Riding the Rails

image via getty

image via getty

The train feels like such a civilized way to travel. I’ve got more legroom than I could ask for, There’s an outlet for my laptop that actually works, and the air feels fresh. Much fresher than on an airplane at least. There’s also free wifi and video streaming. What more could I possibly ask for?

When did we start neglecting the train? Was it with the arrival of WestJet and Porter Airlines that made domestic air travel so much simpler and more affordable? Probably. Trains can sometimes feel like a relic of an older time. Pioneer days, westward expansion, colonialism. But we forget, here in North America, that all over the world trains are an integral part of a country’s transportation infrastructure.

When I was backpacking through Europe, taking the train between countries and cities seemed like the more natural thing to do. So why does it feel so foreign when I’m right here at home?

Maybe it’s just me, maybe plenty of Canadians take the train around the country regularly, but then why do I hear so little about it?

When I mentioned I was going to Montreal for the weekend, most people assumed I was either going to fly (Porter, of course), or drive. In fact, this is the first time I’ve taken the train anywhere in North America since I was about five years old.

And I have to say: I’m a convert.

It’s so easy, so comfortable, and so affordable, that it makes me feel much more eager to travel around Canada. I’ve got a lot of reasons to visit Montreal on a semi-regular basis, but I’ve always felt daunted by trip. Now that I know it can be done in such comfort, I have a feeling I’ll be venturing that way more often.

Now the real test: will I be brave enough to take the train all the way to Nova Scotia this summer? Stay tuned and we’ll see.