If you go . . .

November 24, 1991|By Donald D. Groff

The Canadian rail system is divided into Western Canada, Atlantic Canada and Quebec service, plus what is called the Corridor, which stretches between Windsor, Ontario, and Quebec City, Quebec. Corridor service includes Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa, and is like the U.S. Northeast Corridor in that it's an important commuter route with frequent trains.

VIA Rail publishes a seasonal National Timetable with maps and schedules for all routes, and descriptions of cars and sleeping facilities. For a copy or information, call (800) 561-3949.

The Canrailpass comes in two forms, with price variations depending on age and season. For adults, the basic high-season cost is $329 for unlimited coach travel for 30 days, and $219 from now through next May. For those 24 and under, the systemwide pass costs $289 during the high season, $189 during low.

Sleeping quarters cost extra, and there are three kinds: semiprivate, roomette and bedroom. The semiprivate section has upper and lower berths. For the Vancouver, British Columbia, to Toronto trip, the current, low-season cost for the lower berth is $180, and for the upper it's $131.

Roomettes, which are one-person compartments with fold-down bed and private sink and toilet, would cost $213 for the four-night trip. Bedrooms -- typically two bunks and two easy chairs in a private compartment -- are $457.

There also is an eastern region pass, which includes Quebec, Ontario and the Martime Provinces, and costs $199 for the high season; $129 for low. For those 24 years old or younger, this eastern pass costs $169 during high, $119 during low.

An international Canrailpass should be bought before entering Canada. You can save perhaps $20 by getting a U.S. travel agent to issue you a "tour order," which is later exchanged at a VIA Rail station for the Canrailpass. The tour order method reduces VIA Rail's paperwork, hence the saving.

Rail service from Baltimore to Montreal is easy: Amtrak's Montrealer departs Baltimore daily at 4:48 p.m., arriving in Montreal the next morning at 10:45. Amtrak's number is (800) USA-RAIL. Reserve sleeping accommodations far in advance.

C7 From BWI, USAir flies to both Montreal and Toronto.

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