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Index for my Toronto Budget 2004 project
Review: The Overnight Train from Montréal

I frequently have to travel to Montréal for business, but last night tried something different.

When we work in Montréal, we normally finish up after 9pm. This means we're too late for the last flight back to Toronto, so we need to spend a night at a hotel before getting up early in the morning to go to the airport.

Well, yesterday we took the train to Montréal -- which is always relaxing, especially when everyone else is stressed out because of the snow and possible airline delays -- but we also took the overnight return train in a sleeper car. I highly recommend it.

First of all, the price is a hit. For $280 each (taxes included) we took VIA-1 on our ride to Montréal and shared a sleeper room on the way back. Ridiculously cheap, especially when you realize how much you save on not taking taxis to airports and not staying in a hotel. For about $60-70 more you can get your own bedroom on the train instead of sharing one.

The room is pretty small. There wasn't really room for two of us to stand in there. Nevertheless, once you climb up into your bunk, it is quite pleasant. You have your own bathroom, which is also very small, and if you want to pay a bit extra you can have a shower.

The train leaves Montréal at 11:30 pm, but you're free to board an hour before that and get settled in. At 8:20 in the morning -- just about the time you'd be clearing security at Trudeau (nee Dorval) Airport in Montréal -- the train pulls into Union Station. Five minutes later you can be on the subway.

They supply you with ear plugs, but I actually found the sounds of the train to be relaxing. The motion of the train was soothing, too, so all in all, I slept pretty well.

Overall, this is a great alternative.

Tomorrow I fly to Calgary on Air Canada, but I don't expect to have anything interesting to say about that.



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