As I write this I’m on VIA Rail’s train 60 bound for Montreal. We pulled out of Kingston station a few minutes ago and are currently bounding through the snow-covered hills of eastern Ontario.
It’s quite a change of scenery for me. For the past two weeks, from New Years’ Eve to last Sunday, I was in Tampa, where my surroundings looked like this:
While I was there, it got as warm as 25 degrees C (77 degrees F) during the day. That’s almost a 50 degree difference from tonight’s expected low in Montreal: –22 degrees C (-8 degrees F). That’s still not going to deter me from joining friends for drinks.
Here’s what Union Station looked like in mid-morning:
Train 60 left Union Station’s track 17 at 11:35 this morning. VIA Rail is now asking that you check in large pieces of luggage, just like the airlines do. At least they’re not charging for the service.
Here’s the view from early on in the trip:
I’ll arrive in Montreal’s Gare Centrale at 4:20 p.m., making for a trip of almost five hours. The Toronto-Montreal flight takes only an hour, but once you factor in travel time to and from the airports – especially the one from Montreal’s Trudeau airport to downtown – plus all the airport and security hassles, as well as the fact that it’s easier to get work done on the train (there’s free wifi and you can use your phone), I find taking the train preferable to taking the plane.
Unlike the airport, the Gare Centrale is downtown and only a couple of blocks away from my hotel, the Delta Centre-Ville. From tomorrow until Saturday afternoon, I’ll be at the CUSEC 2012 conference, where I’ll play the triple role of attendee, sponsor representative (Shopify’s one of the sponsors) and host of DemoCamp CUSEC on Thursday evening.