When I think of train travel, I think of the romantic nature of the experience depicted in all the classic movies. Well-groomed men in perfectly pressed suits and fedoras perched just so. Beautiful women with their white gloves, high-heeled shoes, matching purses, smart-looking dresses, and train cases. Very sophisticated — very “Mad Men.”
I recently had an opportunity to travel on the VIA Rail Business Class from Toronto to Montreal. Though people weren’t dressed like they are in the movies, I still thoroughly enjoyed the experience. However, though en route to Montreal was terrific, en route to Toronto did not match up. Due to these two very different experiences, I can certainly see the charm in travelling by train, but I can also see the pitfalls.
This VIA Rail Business Class adventure starts in the Business Lounge
Included with your VIA Rail Canada business class ticket, you can access the VIA Rail Business Class Lounge. There are also personnel located here to help with any specific needs you may have.
A journey via rail isn’t as fast as flying, but it isn’t as slow as driving either. Plus, trains can be amazingly relaxing if you are travelling via business class.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: Another perk that comes with your Business Class ticket is free bag storage at the station. So if you arrive reasonably early, you can explore the area without dragging your luggage around with you.
We arrived early to take advantage of this perk at Toronto Union Station with a comfortable waiting area, TVs, newspapers, juice, specialty coffee and tea — all complimentary. The business class food is not only excellent but also another complimentary feature.
Once our train was ready for boarding, there was a travel information announcement, and we headed towards the gate. There was no need to line up with the other passengers; we walked to the front of the line and boarded the train like rock stars.
This priority boarding is also available in the economy class, but only to those VIA Préférence Premier members.
Onboard services on the VIA Rail Toronto to Montreal train included the following:
- leather reclining seats
- hot towels before eating
- beverages including wine and beer (Another perk of the VIA Rail Business Class is that you can enjoy free alcohol!)
- VIA Rail Business Class menu offering a choice of meal for lunch
- magazines, newspapers
- electric outlets at each seat
- folding tray table
PRO TRAVEL TIP: The VIA Rail Toronto to Montreal train ride was a bit bumpy at times. If you are riding the train for business travel, you may find it difficult to type on a laptop and get work done.
From taking advantage of the free wifi, enjoying the passing scenery, to dining on fantastic food, drinks, and getting some work done, the relaxing journey kick-started our weekend in Montreal.
Our journey by train from Toronto to Montreal was fabulous, but sadly, our return trip home to Toronto — not so much.
Complimentary Wine and VIA Rail Children that Whine
Not to be THAT person but on our trip home, a family of 6 – grandparents, parents, and two children came on board. We were sitting directly behind the facing set of 4 seats, and the 6 of them took over the four seats on both sides of the aisle. For about 5 hours, the adults relaxed and took advantage of the complimentary food and wine while the children cried, whined, and caused a commotion disturbing the entire Business Class train.
There was no relaxing, no work, and no conversation with my travel companion. We retreated to our MP3 player and book, escaping to our “special place” where all is peaceful and relaxing for the duration of our time.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: Be warned that it could be noisy if you sit in this main area due to the seat configuration of having a full-size table with seats that face each other. Another area you may not wish to sit near is the end where the restrooms are.
Hey, these things can happen on a plane, train or in an automobile and are an aspect of travel that you have no control over and can’t avoid. One benefit is that a situation like this makes for an excellent laughable memory for years to come.
My first experience travelling on the train with VIA Rail Business Class from Toronto to Montreal was a fantastic adventure that will definitely not be my last.
Rail Passes, Gift Cards & More!
If you, like me, enjoyed the VIA Rail and want to travel more, looking into the Rail Passes might be a good idea. Or, if you think friends and family might enjoy the experience, Gift Cards are also available. Finally, if you’re looking to travel across Canada via VIA Rail, they also have Train-Hotel Packages for just that!
I hope you’ve found this Via Rail Business Class Review helpful, have you I hope you’ve found this VIA Rail Business Class Review helpful, and have you travelled by train from Montreal to Toronto business class before? How was your experience?
Read Michael’s adventure with sleeper plus class riding the VIA Rail overnight to Winnipeg in his article: VIA Rail – A Canadian Experience to Get on Board eh?
Read more about VIA Rail on TripAdvisor.
Looking for a place to stay in Montreal? Check out:
We stayed at the following locations while in the city and recommend them.
– Funky Fresh Affordable Alt Hotel in Griffintown Montreal
– Hotel William Gray – An Upscale Boutique Hotel in Old Montreal Quebec
For tours in Montreal:
For related articles, check out:
– Things to do in Toronto
– Welcome to the Limestone City of Kingston, Ontario
– Tips for a Working (and NOT Working) Vacation