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Train Travel: climb aboard for a grand adventure

For more than 100 years, trains were the main mode of transportation to travel any great distance, and the only way to access many remote areas of North America. Cross-country excursions were common—with trains featuring well-equipped sleeper cars, friendly staff, and leisurely meals presented in the dining car, all while passengers watched the countryside roll by. But as airline travel steadily became the convenient and affordable way to travel, the idea of long-distance travel by rail has faded away like so many traditions of the past.

Luckily, there are fantastic train expeditions that still exist today, and the idea of rail journeys is gaining renewed interest. The itineraries offer travelers the chance to experience a nostalgic and relaxing trip back through time to when travel was enjoyable. Instead of getting to your destination fast and frantically (which is typical with air travel), train travel provides an intimate, slower pace—and some would say romantic way—to explore some of the most beautiful regions of the world. Trains make the journey part of the experience, and allow travelers to tour vast areas that would be too expansive to visit any other way.

In the U.S., you can travel by train from big city to big city, hopscotching your way from coast to coast. In Canada (where much of the central part of the country is a wide swath of wilderness) trains are also the perfect way to travel—crossing the wide open spaces that span the country from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific.

VIA Rail, the national railway of Canada, has spent years developing and maintaining a variety of options for travelers who want to explore the country by rail. And now, thanks to a special project unveiled in 2015, they have an exclusive category for those who want to experience top-notch accommodations, hand-crafted cuisine, and exceptional service.

The Canadian traverses from Toronto to Vancouver—through the prairies and plains of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, into the majestic Canadian Rockies, ending in the stunning city of Vancouver. Guests can enjoy Prestige Class accommodations including: a private stateroom—providing 50% more living space than other class cabins—featuring a picture window that's 60% larger than standard cabin windows, a leather couch by day that transforms into a comfortable double bed with luxury linens by night, heated floors and walls, private en suite bathroom with shower, flat screen TV with video selection, and turndown service. Prestige Class amenities also include personalized concierge service, priority seating in the dining car, and complimentary snacks and drinks in the Park car 24-hours a day.

Onboard, savor the best in Canadian cuisine with a selection of local and regional specialties prepared by onboard chefs and served on the dining car’s elegant china. Three-course lunches and five-course dinners include specialties like Veal Chop with Cajun Spices, Canadian Lake Trout, and Pan-Seared Duck, served with complimentary beer or wine.

Best of all, you can delight in the serenity of traveling by rail as you spend three full days unplugged from the outside world, with the beauty of the Canadian wilderness unfolding before you. This is how train travel was meant to be, and it's truly one of the most beautiful journeys in the world.

See full details on Orbridge's Toronto to Vancouver by Rail program, which combines a once-in-a-lifetime train journey with additional stays at historic hotels in both Toronto and Vancouver.