justified because it keeps cars off the highways (and out of fuel guzzling short-hop planes).


It's true - they do get a huge subsidy. But, my point is that it would probably be a higher subsidy overall if there weren't people willing to pay $7,000 per person for the trip of a lifetime.


You are comparing a luxury sleeper cabin with airplane tickets on economy class. $800 flight + 4 nights of hotels + meals + drinks is expensive too. I am not saying that via is cheap but you are comparing apples and oranges. Toronto-Vancouver is $520 in economy class. That's not bad.


It's also 4 days in *economy* class. Granted, it's fairly comfortable, but essentially being confined to just a few areas of the train and your own seat for 4 days kinda sucks.


Long haul train rides have lounge areas so you can walk around the train and don't have stay only in your seat


Upgrading to sleeper is 1400, so it’s like having a around $200/day bed on top of the trip fair. Not too bad. I’m guessing it’s like a rolling motel.


Via rail was created in the 70s because our major railroads wanted to stop offering passenger service. The government did not allow this ,but compromised with them, allowing all passenger services to be moved to the new crown corporation. VIA owns no trackage of its own and does not have right of way anywhere in the country (Not certain about the corridor in this regard), VIA rail was effectively created for, and is treated by the rail companies as the means to the death of passenger rail in Canada.


VIA owns about 10% of the corridor. The rest is CN mainline


VIA own Coteau (near Valleyfield) to Ottawa, and then to Smiths Falls and Brockville. CN owns the rest of the Lakeshore corridor, except the Oshawa area where they switch to tracks now owned by GO.


VIA also owns a portion east of Windsor


Yes, they also “have” a chunk in NB the freight lines didn’t want to maintain. Pretty expensive for 6 train trip a week sadly.


tl:dr VIA Rail in general is a political chew toy.




View it like this: you aren't driving. So the cost of fuel/food/hotel, plus staying at your destination is going to shake out to a similar amount as a cabin for 2. View the train as the destination, and the cost won't seem as onerous. I'm taking the Canadian in October. I'm flying to Vancouver from Ottawa, staying there two days, then taking the train all the way home. Cost-wise came in around $3500 in a cabin for 1, and that's partially because I'm a princess and flew business. It's expensive, but the train is a trip that let's me see parts of the whole country. Worth the cost, imo.


Montreal to Halifax “the ocean” sleeper isn’t all that expensive. Like 500 each


I want to do a cabin trip from Vancouver to East Coast with my dog. I was schocked at costs. I won't be doing that. Buying a campervan or motor home instead.


Our passenger rail system is a joke. Via owns no rail lines and has to stop for cargo. The trip from Prince George to Prince Rupert should take 10-12 hours (the views are AMAZING,) but you'll end up in Port Edward (a 10 min drive from Prince Rupert) and sit on the line for 2-3 hours because of how busy the port of Prince Rupert is. Given that Canada paid for the tracks and owned CN for almost 100 years, Canadians choosing to use rail should have either dedicated tracks or more clout with CN.


Who is going to pay for those dedicated rails? And all the EA plans and expropriation hassles that go with it? After 10 years “they” stil have not acquired land for the Lac Mégantic bypass. And do they rally need it?


Trains are terrible unless it's your own choice of transportation. sure it's nice to look at the window for a while as it you are traveling, but that gets pretty boring after the first couple hours. I'd say take a flight to wherever you are planning to visit, go on some trails or go camping if you want scenery. You'll have more privacy, fresh air, freedom to go anywhere you want, and you'll save money.


It is very unfortunate. Like some others have said, there are opportunities to get discounts, but tickets are still expensive. I don't know your sleeping situation, but there was a couple with a berth next to mine who chose to sleep together in the lower berth. Personally, I prefer more space when sleeping, but it worked for them for Vancouver-Winnipeg.


Because VIA is only interested in the corridor. They would prefer to get rid of everything else.