Train ride
Go to Calgary

Better by Rail: Train Tours in Western Canada

Train in rockies
Women enjoying the view

Take On the Rockies by Train

When it comes to attractive rail routes, Canada can hold its own against the European ‘classics’. To travel aboard the legendary Rocky Mountaineer or The Canadian through the Rocky Mountains is one of the highlights of a trip to Canada. Banff and Jasper National Parks are about 120 and 400 kilometres from Calgary respectively and make fantastic destinations for a day trip. Or check out the young, hip city of Edmonton, around 300 kilometres north of Calgary. Hop aboard the famous trains in these locations for an unforgettable rail experience.

Via Rail Canada

Glass domed cars of Rocky Mountaineer
Rocky Mountaineer

Pamper Yourself en Route

The Rocky Mountaineer’s glass domed cars allow you to experience the breathtaking landscape of the Rocky Mountains. In the Silver Leaf train class, you’ll be seated in comfortable armchairs in spacious carriages, with on-board staff offering drinks along the way and meals served at your seat. In the Golden Leaf train class, you’ll travel in the double-decker lounge carriage. Upstairs, directly under the glass domed roof, you’ll have an incredible view and an excellent drinks service. For a variety of culinary delights, head downstairs to the dining carriage. The train departs from Banff and travels via Kamloops to Vancouver, with overnight stays in first-class hotels.

Rocky Mountaineer

The Canadian going through Rockies
The Canadian lock

Hotel on Rails: The Canadian

Originating on the east coast of Canada and ending in the western metropolis of Vancouver, The Canadian is the country’s most famous luxury train. You travel in spacious Art Deco-style compartments, that are transformed into comfortable sleeping compartments at night. There are also two observation carriages with panoramic windows and a dining carriage reserved for you on board. In the Prestige Class, you can expect a modern boutique hotel-style atmosphere, luxurious double beds, a shower, a wide-screen tv, a leather sofa, and exclusive services. It’s also possible to book just part of the route, for example from Jasper to Vancouver with one overnight stay.

Alberta Prairie Steam Train
Train conductors

Cross the Prairie by Steam Train

Departing from Stettler, about 220 kilometres northeast of Calgary, you can take the Alberta Prairie Steam Train, a historic steam train with a real spirit of adventure. During the journey, the train is attacked by armed bandits who come racing in out of nowhere on horseback! They rob small change from the passengers, but are then captured and everyone gets their money back – which they can then donate to a local children’s charity at the end of the programme. In the evening, a hearty buffet awaits the passengers at the Country Hideaway in Warden Junction. Veggie burgers can be ordered in advance for vegetarians.

Alberta Prairie Steam Train

Old train in museum
Old train in museum

A Railroad History Experience

The Alberta Railroad Museum, Canada's third largest railroad museum, is located in Edmonton, about 300 kilometres from Calgary. It features a historic railway station with a large water tank, workshops, and exhibits dating from 1899 to the 1950s. The museum also features some 75 historic rail cars and locomotives. Sightseeing tip for Edmonton: take a ride on the High Level Bridge Street Car, a restored 20th century streetcar. During the ride you’ll see the North Saskatchewan River valley from a truly unique perspective and cross the river on the 100-year-old High Level Bridge.

Alberta Railroad Museum

Photo credits