Having travelled from New York up to Montreal on the Amtrak Ariondak which was a less than spectacularly slow 10 hour service, our next stop was Ottawa. Our Montreal hotel was the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, chosen by us as the railway station is a simple elevator ride down under the hotel.
The trip to Ottawa was uneventful and quite speedy but was very pleased to find out that included within our moderatly priced seniors tickets business class ticket was a hot lunch accompanied by wine. It was somewhat akin to an airline service, but there was a choice of two hot meals and on this part of our cross Canada trail by railway, we had pleasent stewards who made sure that my glass was topped up more than once in complete contrast to the service from Toronto to Vancouver where wine on this very expensive $2000 rail journey was chargable.
If you are travelling to / from Ottawa on the Ottawa - Toronto train, you don't have to head to the Main Train Station (200 Tremblay Road). There is a small station in the West End; Fallowfield in Barrhaven (3347 Fallowfield Road). So anyone travelling to Nepean, Kanata, Stittsville, etc, this is a good alternative.
Unfortunately the train station here in Ottawa was moved in the Sixties out of the downtown core and is located presently about a fifteen minute cab ride out of or into the downtown core...ifff traffic is good and there are no accidents,no bad weather to contend with and its a smooth sail...otherwise its likely a different story and therefore unpredictable!
In the past few years Via Rail has added a small station in the suburban West end area of the city called Barhaven...The stop is referred to as Fallowfield...and is located you guessed it on a road called Fallowfield.The addition if this stop enables easier access to the population living in the western part of the city.
Access to Public Transit is directly across from the main entrance to the Station.
NO public storage lockers exist here but for a $ 3.00 charge baggage can be stored with the baggage department.
Its been eons since I used the train for anything but I recently made a little journey to Quebec City and for regional travel the train is a great mode of transport Ive discovered.I had to make a transfer in Montreal but it was easy!
Given the costs of gasoline and parking these days the train is kind of a no-brainer.My return ticket to Quebec City round trip with tax included was $ 147.00...cheaper than it would cost me to drive and park for three nights...
The station in Ottawa is not large and is easy to figure out....the ticket booth is easily located just inside the front doors and the station is serviced with Public Transit...
The address is 200 Tremblay Road and is off of the Alta Vista Parkway in the South East of the city.
Ottawa'a main railway station used to be Union Station, located in the city centre in the building that is now the Government Conference Centre next to the Rideau Canal. The present station was built in 1966, as part of the National Capitol Commision's tidying-up of the city centre, and is about 4 kilometres to the southeast of downtown at 200 Tremblay Road (just off the Queensway (417)).
This is a bit of a stark, functional, building - although it did win the Governor General's Massey Prize for architecture the year after it was completed and is in fact designated as a Heritage Railway Station. Personally its not one of my favourite railway stations but it does have all the necessary facilities including baggage storage.
The station provides regular Via Rail services to and from Toronto and Montreal from where the rest of the network can be accessed.
Getting to and from the station by public transport is about a 15 minute journey from downtown by OCTranspo buses, 94,95, 101 and 102, getting off, appropriately, at Train. The station is also well-serviced by local taxis.
The train station for Ottawa is located a little ways from the center of town - it used to be right on the Rideau Canal across from Elgin Street. But it is very reachable by public transportation - particularly by fast busses that zoom out speeding on special lanes.
I took the train from Ottawa to Montreal. The trip took about 2 hours each way, and my Return ticket was around $85.
Name me a city that has the central train station 15 km south of downtown? You got that right ... the answer is Ottawa. Sometime in the mid 60s, or even later (don?t know the date exactly) the counselors of this city decided to move the train station from downtown (5 min walk from the Parliament Buildings) to the Alta Vista area. I am sure they had their reasons at the time, but right now the move looks totally illogical. The old central train station building is still standing in downtown Ottawa, but it is now being used as an exhibition centre or maybe a museum; don?t really know as I have never been inside. I just shake my head every time I walk past it.
The new train station is fairly modern, with lots of parking, and is located on the transitway, so overall it is still easily reachable. VIA rail is the national rail company of Canada, and it serves Ottawa quite nicely. Frequent trains run to and from Montreal (2hrs) and Toronto (4hrs).
Prices with the ISIC card are as follows: One way to Montreal around 25$, one way to Toronto $50. Without the card, expect to pay 30% more.
Trains are comfortable, but not as fast as the ones across Europe. They are also hardly ever full, so last minute tickets should be available.
To get to downtown, take bus 95 BASELINE / FALLOWFIELD. Should take about 15 min or so. A cab ride from the train station to downtown im guessing would be around 20$.
In May 1989, we took a tour on an old steam train that travelled around Ottawa, through a tunnel going under Dow's Lake in the middle of the city, across a bridge to Hull/Gatineau, and back to the Museum of Science and Technology. It was really cool!
Most of us who were from Eastern Canada travelled by VIA Rail to get to Ottawa. We boarded it in Moncton, spent the night on the train, and switched trains in Montreal in the morning. The train is a great place to chat and get to know people, and we also had a very comic moment. The train porter, Dimitri, knew from our name tags that we were on our way to the Terry Fox Centre, so he told us a funny story: "Don't fall in love! Every time I see the Terry Fox girls coming back they're always crying because they'll never see that guy again... It breaks my heart to see them cry... Love is a wonderful thing but don't fall in love!" It became an inside joke among us Maritimers.
On the way back home, we took the train again. Fortunately, Dimitri didn't see Chelsea crying her eyes out... (not over a guy, it was because she would soon part with her new best friend...).
On an overnight VIA rail train, you have the option of having a coach seat (cheapest), a bunk, a single room, or a room for 2-3 people. If you're only travelling a few hours, you'll be in coach.
Ride the O-Train once in Ottawa if you get a chance.
This type of local transportation is still an experimental stage and expected to expand in the near future. The train system has been developed by a famous Canadian company, Bombardier and it was implemented into the Ottawa urban epicenter to ease road traffic on the streets. The route is not very long but quiet interesting. The price of the ticket is only $2- which is not much and the train will take you from station Greenboro to Bayview. There are five stations all together. Each station has one platform for both directions of travel except Carleton Station which has a separate platform for each direction accessed via a pedestrian underpass. I hope the O-Train will expand in the future and we'll see more of these red, futuristic looking trains cruising around town.
There are also plans to create a high speed train going from Kanata to Orleans. These are the two districts at the opposite side of the city, (East end & West end) This would greatly loosen traffic on the already congested Highway 417 (Queensway)
Hope you have a chance to ride the O-Train when you come to Ottawa. If you do, enjoy! :)
I took a VIA rail overnight train to Ottawa and absolutely loved it! I think travelling by train is one of the best ways to see the countryside while you're enroute to your final destination.
I had a lower berth, so I had a comfy seat during the day, and an even more comfortable bed at night! There's always lots to do, you can spend hours just looking out the windows! As well, the people you meet on the train are always interesting and definitely entertaining!
The train I took stops in Montreal, and then has a 2 hour layover until you pick up your connecting train to Ottawa.
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