I’m writing this on the train between Ottawa and Toronto, on my way back home after spending Easter at my parent’s house. After spending more than three hours on the train and another half hour waiting to get on, I’m wondering why train travel in Canada can’t be more like Europe.
Firstly, why must our trains be so slow? My train ride today will take me four hours and 20 minutes. That’s about as long as it would take for me to drive from Ottawa to Toronto, and my ticket cost me about as much as a tank of gas would ($71). It’s ridiculous. If I were travelling the same distance in England, it would take me about 2 hours and would have cost about 20 quid ($27). Not only that, but I had to reserve my ticket a week ago. In fact the only reason I took the 8:40 a.m. train is because the three other trains travelling between Ottawa and Toronto today were already sold out of any “cheap” tickets, ($71 is cheap).
I really miss being able to decide to go somewhere an hour before heading to the train station and buying a ticket. It was comforting knowing that if I missed the train there was another one in about an hour. It really makes no sense that train travel in Canada is worse than in Europe. All of our cities are so far away from each other, that you would think that we would have pioneered high-speed trains. (Actually we have the technology. Bombardier is a Canadian manufacturer, but for some reason government here doesn’t think it’s worthwhile to upgrade our rail lines to accommodate their trains, so instead our technology is used by other countries, like the 300 km/h Zefiro in China.)
Though I suppose my problems in Eastern Canada are nothing compared to the West. One of my friends from Calgary told me recently that no train exists between Edmonton and Calgary, even though the distance is only about 250 km, because of political fighting. Now that’s just silly.
Ugh! Less than two months to go…..