VIA Canada 150 Trip Part 3: The Ocean Train

I remember perfectly the very first thing that came to my mind once I dragged my eyes out of my laptop screen to the moving window of VIA’s the Ocean train that evening was one of Robert Frost’s world famous poem.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

I imagined, our train from a bird’s view would be meandering intrepidly along the railway that goes through a thick forest of pine woods, and only pine woods. Green and mighty, lush and tall. Fearless and unstoppable. And us humans inside, busy with each of their own universe. Some were wandering to the dream land, some were venturing into the imaginative universe through their laptop or tab screens where other humans mimicking lives we all never had, some dwelled into worlds of words made of ink, and others were just having cozy conversations with the person next seat. I was the second group, watching Emily Blunt catches daily glimpses of other persons’ lives from behind a moving window of a train.

There was bodies of quiet, mossy yet clear water separating our railways and the forest now. The pinewoods and low clouds above were reflected upon them, sometimes shaking as the water rippled. I could see a black hawk or two on top of the trees, sitting there silently as the sky grew darker.

We left that small channel behind, and now all that we have are green prairies with some hills in the background. Distant, yet touching, like some blurred, happy memories from childhood. A beautiful small church with red roofs and broken white wooden walls on top of the hill is seen from afar. Green bushes and smaller pinewood trees were surrounding it.

Well now, the Ocean is probably my favorite train out of all trains that I had tried during this trip. And regardless the captivating view, the number one reason was simple: there’s actually a row of single seatings so people who travel solo don’t even have to be bothered sitting with a complete stranger!

Not that I hate having to sit with strangers though; and even actually by far, it has never bothered me. And a couple times I even got lucky because my seating partner was actually some nice persons who knew how to get along with strangers sitting on the seat next to them. But still, as much as I’d love to take a risk by spending hours (or even days) trying to make friends with them, I’d very much love as well to just spend my whole time on the train minding my own business. Working on wedding invitation cards that my friends asked me to help about, editing my photos collection, reading some novels I thought I would never be able to finish, listening to some cool music, watching TV series I never had enough chance to finish, writing this post, and so forth. All these priorities might win over the opportunity of talking to random persons that I felt obliged to talk to just for the sake of avoiding awkwardness.

And based on my experience, this is actually the cleanest of all trains. The chair was also waaay more comfortable and sturdy, and the list goes on to every detail possible. The cabin storage that is made specifically for every person, the corridor that feels slightly wider, and despite the fact that this train doesn’t offer Skyline Car for economy class passengers, this train is still my favorite.

And of course, yes, the views.

If you’re into contemplating in the trains, this train might be one of the most suitable options for you out of all VIA trains. If you’re fortunate enough to not fall asleep easily and wake up late, you might be lucky to catch glimpses of sunset and sunrise that are definitely worth not sleeping over. Hours around the dusk time, the train is crossing some sort of grassland with green hills in the background and chains of highlands in someplace further away in the background. And then the sun would set in-between that chain of what looks like a mountain, adding streaks of tangerine rays to the green prairies in the foreground. Patches of purplish flora, yellowish weed, and gray wild flowers surrounded smaller ponds are hinted with those orangey smudges.

And during the dawn, the train is passing over some pine forest separated by small, meandering river between them and the railway. I was fortunate because it was foggy hence a hazy daybreak, and such mist is my favorite. When the mist was lifted up, the surface of the rather gloomy river was seen to be rippled quietly, as if humming to the forest wind outside. Some black hawks were spotted on top of the highest pines, sitting gracefully and not even minding the rusty train passing. As the sun rose even higher, the fog was almost completely disappeared, and the pine forest was disguised in gradual gray to greenish tones before thoroughly covered under the sun rays.

And when the day is wholly lit up, the views had shifted into some green lowlands with occasional wild flowers of assorted colours and patterns, with some hills seen in a distance, and beautiful churches with red or white walls were sitting on top of them, surrounded by intermittent forest that looks like patches of old broccoli.

So, would you like to ride one?

Written by

A geologist, self-taught photographer, hobbyist writer, and wanderer who loves subtle colours, sunrays, mother nature, wilderness, adventures, flowers in the afternoon, quiet corners of a city, being literally - yet not figuratively - on top of the world, solo travels, trips by train, fascinating rocks, vintage postcards, and aesthetically pleasing urban landscapes.

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