This form of transportation, which opened up the West to settlers and the Canadian Rockies to tourists, began to fade with the advent of efficient air services. Scheduled services along the original transcontinental line through Calgary and Banff ended in 1991 but continue along a northern route that passes through Edmonton and Jasper.
The Canadian runs between Toronto and Vancouver  via Edmonton  and Jasper  three days a week in either direction and provides two classes of travel: Economy, which features lots of legroom, reclining seats, reading lights, pillows and blankets, and a Skyline Car complete with bar service; and Silver and Blue, which is more luxurious, featuring a variety of sleeping-room configurations, daytime seating, a domed lounge and dining car reserved exclusively for passengers in this class, shower kits for all passengers, and all meals.
If you’re traveling to Alberta  from the eastern provinces, the least-expensive way to travel is on a Canrailpass, which allows unlimited travel anywhere on the VIA Rail system for 12 days within any given 30-day period. During high season (June 1–October 15) the pass is adult $923, senior (over 60) and child $831, with extra days (up to three are allowed) $79 and $71, respectively. The rest of the year the fare is adult $576, senior and child $518, with extra days $49 and $44, respectively.
On regular fares, discounts of 25–40 percent apply to travel in all classes October–June. Those over 60 and under 18, as well as students under 25, receive an additional 10 percent discount that can be combined with other seasonal fares. Check for advance-purchase restrictions on all discount tickets.
Rocky Mountaineer Vacations (604/606-7245 or 877/460-3200, www.rockymountaineer.com ) runs a luxurious rail trip between Vancouver  and Banff  or Jasper , through the spectacular interior mountain ranges of British Columbia . Travel is during daylight hours only so you don’t miss anything. Trains depart in either direction in the morning (every second or third day), overnighting at Kamloops. One-way travel in RedLeaf Service, which includes light meals, nonalcoholic drinks, and Kamloops accommodations, costs $859 per person d from Vancouver to either Banff or Jasper and $959 from Vancouver to Calgary . GoldLeaf Service is the ultimate in luxury. Passengers ride in a two-story glass-domed car, eat in a separate dining area, and stay in Kamloops’s most luxurious accommodations. GoldLeaf costs $1,739 per person from Vancouver to Banff or Jasper and $889 to Calgary. Similarly priced is the Fraser Discovery Route, which links Whistler  to Jasper via the Cariboo region of central British Columbia. Outside of high season (mid-April–May and the first two weeks of October), all fares are reduced around $150 per person in RedLeaf and $200 per person in GoldLeaf.