Best Canadian Rockies Train Trips
If you enjoy rail travel, there are two Canadian Rockies train trips. VIA Rail is a government-run service across Canada that crosses the Canadian Rockies through Jasper. The Rocky Mountaineer is a private company that operates a luxury train along two lines—Vancouver to Banff and Vancouver to Jasper.
The original transcontinental line passed through Banff, crossing the Continental Divide at Kicking Horse Pass and continuing to Vancouver via Rogers Pass. But this form of transportation, which opened up the Canadian Rockies to tourists, began to fade with the advent of efficient air services, and the last scheduled services on this line ended in 1991.
Government-run VIA Rail provides coast-to-coast rail service using a northerly route that passes through Jasper National Park. At Jasper, the westbound transcontinental line divides, with one set of tracks continuing west to Prince Rupert via Prince George and the other heading southwest to Vancouver.
The Canadian is a service between Toronto and Vancouver via Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Jasper, and Kamloops. Service is provided in two classes of travel: Economy features lots of leg room, reading lights, pillows and blankets, and a Skyline Car complete with food and bar service, while Sleeper Plus and Prestige Sleeper are more luxurious, featuring sleeping rooms, daytime seating, all meals, a lounge and dining car, and shower kits for all passengers. At Jasper, the westbound transcontinental line divides, with one set of tracks continuing slightly north to Prince Rupert. Along this route, the train makes three trips per week. It is a daytime-only service, with passengers transferred to Prince George accommodations for an overnight stay. It offers Economy and Touring Classes.
Rocky Mountaineer runs a luxurious rail trip between Vancouver and Banff or Jasper, through the spectacular interior mountain ranges of British Columbia. Travel is during daylight hours only so you don’t miss anything. Trains depart in either direction in the morning (every second or third day), overnighting at Kamloops. Trains terminate in Vancouver off Terminal Avenue at 1755 Cottrell Street (behind Pacific Central Station).