Author Topic: Bicycles on Via Rail in Canada  (Read 1935 times)

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Offline DonKahn1

Bicycles on Via Rail in Canada
« on: June 23, 2023, 01:58:39 pm »
I am currently on a cross country tour in the US.  Once I reach the Pacific Ocean I was thinking of continuing up to Jasper and taking the Canadian rail to points east.  Does anyone have experience taking a bike on Via Rail from west to east?  My other alternative is to ride the Northern Tier east to East Glacier and hop the Empire Builder to Minneapolis.
Thanks

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Bicycles on Via Rail in Canada
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2023, 05:17:22 pm »
Not me. I do not know anything about that.

Offline jcostanz

Re: Bicycles on Via Rail in Canada
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2023, 08:08:20 pm »
I have used VIA rail quite a few times while bicycle touring.  I tour with a Greenspeed Trike.  When I was planning several tours using VIA Rail, I was bacily told that if it fit thru the baggage car doors, and there was a baggage car and checked baggage service at the stop, then it went.

At the time I lived in Lewiston, NY, and either drove to Toronto or took one of the weekend Go trains from Niagara Falls Ontario to Toronto.  The Go train commuter train service on the weekends in the summer would have 2 cars with the seat removed from the lower deck and bike rack put in place.  Note this info is from before Covid locked down Canada.  They were expanding the GO Train service throughout the week.

I took the Canadian west from Toronto to Sudbery Junction, near Georgian bay and rode home.  This train goes from Toronto to the West coast, has sleeper cars and catered meals.  It departed every other day and had baggage service.  This is their flagship route and has been featured on History Chanel.

I also took multiple trips that went from Toronto to Montreal.  It has several trips daily with baggage cars but not all.  also connected with the Ocean route that goes from Montreal to Quebec city and Halifax Nova Scotia.  The Ocean route is a overnight route with baggage service and sleeper cars and Prepared meals.


Offline jcostanz

Re: Bicycles on Via Rail in Canada
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2023, 08:12:09 pm »
I forgot to mention that I didn't have to box the bike or anything, I just detached the panniers and checked them except for a "Carry-On"

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Bicycles on Via Rail in Canada
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2023, 07:57:07 am »
Looks like on service that far west it has to be checked.

https://www.viarail.ca/en/plan/baggages/checked-baggage

There re "corridor trains" that appear to offer roll-on service, but they are only between Quebec and Windsor, ON.

BTW...I love the part in the above link about the baggage allowances for infants and babies.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Bicycles on Via Rail in Canada
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2023, 01:42:30 am »
I used Amtrak in the US in October---November 2022.  California to Tucson, AZ.   El Paso, TX to New Orleans, LA.  Approximately 1600 miles.  This is how it went with the bicycle.  Wheel bike to side of baggage car.  Remove all panniers and all else.  Hand bike up to person in baggage car.   Get receipt.  Take baggage onboard.  At the transfer or destination, go to baggage car.  Hand up receipt.  It might be a real good looking young woman who takes it.  The person hands the bike to you.  And there you are.

Offline David W Pratt

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Re: Bicycles on Via Rail in Canada
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2023, 07:34:27 pm »
Last year I took my bike on the train from Montreal to Chambord for the Veloroute des Bluets.  I had to go the the station to find out about taking the bike.  In the end it was easy, the bike and 4 panniers rode in the baggage car and the conductor helped hand them down in Chambord, the station was closed.  Coming back was essentially a reversal of that procedure.  Stations away from the central one seem to answer the phone better and Via Rail did send messages to my phone about the train being a few minutes behind schedule.  I don't remember the cost, but I think it was reasonable.  No special packing, either direction.

Offline ray b

Re: Bicycles on Via Rail in Canada
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2023, 11:44:43 pm »
Last year I took my bike on the train from Montreal to Chambord for the Veloroute des Bluets.  I had to go the the station to find out about taking the bike.  In the end it was easy, the bike and 4 panniers rode in the baggage car and the conductor helped hand them down in Chambord, the station was closed.  Coming back was essentially a reversal of that procedure.  Stations away from the central one seem to answer the phone better and Via Rail did send messages to my phone about the train being a few minutes behind schedule.  I don't remember the cost, but I think it was reasonable.  No special packing, either direction.

Love it.
Old school.
I remember when Amtrak used to do this....
(I know - useless old guy reminiscence)
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Bicycles on Via Rail in Canada
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2023, 07:55:22 am »
Amtrak has greatly expanded what it calls train-side checked service.  You roll your bike to the baggage car and the attendant hangs it. You take your other gear on board.  Reverse at your destination. Used it from Philly to Pittsburgh a few years ago. That route had checked baggage service through sometime in the '90s, but you had to box the bike.  Used to take my bike back and forth to school at U. Pitt.  Then it went away.  With the addition of new baggage cars, Amtrak revived bicycle service on that train between NYC and PGH.  If you live in the Philly or NYC areas, it's now possible to take Amtrak to PGH, ride the GAP and C&O, and return home using the Vermonter north from D.C.

Amtrak has also expanded roll on service, where you bring everything on board and secure your bike in the designated area, which differs by service. I have used it on the Vermonter 4 times.  Worked well.