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I'm thinking about traveling from Vancouver to Toronto in early December, on ViaRail. But I often get a little chilly on Amtrak from Vancouver to Seattle, and I'm worried that going through the Rockies will be uncomfortably cold for me. Does the cabin stay reasonably warm (high teens to low twenties)? And when the train makes station stops, how bad are the drafts?

Update: I took the trip, and I was comfortably warm the entire time. Station stops did not send chills through the cabin. However, the vestibule areas between cars are not insulated, so wearing a light hoodie made walking between cars more comfortable. The hoodie was also nice in the observation car, which was cooler than the rest of the train. I brought a blanket, but I could have stayed warm without it.

The train made a few stops where we could get out, walk around, and buy some food. Having warm clothes was essential for these. Winnipeg's waterfront district was beautiful, but it was -15º that night.

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Hah, I've been wondering this very question. Viarail seems to have some decent deals on, but 2-3 days shivering would not be ideal... –  Mark Mayo Oct 15 '12 at 0:38
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@Evan don't the Canadians know heating systems? –  RoflcoptrException Oct 15 '12 at 5:37
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Here in Sweden I find the opposite to be true many times, if the heating works at all it will be turned waaaay up. Seeing as most of us wear a lot of clothes I feel it is rather stuffy and uncomfortable. Praise the Canadian rails if it is decent temp. That said I agree it should be around 22-25 degrees C. I'm following this question, hoping someone will find out. Did anyone try writing the service provider and asing what their own regulations say? –  Alendri Oct 16 '12 at 12:31
    
Thanks for the update! Sounds fantastic, and is tentatively on my schedule for March... –  Mark Mayo Dec 9 '12 at 20:33
    
+1 for the update. btw, how about overall cost ? –  kmonsoor Mar 27 at 11:49
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The trains have both heating systems for the winter and cooling systems for the summer. I have not ridden through the Rockies, but I have ridden in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal zone and never noticed temperature to be an issue. In the winter you will have your coat etc with you because you will need it for outside. You won't need to layer on sweaters or bring a blanket. Your coat will doubtless be hung up or be in an overhead compartment, and your hat, gloves and scarf with it. (The brochure from Via says "You may want to bring a sweater as temperatures on the train may vary" which is a useful disclaimer. Sweater. Not sweater, jacket, and blanket.)

It's possible that if you were right by the door, you might feel a draft while the train was at a station. I always take Via 1 and there are no seats by the door, just baggage compartments and the galley, so I can't speak to that. However the door isn't open much because the stations are hours apart. It's also possible that if the sun was really streaming in through a window that you would feel hot. You could close the blinds if that happened.

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An ambiguous of sorts.

1) The temperature inside is going to fluctuate based on the outside temperature and whether it is day or night.

2) Define warm? For me, I can handle the cold a lot better than you apparently can. A comfortable warm cabin for me could be too chilly for you.

Your best option is to bring a sweater, a jacket, and a blanket and you can wrap yourself in layers depending on the indoor temperature and how long the doors stay open for.

I've always though that planes/trains/etc keep a cooler temperature than most people would like. Reason being, it's a lot easier for you individually to keep yourself warm than it is to keep yourself cool.

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agreed, it's way more annoying to be on a overheated bus/train, you cannot do anything to make it better. –  Vince Oct 26 '12 at 7:02
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Also in the winter most people are wearing warm boots (for walking to and from the station) which they won't remove. Another reason to keep it just a little cooler than room temperature. –  Kate Gregory Oct 26 '12 at 20:56
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