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Updated January 2021
Are you planning a trip to French Canada soon? Have you considered possibly traveling by train from Québec City to Montréal? Well below, I’ll be sharing with you my experience taking the train between these two cities using Via Rail Canada, as well as any relevant tips that can ease your travels between these two beautiful Québec-ian cities.
The truth is, there really isn’t a lot of difficulty in catching a train from Québec City to Montréal, or vice versa, but I remember as I was planning my trip to this part of Canada a few years ago, I wondered how I could visit both cities as easy as possible. Alas, Via Rail Canada (Canada’s main train system) was the first suggestion to pop on my Google search as the best way to get from point A to point B.
For starters, both cities are not too far from each other; the train ride lasted around 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Québec City has two train stations: Gare du Palais and Sainte Foy. The difference between both stations is that Gare du Palais is the main station, with various departure and arrival trains, while Sainte Foy is a smaller station, and it’s a stop for trains passing by. When booking our train tickets, it was a little difficult at first to try to figure out which was the main train station, or where other people usually went however based on a few reviews online, we decided to depart from Gare du Palais, which is also closer to Old Québec in comparison to Sainte Foy.
Gare du Palais
If you’re departing from Gare du Palais, I recommend (along with everyone) that you should walk around and marvel at the beauty of the building because I meaaaannn….the appearance definitely lives up to the name.
Interior of Gare du Palais
On the other end, in Montréal you will find not 1 or 2 but 4 train stations: Montréal Central Station, Montréal Trudeau Int’l Airport, Droval, and Sauvé, which can be confusing at first but if you are looking to go into the downtown area and to the old, historic Montréal, the Montréal Central Station will most likely be your best option.
In Québec City, getting to the train station from our airbnb was not hard, we took an uber and within 10 minutes we were there. Our airbnb wasn’t inside the traditional, pretty old Québec City part, but we were nearby the area so just as reference 🙂 (10 min. by car)
Now, when it comes to actually booking your ticket, below is a guide as to what to expect when you are purchasing tickets online.
1-Go to Via Rail Canada’s website, or follow this link. Here you will find the following
2– Simply type in your starting and ending destination, in this case, you’ll see Québec City and Montréal as the traveling destinations. After that, simply populate the rest with dates, as well as when you would like to travel; morning, afternoon, evening, and then click book now.
P,S. If you’re worried about what may happen in the event that you may need to cancel your VIA Rail Canada tickets, then not to worry! There are options if you cannot make it to your train on the date of departure, which you can find the full breakdown here in this easy-to-read guide!
3– Now you will have all the options ready for you, this is when things get a little more detailed. Here you will look at your options for that date, and just like anywhere else, you have different prices options, with the least expensive being Escape and the most expensive being Business Plus. Now for this example, keep in mind that I only selected one way. The price reflected on there reflects the one-way price and in Canadian currency. Essentially, you could get to Montréal Central Station from Québec City Gare du Palais with 50$ CAD (~$39 UDS). Not too bad.
Furthermore, you’ll find the train number for each train, the departure times, arrival time to the destination as well as the duration of the trip. Simple and easy to follow.
4– Once you select your train, you simply click on circle underneath the price, and then you’ll get a little bit of more information. You’ll find what is available on your train, as well as any other added bonuses or information. After you just go ahead and click continue.
5-Here now you will find your itinerary to review and make sure is correct. You’ll have the departure, arrival times, the class, train number, date of departure (and arrival if were to have been an overnight train journey), as well as the fare details and breakdown. You’ll see that the total would have come out to 56. 34$ CAD (~$44.00 USD) for one way with taxes and fees.
6-Afterwards, it’ll take you to a login page or it’ll ask for a few of your personal details to have you check out as guest, and then you continue to purchase you ticket and voilá! You have yourself a one way to Montréal! You will receive the your ticket via the email address you provided in the purchasing process within minutes of the purchase, and one thing to keep in mind is that they do require a print out of your ticket when boarding. So make sure that you have your train ticket printed out and ready to go the day of departure.
The booking process is pretty painless as you can see, and they do have free online cancellation for 24 hours after the purchase of your ticket and before the actual departure of your scheduled train, whichever comes first.
When it comes to baggage policy, they seem to be pretty reasonable. I didn’t have any issues with my carry-on wheeled luggage and personal item but below find the small print of baggage allowance…
Overall, my experience on the actual journey wasn’t bad! The only thing I will say is that the wifi on the train was going in and out, and it was not reliable to load anything online, much less stream a movie on Netflix or a YouTube video, so be wary of that. Other than that, the train ride was nice, quiet, and comfortable. They have snacks for purchase, and they pass by with a little cart selling drinks, sandwiches, and chip snacks and they have a bathroom (or 2, I can’t remember) in each train cart. Before you know it, time passes quickly and you end up in Montréal 🙂
Read More: Follow Me Around Québec City, Canada
So next time that you may find yourself in Québec City and want to take that 3 hours and a half trip to Montréal (or vice versa), don’t think twice and just do it! The purchasing process is simple as you saw, and it’s not too expensive either, so what do you have to lose? 🙂