Nestled in the quad seat of the VIA train from Montreal to Toronto sits the Landry family playing a game of cards on their way to visit their grandparents. The moment is marked by smiles and laughter as they create fond memories of their family time spent on the rails.
“We just love these special times travelling on the train with our kids”, smiled Jennifer Landry who is joined on the trip with her Husband, Richard, and 11-year-old daughter, Mia, and six year-old son, James. “Every year for the holidays we visit my parents in Toronto and we always start the trip on the train. It gives us a chance to reconnect and spend quality time together in comfort without all the hassles of driving.”
This family holiday travel experience is very common on the train according to Mylène Bélanger, Senior Advisor, Media Relations for VIA Rail. “We see more and more families making a concerted effort to spend quality time together and they are choosing to do it on the train”, she explained.
For one VIA Rail can make the journey as exciting and memorable as the destination without all the bathroom breaks, traffic and the stress of driving in potential difficult weather conditions.
“The train is the best way to travel with your family during the holidays and still enjoy the ride”, added Richard Landry. “The seats are roomy and comfortable, you see the beautiful countryside roll by and everyone gets to stretch their legs in the aisle. When you need a washroom, they're just steps away.”
On most routes kids are entitled to special touches that will make their journey even more enjoyable. Younger kids receive upon boarding an activity book which contains a variety of cut-and-paste and coloring activities related to train travel.
Kids and parents can also plug in their laptops or DVD players into power outlets under their seats to watch movies, play games or stay connected for work and leisure with free wireless internet access on the train. Parents with young children enjoy priority boarding and can take advantage of the change tables available in the large washrooms.
When requested in advance, families can sit comfortably in a quad facing each other across a table that is ideal for activities and meals or to just take in the ever-changing landscape.
“We have the pleasure of travelling in business class and by the time we arrive at our destination, I feel completely relaxed, having been pampered for the prior 5 hours”, smiled Jennifer Landry.
Recognizing this trend towards family holiday travel VIA offers great discounts to encourage families to leave the car at home. For example, infants and toddlers under two years of age travel for free on their parent's lap, and children under 12 travel at half of the applicable adult fare on most fare plans in Economy class. Young adults from 12 to 25 years of age inclusive can take advantage of VIA's Youth fares in Economy class.