Author Topic: Cheap Train Travel -- Discounted Tickets with Via Rail  (Read 639 times)

SerenaDarrin

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Cheap Train Travel -- Discounted Tickets with Via Rail
« on: December 29, 2018, 06:29:22 PM »
 I got super-cheap Train Tickets by stacking Discounted Tickets with a Boxing Day Discount (and by booking 2 months ahead). Round trip, 6 hours each way, under 100 CAD. 

For the Canadians or folks looking to travel within Canada, stalk ViaRail's Discounts page -- there's some really cheap tickets there that you can stack coupon codes with, too! (and, the earlier the better, of course).   Plus, I double the loyalty points thanks to another offer, as well! 

Travel Hacking for the Win!

This makes the trip cheaper then the gas for driving!   (It's moot for me, since I can't drive.  But usually math on the costs of the train vs. the costs of gas come out in favour of the car, though that doesn't factor in wear and tear on the car).   

So I have six hours on the train with my knitting and a book or two, each way for my trip.   This actually sounds like heaven. :D

Gerard

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Re: Cheap Train Travel -- Discounted Tickets with Via Rail
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2018, 12:50:46 PM »
Yeah, Toronto-Montreal tickets were the same price on the train as the bus this week!

And VIA's loyalty programme is surprisingly generous: big returns, and very few blackout periods.

SerenaDarrin

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Re: Cheap Train Travel -- Discounted Tickets with Via Rail
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2018, 06:38:10 PM »
Yeah, Toronto-Montreal tickets were the same price on the train as the bus this week!

And VIA's loyalty programme is surprisingly generous: big returns, and very few blackout periods.

This.  I only recently signed up but that's very true!  (I wish I'd signed up back when I was travelling more, but, live and learn, right?)

Plus, there a system where you can get points by completing surveys.  It's a low rate of return (between 2 and 15 points per survey), but if you do them when you've got a few minutes they do add up over time. :)

Sadly, train food is stupid-overpriced.  I always either bring my own food and drinks, or buy something to snack on at a grocery store.  But they have no problem with me bringing my travel mug full of tea, and a lunch bag.

Bendigirl

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Re: Cheap Train Travel -- Discounted Tickets with Via Rail
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2018, 07:42:45 PM »
You are very lucky...Ontario and Quebec have great trains for commuting.  In BC, nothing like that.  The only via train we can get is the Canadian....from Vancouver to Toronto with stops along the way.  That being said itís a blast!   Hubby and I took it this past September, with a sleeper for 2, all meals (amazing food!), snacks and coffe or tea...booze extra.  The discounted rates on this sale are good.  Itís still an expensive trip but well worth it.  Peaceful, beautiful....and no darn internet...really a chance to get away from it all...and did I mention the amazing food...
If this is on your bucket list the prices are $1500 less than what we paid, but travel is limited from January to April.  Of course you can go cheaper if you donít want your own sleeper unit.

SerenaDarrin

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Re: Cheap Train Travel -- Discounted Tickets with Via Rail
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2018, 08:03:06 PM »
Sadly, my (limited) travel budget is spoken for this year.  I've got one more festival trip this year and that will be the rest of my budget.  So not this year.

But it is on the list of things to do once I'm earning more money from my self-employment and can afford to do so.  My cousin did that trip, and she loved it!  And it's nice to know that food is included, because that's usually extra for trips. 

When I go, I will have to splurge for a sleeper unit though.  I know some folks can sleep sitting up.  I am not one of them.

Shinplaster

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Re: Cheap Train Travel -- Discounted Tickets with Via Rail
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2018, 11:21:41 AM »
If you book early, you can often get business class for the same price as regular economy.  If you're travelling out of Toronto, that's a big plus.  Union Station is under renovation (for years now, and years to come).  The Business Class lounge was one of the first areas to be renovated and is very nice, while the regular departure hall is an ongoing mess.

If you have a CAA membership, you can also get a further 10% off your fare, no matter how discounted it already is.  I think this runs into 2019 for a few months too. Query "CAA" on the Via page, and it will take you to the portal for booking with that.

FIRE Artist

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Re: Cheap Train Travel -- Discounted Tickets with Via Rail
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2018, 11:50:54 AM »
Sigh, I used to love train travel when I was in university and lived in the Maritimes.  I even travelled across Canada by train in Ď98 on a student rail pass.  Now that I live in Alberta, there is no way I can travel by train, I havenít got the 2 days of slack time to allow for their delays.  Delays out west are going to get even worse when the Alberta oil rail cars come on line. Freight trumps passenger travel in these parts.

SerenaDarrin

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Re: Cheap Train Travel -- Discounted Tickets with Via Rail
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2018, 01:53:57 PM »
If you book early, you can often get business class for the same price as regular economy. 

Huh!  Now that I didn't know!  Good advice!  I will check that for my next trip, thank you!

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Union Station is under renovation (for years now, and years to come).  The Business Class lounge was one of the first areas to be renovated and is very nice, while the regular departure hall is an ongoing mess.

I don't find Union Station too bad -- but I go through there pretty regularly for GO Transit and TTC, so maybe I'm just used to it.  :D   Though every once in a while I need to recalculate my route, as that part of the station's now been blocked off!  :D

SerenaDarrin

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Re: Cheap Train Travel -- Discounted Tickets with Via Rail
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2018, 01:57:13 PM »
Freight trumps passenger travel in these parts.

That's true even in Ontario.  Via Trains are trumped by both GO Trains and Freight.  So you can sit on the tracks for 20+ minutes sometimes.   I've learned to add an extra hour to whatever the arrival times are.  /sigh/ 

But I can only imagine the chaos that will happen when the Alberta Oil Rail cars happen.  :(  Sad that you can't travel by train, it's my favorite way to get around for long distances.

Gerard

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Re: Cheap Train Travel -- Discounted Tickets with Via Rail
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2018, 03:13:48 PM »
Sadly, train food is stupid-overpriced.  I always either bring my own food and drinks, or buy something to snack on at a grocery store.  But they have no problem with me bringing my travel mug full of tea, and a lunch bag.

Yup, good plan. Also, there's good take-away food available in the Montreal station, especially baked goods. And on some trains (depending on staff?), they'll give you a free refill on hot bevvies if you keep your cup.

Once I rode VIA out of Toronto next to a large family who had picked up a hamper full of dim sum on Spadina, then taken the 510 streetcar to Union Station. I think everybody else on the car was thinking, "Wow, those people are much smarter than I am." :-)

SerenaDarrin

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Re: Cheap Train Travel -- Discounted Tickets with Via Rail
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2019, 10:56:37 AM »
And on some trains (depending on staff?), they'll give you a free refill on hot bevvies if you keep your cup.

Oh!  I didn't know that (I also wonder if I can apply my usual frugal hack to tea and just ask for hot water?  Hmm. . . )

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Once I rode VIA out of Toronto next to a large family who had picked up a hamper full of dim sum on Spadina, then taken the 510 streetcar to Union Station. I think everybody else on the car was thinking, "Wow, those people are much smarter than I am." :-)

Now that -is- smart! :D