When my iPhone’s alarm went off at 5:00AM, my parents got up first to get ready for our 6:40AM Via Rail Corridor Train to Quebec City via Montreal. Once everyone was ready, bags packed and everything double checked for anything left behind, I used my Marriott App to checkout before heading out of the room. Originally, I considered walking to Union Station from our hotel, but at this time in the morning, I really did not feel like it anymore so I hailed Uber on my iPhone to come pick us up. Our Uber was about half a mile away from our hotel but at this time in the morning without any traffic, the car arrived quickly.Our Uber Driver got out of his car and helped us put our three luggage into the trunk, and after a quick hello after getting in the car, the driver drove us to Union Station. We were dropped off a little past the taxi stand and once again, the driver got out and got our luggage out of the trunk for us. Immediately after parting ways, I gave the driver a 5 star rating and tipped him via the new feature on the Uber App. With myself leading the way, my parents and I headed inside the main station building where I found our train on the information display board. It showed that boarding would start in about 10 minutes so I decided not to go off trying to find the Business Class Lounge and instead go directly to the platform shown on the information board. A line had already formed for our train when we arrived at the entrance to the platform. There were no visible signs for a separate business class line so we joined at the back of the line that had already formed. At Toronto’s Union Station, the walkway to the train platform is underground and there are escalators leading up to each numbered boarding platform. Passengers are kept in the walkway area until boarding time when passengers are let through after having their tickets inspected. As it got closer to boarding time, Via Rail employees began rolling out equipment such as scales to weight people’s luggage to confirm that they were within required weight range. Shortly after the equipment were setup, one of the employees called for business class passengers to come forward to board. My parents and I got out of the line we were in and headed up to the front after we heard the announcement. My luggage was weighed and a sticker saying that the weight was good was placed on it. Then, before being allowed on the escalator up to the train, our tickets were verified and scanned. Once we were up on the platform, Via Rail employees guided us to the front of the train which was where car 1, the business class car was located. Once we got to car 1, we were greeted by two employees and welcomed aboard. To get to our seats, we went through the galley area of the business class car and then placed our three luggage in the designated luggage racks before finding our seats. My parents were sitting together and I was sitting across the aisle from them in the single seat. Via Rail’s Corridor business class is setup in 1+2 configuration and coach in 2+2 configuration. Just before departure time, business class attendants came through explaining how to open the emergency windows to passengers who were sitting in the emergency exit row. My parents were sitting on the side with the emergency window but after the business class attendant looked at them for a sec, she then turned to me and asked me if I could assist during an emergency instead of asking my parents. After the business class attendant left, I cracked up laughing and so did my parents. Obviously, to the business class attendant, my parents looked too old to break the window and help escape during an emergency. Once the train got moving, the business class attendants came though the car scanning tickets. On our train today, there were 3 attendants but 1 of them was aboard being trained by the other 2. Service started with beverage carts coming through the aisle offering juice, coffee or tea. We were also asked if we wanted coffee with breakfast and if we did, we were given a mug during the beverage service. Morning beverage service was followed shortly afterwards with hot towel service. Announcements were made in both English and French regarding the two choices for breakfast aboard our train today. The choices were omelet with asparagus, potatoes and sausage or cold cereal with fresh fruit.
Two breakfast carts were rolled out and each one started from each end of the car. The attendant in training was trained on our half of the business class car. The attendant in training was trained pretty thoroughly including on the how to position the meal tray, serving ladies first etc.. When the meal cart came to our row, my parents and I all chose the omelet. We also had a choice of either a croissant or a bagel and the bagel even came with cream cheese. More juice, coffee, tea or both were offered with the breakfast meal tray. I think everyone who boarded in Toronto got their first choice but others who boarded down the line were not so lucky.The breakfast tasted decent. MUCH better tasting than omelets usually served on airplanes. The asparagus was not over cooked and the potatoes were cooked just right. The omelet was called “Western Omelet” and what made it “Western” was a little bit of salsa that was on in it. I would have preferred more salsa or even some on the side. The side of fruit was fresh and perfectly ripened. The sausage that came with the omelet was good, but I would have preferred it cooked on the griddle vs reheated in an oven. Just my preference. The meal came with real silverware and NOT plasticware! Trays were cleared away after plenty of time had been given for people to enjoy their breakfast. I also overheard other passengers request more croissants and drinks and not one time did I hear the attendants say NO. The attendants all seemed to really enjoy their work and seemed genuinely happy to give a pleasant experience to the passengers in business class. Later on in our 5+ hour train ride to Montreal, the attendants came through the train with trays of water and then mints for passengers. Since my parents were sleeping, it was suggested by the attendant that I should grab a few for my parents as well.
For the rest of the ride to Montreal, my dad browsed the internet using the onboard WiFi which was quite usable. The train is also equipped with BYOD entertainment via the WiFi but I did not try it out. I did notice that connecting to the WiFi took a bit of doing but once connected, it worked better than the WiFi aboard Amtrak trains that I’ve ridden on. We arrived into Gare Central a little ahead of schedule and after gathering our luggage and belongings, we headed up out of the platform into the main station building to check the status of our connecting train to Quebec City.