The train journey to Churchill is a fantastic option to witness Manitoba's landscape. It's a beautiful commute but you will find you'll have some extra hours on your hands. Here are 5 ways to make the most of your time on your journey to Churchill.
#1 Don’t miss out on the chance to make new friends!
The 1,697km (1,055 mi) ride will take roughly 45 hours to complete. There are trains in the world that can travel this distance in just under eight hours, but this two-day train ride is completely worth the time spent. The main reason for this meandering speed is that in some areas of the track, the permafrost (layer of permanently frozen water underground) has warped the tracks, so the train must go slower in these areas– this is part of what makes this train journey unique. Take the opportunity to meet to get to know your fellow travellers at meal times in the dining car, or visit the Park Car to take in the view and make new friends. Whether you are travelling on your own or as part of an organized tour, meeting new people will only add to your adventure.
#2 Consider upgrading to a sleeper car.
Although traveling in Economy Class is, well, economic, taking advantage of the benefits of the Sleeper Car will add to your journey. Travellers staying in the Sleeper Car portion of the train have all their meals included, have access to showers and have comfortable and roomy accommodations, whether they are completely private or semi-private (subject to availability). As well, during the peak summer and autumn months, Sleeper Car travellers have access to VIA Rail’s Park Car.
#3 If you can, take in the view from VIA Rail's Park Car
During peak-travel seasons VIA Rail adds the popular “Park Car” to the Winnipeg-Churchill line. The Park Car includes a clear-topped seating area where travellers enjoy an unobstructed view of the landscape and skies 24/7. The Park Car is a perfect place to meet other travellers, watch as the landscape changes from prairie to tundra, and when the sun goes down, do some star gazing. With Mother Nature’s cooperation, you may get to see northern lights!
#4 Pack some items that will help you pass the time.
Some people will love this slow meandering ride that takes travellers from the prairies through the Boreal forest and finally the vast open tundra landscape, but for others, bringing something along to help pass the time will make the trip go by faster. Bring some travel board games to play with new friends, a couple of books to get lost in or a tablet with some pre-loaded movies - you won't have internet access during your trip. If all else fails, there's nothing quite like daydreaming the day away as the ever-changing landscape rolls by your window.
#5 Relax and enjoy the ride!
On this train trip delays are definitely a possibility. Don’t panic if the train arrives a few hours later than expected – such is rail travel in Canada’s North– consider it part of the adventure and an opportunity to enjoy this unique train trip for just a little longer! If you are planning activities in Churchill (or Winnipeg if you are riding both ways) give yourself some extra time to arrive and get settled rather than planning activities right after the scheduled arrival time. That said, sit back and enjoy your rail journey through beautiful Manitoba – it’s a unique adventure you’ll never forget.
Header image © Dan Harper