From The Club Car: Rocking the Rails

Here’s an idea. Book a tour with twenty-two people you’ve never met, fly across the Atlantic, get on a transcontinental train like Via Rail’s Canadian and settle back for a 4,500 kilometre journey. Sound far-fetched? Insane? Evidently not. It’s exactly what a group of Brits we recently met on the Canadian had done.

Club car

You might think that by the time these folks had gone from Toronto to Winnipeg, with the prospect of another 48 hours cooped up together still before them, that they would have been bored out of their minds. Nothing could be further from the truth. These were people who had taken full advantage of the communal spaces provided by the club and dining cars and who continued to do so until the moment we said our goodbyes in the Vancouver train station. Their conviviality was contagious.

This was not booze-fuelled partying, mind, though the bar does have a very nice selection of VQA wines and other alcoholic delights. No, the fun came from spending time with experienced travellers who were revelling in new people, new places, new vistas. The kind of people who have worthwhile insights about their own country and sage advice about the places they’ve visited. The kind of people you’ve undoubtedly sat beside on a plane and never said a word to, because that environment so actively discourages it. The kind of people who, given the chance, might become friends.

So, what exactly is a Via Rail club car? Picture the very best neighbourhood pub you’ve ever been in. Now, imagine filling it with interesting people from around the world, putting wheels on it and moving it through some of the most amazing scenery on earth. You’ll find that, whenever the conversation starts to lag, something from the ever changing panorama outside starts it up again, sets it on a new course, leads to new discoveries.

In short, try it. You’ll love it… just like our new friends from England did… and the ones from New Jersey… and China… and Germany…

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