Business class on Via Rail

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aformeruser

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In case anyone's interested in what business class on Via Rail is like I travelled between Montreal and Toronto in business class last week (in a refurbished LRC carriage) and made the following observations:

- There are huge overhead bins for luggage, like on larger planes.
- Seating is 2+1 with leather seat cover and lots of leg room. If you're in a pair of seats there's a small table between the seats with a cup holder for each passenger. There's also a fold down table on the back of the seat in front for most of the seats.
- Coffee is served in a mug not a throwaway container.
- There was a choice of 3 lunch options, served with a glass of wine - again a real glass not a throwaway container.
- Strangely there were two toilets in the carriage, a universal toilet and a ladies toilet.
- Wifi was available and there's the option to view TV shows via a special webpage which you can only access when connected to Via Rail wifi.
- Charging points were available at all seats.
- Everyone's allocated a seat but I overhead another passenger asking if he could change where he was sat and the staff told him which seats were unallocated for the entire journey.
- You get access to the business lounges where hot and cold drinks, newspapers, magazines and apples were available.

And something very strange I was sat next to an emergency exit window so I had a member of staff explain to me exactly how the window should be broken in an emergency!

The ticket price was equivalent to around £65 single so seemed very reasonable for business class considering the length of the journey.
 
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Shinkansenfan

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- Everyone's allocated a seat but I overhead another passenger asking if he could change where he was sat and the staff told him which seats were unallocated for the entire journey.

And something very strange I was sat next to an emergency exit window so I had a member of staff explain to me exactly how the window should be broken in an emergency!

I've found Via One (business class) service to be good.

The seating is all reserved, but specific seat assignments are not made. This is akin to Amtrak's all reserved seating on Acela. The advantage of this concept is the Via One carriage is not sold beyond capacity but one can select a specific seat upon boarding to get seats that are away from loud talkers, find seats that align with the window better, etc.

The emergency instructions are akin to when one is seated in the emergency exit row on an aircraft in North America. The flight attendants confirm that you you're willing to assist and are aware of the evacuation procedure.
 

Bletchleyite

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On sleepers they also brief two passengers per coach on how to operate the emergency release on the outside doors, including a demonstration.

When it was me, to counter the seemingly over-the-top H&S aspect of having this demo at all, it was done by opening the door while the train was in motion.
 

aformeruser

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I've found Via One (business class) service to be good.

The seating is all reserved, but specific seat assignments are not made.

I'm not sure if your talking about the same service or if they've changed it since you traveled. The service is called Business/Affaires on Montreal to Toronto (not Via One) and your boarding pass (which you can print at the time of purchase if buying online) does allocate you a specific seat e.g. 13B.

http://www.viarail.ca/en/whos-on-board#how-we-roll
 
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tigerroar

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On sleepers they also brief two passengers per coach on how to operate the emergency release on the outside doors, including a demonstration.

When it was me, to counter the seemingly over-the-top H&S aspect of having this demo at all, it was done by opening the door while the train was in motion.

Same happened with me when going to Windsor from Toronto.

I forgot what he'd told me within minutes.
 

williamn

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Always pretty impressed with VIA's business class. Though aside from wine other drinks are served in plastic which isn't great. They offered a digestif on a recent evening trip but sipping port from plastic is a bit weird!

Oh and don't get me started on the ridiculous boarding system, really don't understand why they encourage everyone to queue - especially given everyone has an assigned seat!
 

Taunton

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Strangely there were two toilets in the carriage, a universal toilet and a ladies toilet.
That gender separation was common on North American long distance trains before the current generation of rolling stock, with an outer area and an inner toilet compartment.
 
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