By the summer of 2012, travelers on VIA Rail Canada's legendary Canadian that links Toronto and Vancouver will experience a multi-million dollar makeover. More than $22 million (CAD) is being invested in upgrading the experience for travelers on the long-haul rail journey with added comfort, more space and expansive views. The extreme makeover includes new carpets, the addition of warm woods and a new color palette.
Starting in mid-October of this year, tickets will go on sale for VIA's new Deluxe Sleeper Class for those wanting more comfort and space. The all-new cabins will be larger, offering a boutique-style hotel ambience and many of the amenities found aboard the world's most luxurious trains. The newly-reconfigured Deluxe Sleeper Class cabins, available exclusively in the summer season, will be 50% larger. They will also feature private glassed-in showers, flat screen TVs, a dedicated service attendant, turn-down service, all-day room service (breakfast, morning + afternoon tea), priority luggage service and priority boarding.
Also being upgraded are the dining cars, which will feature elegant linens, china and flatware for meals prepared on board by a seasoned VIA Rail chef. Produce is brought on board along the route, meaning diners can enjoy regional specialties as they make their way 'cross country. This fall, travelers will be able to enjoy more of the view with VIA Rail's renovated Skyline and Park cars. The renovated Park cars will also offer an entirely wheelchair-accessible cabin with private washroom.
If you're planning on traveling aboard VIA Rail between now and January 31, 2012, book before Oct. 19, 2011 and you'll save 50%.
The Canadian in Jasper, Alberta during my cross-country train adventure between Halifax and Vancouver in November 2009. Photo by Sue Frause.
Nice to see class coming back. I worked on VIA in the early 1980's just as the last bits of an elegant past were hanging on. Meals were fully cooked in the kitchens, white linen tablecloths at dinner and even shoe shine service in the sleeper cars. No showers or T.V. in those days though. I'm sure it's going to be expensive and I probably can't afford it, but I like the idea that it's there. Odd I know.
Yes, a return to the more refined era of travel is welcome, good for VIA Rail Canada! Now, if only the airlines would consider bring back some of the amenities instead of morphing into cattle cars. I was disappointed that the Amtrak Cascades service (with upgraded trains) between Eugene, OR and Vancouver, BC eliminated the white table cloths and wait staff, etc. Now you just buy your food in the bistro car and plop yourself down in the "dining" car. A bad move, but I'm sure it was all about the bottom line.
Don't get me started on how the B.C. government got rid of the Royal Hudson train, especially the dinner train. B.C. rail spent a lot of time and money going around North America buying up and refurbishing old dining cars.They all had a theme and were beautiful.The dinner train is missed,especially the Christmas run. A friend worked there was the lucky one who got to go see the cars before they were bought. He also showed me an old sleeper car that was left sitting in the North Shore B.C. rail train yard that was used by Princess Margaret in the 1950's during a visit. I got my love of trains, although it's not obsessive, before I worked on Via, in 1963 when our family took the train from Vancouver to L.A. to visit family.
I love old and new trains and am a fan of the TGV in Thaly's in Europe. Really hoping the U.S. and Canada get one going on the westcoast one day !!
Seattle in a hour !
Dec 10/2011 - Here is the text of an email I received from Via yesterday in response to my query re the "New Deluxe Sleeper Class"
The new " deluxe class " has been delayed and will not be available for 2012 as anticipated.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Customer Support Desk
Thanks for the update about the sleeper cars ...
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