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Train from Windsor to Toronto

Rochester Hills...
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Train from Windsor to Toronto

I live north of Detroit and may have the need to do some weekly commutes up to Toronto. Any experience on the general quality of service on this route with such things as on time performance, ability to work on train, etc......???

The quality of train service in the USA with AMTRAK is generally poor as compared to other countires, but I have no experience with Canadian rail.

Also, is there much of a difference between economy and business class (besides cost) ?

Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks !


Toronto, Canada
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1. Re: Train from Windsor to Toronto

I've done this route, both ways, several times. Business class is ok when you can book it far enough in advance to get the deep discount fare. Basically you get a meal (similar to what an economy meal used to be like on legacy airlines) and drinks. They'll serve you quite a bit if you like. I've never sat in the business car when there has been more than 10 passengers. You have plenty of room to work.

Economy is usually quite crowded, and cramped as well. I've used my netbook without any problems in terms of space. It's more room than your average airline economy seat, but it is quite no-frills. They come around with a food/drink cart but I never pay much attention to what's on it.

In terms of on-time performance, I've had a couple of problems - but both were due to weather. The first was a massive lightning/rain storm - we just stopped in the middle of nowhere. Not sure if the problem was us, the storm, or an issue somewhere else with the track. Last summer we were over by about an hour due to speed restrictions, because the rails were too hot.

Really, i prefer to drive - but sometimes it is a nice way to make this trip. I live in the west end of Toronto so driving is generally faster for me; the train is about 4 hours, the drive is 3:15-3:45, depending on traffic. Sometimes even faster.

The key is to book well in advance, the earlier, the better price you will get. They often have sales and discount codes available (check out visaperks.ca) - and I have a 7.5% off code due to industry association that I use when there are no other discounts available.

Rochester Hills...
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2. Re: Train from Windsor to Toronto

Thanks for the info !


Ottawa, Canada
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3. Re: Train from Windsor to Toronto

Hi IslandMB,


I LOVE the train… and have used it often for travel in the Windsor to Quebec City Corridor… Quebec CityMontrealOttawaKingstonTorontoNiagara Falls – Windsor… all cities linked by various routes. This is Canada’s highest populated area, and where trains are the most frequent. The train is popular with Tourists, Seniors, Families and Students. Via 1 is particularly popular with Business Travellers (less hassle than flying… and better service).

Via 1 (First Class / Business Class) is certainly a relaxing way to travel… you get excellent service… a far better option than just Coach / Comfort Class. A Private Waiting Lounge in most locations, Advance Boarding, some baggage help, and much like the old days of air travel… a good meal with nice perks. (Wifi – Newspapers… sometimes Magazines – Snacks – Appy & Drinks – 3 Course Meal – Wine Service – Coffee & After Dinner Drinks (sometimes chocolates) and Hot Towels. Also the VIA 1 Class tends to be less crowded, so you can spread out a bit.

As OZCANUCK said there “can be” a fair bit of alcohol served… shortly after boarding they offer Cocktails with Appys, then Wine Service with the Meal (usually 2 Glasses) and After-Dinner Drinks later. Lol, if you are a drinker, then this can certainly be a perk against the cost of the train ticket.

The meal is 3 courses… Rolls & Butter – Salad – Main Dish (there is 2 Choices) – Dessert – and Tea & Coffee. I find the food to be decent, and quite frankly a good way to “fill up time” especially on longer hauls (good deal on a 3 Hour plus trip).

Via 1 is an expensive option, but the train books up like an airline… so the earlier you purchase the better the deal… SuperSaver Fares are the least expensive, and usually require booking at least 21 Days in Advance. There can also be deals if you purchase a round-trip ticket (I’ve seen the combo of SuperSaver and Return come in at about 50% off). Last minute travel is certainly the most expensive.

As to reliability… for the most part the train is a good option… I usually add in a bit of flexibility… maybe 30 Minutes extra… as Freight Trains in Canada do have priority over Passenger Service (in many cases they use the same line, or even if they need to cross one another’s route diagonally… Guessing that is what OZCANUCK was waiting for out in the middle of no-where)

Where Via excels though is in bad weather… the train is the most reliable option during snowstorms… keeping to their regular schedules far more than Bus Service, and not having the issues that Planes or Driving options would have to deal with.

If you have any more Questions about Train Service, just ask… other than self-driving, it is my preferred method of travel in this part of Quebec & Ontario.



Oakville, Canada
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4. Re: Train from Windsor to Toronto

Yup beats driving - especially in the winter - and you arrive much less tired (may be influenced by the number of drinks in Via 1).

Via 1 is worth it for me as you can work enroute which I would say is difficult in economy, but then I can charge the fare to work. The wireless is functional if mildly annoying as it keeps dropping and reconnecting as you go through the countryside but does enable you to do more than you might on just a blackberry - but if good connection is really important get a broadband USB wireless thingy.

Edited: 19 August 2010, 20:37
Montreal, Canada
Destination Expert
for Quebec, Montreal, Quebec City, Mont Tremblant, Miami, Miami Beach
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5. Re: Train from Windsor to Toronto

I think that Wine-4-2 and Spold905 sold you on Via 1. If you can afford it or if it is business than great. There are rebates for reservations way ahead but less so than for Via 2. Also Via 1 is the nicest at dinner time. You get all of what Wine described, a bit less for lunch and breeakfast, well you pay the same price for a small omelette and garnish and, of course, no booze.

As for reliability it used to be very iffy but for the last few years it has improved greatly. But lately I have used only the Mtl /To trip, Windsor only some times ago so I cannot really vouch for that part of our "corridor". But sure beats the plane or the car anytime during winter!

6. Re: Train from Windsor to Toronto

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