Sunday, 28 January 2018

Planning Summer 2018: Quebec to Moncton on ViaRail's Ocean

In the past, we've only blogged trips on Little Rabbit's Planning. After a couple of days of migraine-inducing marathon planning for Summer 2018, I set myself a limit of 1 hour/day and decided to blog the process.

From Wikipedia: The Ocean, in the kind of weather you really get!

Getting to the station

On Friday July 27 to Saturday July 28, we ride the Ocean overnight train from Montreal to Halifax. The train arrives at Quebec Sainte-Foy Station at 22.34 and leaves 15 minutes later. Sainte-Foy is a tiny place about 10km out of Quebec city centre. There's not much there and we'll be checking in just over an hour before departure so bring a book! We should expect to eat dinner in Quebec fairly early: a ViaRail shuttle bus departs Gare du Palais at 20.45, connecting Ocean passengers to Sainte-Foy. NOTE TO SELF: Book the shuttle tickets.


If we leave our bags at the hotel for the day we need to allow a 10-15 minute walk to the station after picking them up. For the amount of luggage we have, we can either use the Ocean's system of checked luggage or carry everything on board. As we're likely to be in and out of our cabin, checking our luggage has advantages, but we will need to plan accordingly when we pack.

The Ocean

We have a two-person cabin with a shower, washbasin and private toilet. It sounds very comfortable, but I have heard a few warnings about the excessively cooling nature of the AC, so bring warm clothing! At some point during the morning, our couchettes will be transformed into seats. Even so, we will certainly get better views from the Lounge Car and the Observation Car.

During the night, the Ocean will hug the southern bank of the St Lawrence under a full moon as far as Mont-Joli, but despite the enticing names of the Quebecois towns, I don't expect to surface until after Matapedia, round about 6.30 am. By then, the train will have crossed the Gaspe Peninsula and started its journey along the Baie des Chaleurs. At around 9.30, it heads inland again, as far as Moncton. Prime viewing time is therefore between 7.00 and 9.30 am.

Breakfast and lunch

Two meals in the restaurant car are included in the price our our ticket. Breakfast is first-come, first-served from 6.30am. I hear it is advisable to turn up early, before some items run out. A 3-course lunch is served from 11.30, and reservations will be taken beforehand. As we leave the train at Moncton at 13.23, we will want one of the earlier seatings.

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