Saturday, August 23, 2014

Business Trip on VIA Rail's The Canadian

Getting ready to leave Winnipeg.

Like many other people in business, I travel a lot for my work. About once a month, usually. And almost always by plane.

But not for my last business trip. For that one, from Winnipeg to Vancouver, I took the train. 

View from the dome car.

Why the train? Not just because I like traveling by train, but because it would afford me some much-needed time to work, think and plan.

Like many other people in management, my work can rapidly pile up. One reason why is all the interruptions; one study found that managers are interrupted, on average, every eight minutes. No wonder it’s so hard to get things done!

Stopover in Melville, SK.

With my to-do list growing, and a trip to B.C. on the schedule for mid-August, I decided to find grab some quiet time for work by taking the two-day, two-night trip on VIA Rail’s The Canadian from Winnipeg to Vancouver.

My mobile "office" in the dome car.

For some, that’s a lot of time to be away from the office. But I had my “office” with me on my laptop, and the train provided great office space with wonderful views from the dome or Panorama cars. 

My other mobile "office," in the Panorama car.

Meals provided a welcome break, and a chance to get to know other travelers. I was able to enjoy meals with people from Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Italy, as well as from other parts of Canada

The dining car.

Along with good food, we were offered champagne and hor d’ouveres when leaving Jasper, beer tasting of local craft beers, movies and presentations by knowledgeable VIA Rail staff about points of interest along the way.

Hale & Hearty in the Jasper station.

My trip also featured live music, in this case Rachel Capon and Eli Bender of the folk duo Hale & Hearty.

The two string players were taking part in VIA’s Artists Onboard program, which offers free or reduced-cost travel for musicians. In return, they played three times each day on the train, and once each in the Winnipeg and Jasper stations.

Watching the sunset.

By the time we arrived in Edmonton, we were about three hours late due to a procession of freight trains from the other direction. But we made up most of the time west of the city, especially once we hit the directional-running west of Kamloops.

Stopover in Jasper.

CNR 6015 U-1-a on display in Jasper.

We arrived in Vancouver’s Pacific Central Station only an hour behind the scheduled 9:42 AM arrival.

Arrival in Vancouver.

As we rolled into Vancouver, I could look back on time well spent. I had caught up on lots of work, and was also able to prepare for upcoming meetings.

On-board activities.

Best of all, I arrived relaxed, rested and well-fed, and with a heightened appreciation for the size and beauty of this country.

A full article about my business trip on VIA Rail was published in the Sept. 13 issue of the Winnipeg Free Press. Click here to read it.

To book your travel on VIA Rail, go to

There is a tunnel or two.

Stopover in Edmonton.


  1. Great reminders of our trip in 2011! Glad you enjoyd it, John.

  2. A great story John. My son and I just took the train from Edmonton to Jasper. It was his first trip. By the way, we were delayed 6 hours due to the busy freight traffic of the day