Montreal is a road trip that we take frequently. But this time, we decided to take the train from Toronto to Montreal. We were looking forward to going from downtown to downtown in comfort without the hassle of traffic.
Via Rail from Toronto to Montreal Train
- Why Take the Train
- What to Expect on the Train
- Toronto’s Union Station
- Cost of Train Travel from Toronto to Montreal
- Montreal Central Station
Two of Canada’s greatest cities are just a quick 5-hour drive along highway 401 (short by Canadian standards) but they couldn’t be more different. Toronto is the English speaking financial hub of the country with skyscrapers dominating the skyline while Montreal is the country’s cultural center balancing its historic French heritage with modern-day living.
Most people that live in Ontario prefer to take a road trip to Montreal, but other options of traveling to Montreal from Toronto are plane and bus. Flights leave frequently from Billy Bishop and Pearson Airports and the Greyhound and Megabus leave from Bay Street, the centre of the financial district.
Taking the train
Taking the train is my favourite option as it takes us to and from the heart of one city to another. Plus when taking the train, we don’t have to worry about the cost of parking downtown and we don’t have to fight the heavy traffic leaving the city every day.
It can actually end up being more cost-efficient to take the train to Montreal rather than driving. For tourists it saves on costs of car rentals or the hassle of standing in long lines at airports.
Via Rail is Canada’s national passenger railway and now in 2020, I expect more Canadians will choose the train over plane when it comes to their favourite choice of transportation.
What to Expect
The train from Toronto takes about five hours which is the same amount as driving.
- Complimentary wifi service is also provided.
- They provide power outlets for your electronics.
- And sturdy trays to either work on your laptop or to put your food and drinks on.
- The reclining seats are spacious and comfortable.
- There is an abundance of legroom, the seats and windows are spotless and the temperature onboard is perfect.
Our little Canadian Railway, Via Rail has become fast, modern, and efficient. Meals aren’t included in the price of the ticket on the train, but you can bring your own food. There is also a vendor comes around regularly selling snacks, coffee, and soft drinks.
The toilets on the train are clean. It is wonderful to go into a bathroom where people actually care about the person going in next. There are signs asking everyone to clean up after themselves and low and behold, they do!
Looking for a place to stay in Montreal? Make sure to check our guide of Where to Stay and What to do in Montreal!
From Toronto Union Station
Trains depart in Toronto at Union Station. Union Station is a Grand Old Station dating back to the 1920’s. The main entrance is a great hall with vaulted ceilings and marble floors. There is plenty of shopping, dining and places to pick up snacks for the ride.
In 1975 Union Station was designated a national historic site due to its beautiful Beaux-Arts style architecture. It is considered one of the greatest train stations built during the 20th century.
Security Boarding the Trains
One thing we were surprised about was that there are no security checks. We also didn’t have to check our bags. When taking the train, you only need to check in 30 minutes before departure if you have your ticket in hand.
Cost of Train to Montreal from Toronto
The cost of train travel has come down a lot in recent years. Escape Tickets from Toronto to Montreal start as low as $46 one way.
- The other classes of train travel on Via Rail are:
- Economy Plus
- Business Class
- Business Plus
The Escape class offers no refund or transfer. Economy Plus offers free exchange or refunds. If it were the same price as the Spring sale all year round, I am sure that more Canadians would look to train travel as an option to travel through this vast and fabulous country.
Via often offers deals.
We booked our ticket during their Spring Seat sale for 50% off. You can keep an eye out for deals here.
There are also deals each Tuesday when booking for the following week at Discount Tuesday here.
Montreal Train Station
Montreal Train station is located downtown and is easily accessible to Old Montreal and St. Catherines Street. Like Union Station it is the central Metro hub of the city and it is easy to connect to anywhere you want to go. I know that we will make our summer travel plans and Via Rail will be a big part of it if they have their spring sale again.
Read More About Toronto and Montreal
13 thoughts on “Traveling by Via Rail Canada – Toronto to Montreal Train”
Thanks for sharing this amazing piece of content. A very nice blog
1980 Via Rail train from Kitchener ON to Calgary AB $123 one way
2018 Via Rail train from Edmonton (no station in calgary) AB to Woodstock ON $388 (but I bought the Canadian Pass for $880)
Which means I can really travel and enjoy the train
Via vs Amrak…. booking a month ahead to get max. discounts.
Price comparison Via vs Amtrak…..
Via… from Stratford, On. to Toronto return = $60 (200 miles return)
Amtrak… from Ann Arbor Mi. to Chicago return = $66 ( 480 miles return)
I rest my case.
Just another example of overpriced transportation in our country.
Great reviews guys. Really interesting to read about Canadians propensity to drive long diatances too. I met quite a number of Canadians on my trip to Edmonton taking the train for the first time. It’s a good point about the lack of security checks, but of course this is one of the reasons why the train is less hassle. Just hope it stays that way
So true, trains are less of a hassel and way more fun. They just need to bring the prices down a bit in Canada and maybe more people will start taking them. Enjoy your travel!
Glad you had a good time! I found this post a little strange though. You make it sound like no one travels on the train these days; like it’s some kind of anachronistic thing. But lots of Canadians use the train regularly – particularly business people in the Quebec-Windsor corridor wanting to work while they travel, and university students. In fact, some of us use the train so much that we’d really appreciate it if more rail lines could be put in. Many parts of the corridor only have a single track, meaning a blockage at one spot can stall the whole system. And tracks in other parts of the country were progressively removed in the later 20th century by misguided bureaucrats who thought no one would take the train in the future. Now we found ourselves behind the times!
I agree with you that train travel is too expensive in this country. But that has a lot to do with level of service and reliability. If there were more destinations, there would be more passengers, and that could lower fares.
Hi JP, You are right. I guess just nobody in our circle of friends travels by train. But while we road it, train travel was definitely alive and well. You are so right when you say we are behind the times. The rest of the world has excellent train systems and if only large companies would learn that if you make things more affordable, more people would take it and then they would make more money. Where has the concept of volume gone? So true, Via Rail needs to make more destinations and more areas of service creating more affordability and them maybe more people would take the trains. It goes for public transit in our cities too. Thanks for the great insight!
Good information to know about trains in Canada! I hear what you’re saying. Trains in the US can be pricey too. If you’re only saving $40 over the cost of airfare, but the trip is 7 hours long vs 2 hours long, it’s really better to fly. Our time is worth something. If they want us to travel by train, they’ve got to make it not just a lot cheaper, but more convenient, not less.
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The train looks shitty but free wi-fi sinks the deal for me!
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Wow. I get what you mean about being in love with our cars in Canada. My mom used to take the Via Rail route from Toronto to Montreal with her girlfriends for a girls weekend when I was a kid. Since then I never hear about anyone taking the train!.
We are off to NYC and then to Foxwoods CT for our anniversary. Warren has business in NYC, then we are off to celebrate. We are flying to New York, but then how do we get to New London CT (the closest town to Foxwoods CT). We looked at a few options and decided on the train. I am looking forward to the 2 1/2 hour journey.
One advantage to taking the train to Montreal over driving is that you can sleep or do work to pass the time. Driving it can be a little difficult especially for the driver.
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What a bargain! The same goes here in the US as well. Train travel seems like a fun way especially for family with kids but after checking price and adding up the cost of everything sometimes it’s better to just fly.
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The only time I have ever taken the train in Canada was in university. When going home to Saint John, NB from Halifax I would take the train to Moncton and from there the bus. It wasn’t a particularly pleasant journey. It was long and it was expensive. Once I had a car, I always drove. 4 hours and I was home. I have always wanted to do a cross-Canada train trip though but the high price has kept me from it.
You’re right about Canadians and driving. Andrew and I drive everywhere. Our European friends think we are nuts to drive to the south of France for a long weekend, but hey, We drove from Halifax to Toronto for a concert and back the next day. We like to drive 🙂
I do love trains here though compared to flying. You don’t have to be 2 hours early for a train journey, you aren’t treated like a criminal and wonder of wonders, you can even take a bottle of water on board with you 🙂
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Love your photos! Glad you enjoyed your trip to Montreal onboard and I’m completely jealous about your summer plans in France!
Very much agree with your take on TO’s Union Station – it’s such a beautiful building, and yet so many of the city’s commuters are shuttled through underground passages BELOW it! It’s undergoing a big reno now, so we’ll see if the Grand Hall will get more traffic… I really enjoyed this article last week in Toronto Life about the future of the station: http://www.torontolife.com/daily/informer/from-print-edition-informer/2010/04/28/the-lost-station/
Vivian is Virtual
VIA Rail’s tour guide
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