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Thinking of Gaspe this summer? A bit of info I received recently regarding the train

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Thinking of Gaspe this summer? A bit of info I received recently regarding the train

Old 07-09-13, 07:14 PM
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hilltowner
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Thinking of Gaspe this summer? A bit of info I received recently regarding the train

I'm planning on riding up to the Gaspe from my home in Massachusetts and returning via rail (and bus). Here is some info for those who might also be planning on a similar thing:

Good morning,
Please note, due to operational issues, the train from Gaspé to Montreal will be replaced by bus service between Gaspé and New Carlisle. Bicycles are not accepted on the bus service. It would only be possible to travel with a bicycle if you originate from New Carlisle instead of Gaspé. Bicycle boxes are available at the New Carlisle station.

When travelling with a bicycle, it must be checked a minimum of 1 hour before departure. The cost for a bicycle is $25.00 plus taxes per one-way trip, regardless of the number of trains used and stopovers allowed. The handlebars should be turned and pedals removed. Tools and dismantling/assembling are not provided by VIA. The bicycle owner must verify its condition before leaving the station. Any damage must be reported to a VIA Rail agent immediately after having retrieved the bicycle. If you choose not to box the bicycle, you must still pay the $25 fee per direction, and again, VIA assumes no liability in case of damage if bicycle is not securely crated.

Although it is possible to purchase a ticket at the station on the date of travel, it is subject to availability.
Thank you for contacting VIA Rail Canada. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Sincerely,
Amanda
Customer Support
VIA Rail Canada
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Old 07-09-13, 07:37 PM
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In some ways, I think it's almost better to hire a car between some points of a trip. By the time you pay for boxing, train/bus fares for you and the bike, the costs mount up to a point where car hire makes as much sense. Even a small car can take a bike with wheels removed, and all touring stuff.
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Old 07-09-13, 08:23 PM
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Some quick research on the web reveals that a one-way rental from Gaspe to Montreal would cost me $73.32/day plus .76/km. Given that the distance between rental agents in both places is 943 km the price for a car is in the neighborhood of $790.00 (excluding fuel costs) and that's only if I want to drive straight through (10+ hrs). The train fare is $123.00 (without a sleeper) plus $25.00 for the bike.

I think I'm still interested in the train.
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Old 07-09-13, 08:44 PM
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It's a good excuse to ride around the peninsula. You can hop on the Montreal-Halifax line between Mont-Joli to Campbellton.

You can also take the bus in Gaspé with Orleans Express. I don't know the size of their boxes. The Via Rail boxes are huge and you can leave the right pedal on the bike.

What route do you plan to take?
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Old 07-09-13, 08:53 PM
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Interesting. I was just researching Amtrak from San Diego to Truckee (Lake Tahoe region) ($92), and, in contrast, it appears not to require boxing for the entire trip (though I'll do it for protection). Amtrak Thruway buses (most of the route) don't require boxing, and the San Joaquin line has roll-on service with bike racks at no extra charge.
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Old 07-09-13, 08:57 PM
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Not sure how easy it is to rent a car in one country and return in another.


I've taken my bike on Via several times. The bike box on Via is included in the $25 you pay for the bike. It also included some checked luggage that you can fit in another provided box. I never saw it mentioned anywhere on the website, but was told so by the staff at the station. The problem is, some of the smaller stations may not have boxes on hand.


Also, make sure there is a luggage car on the train you want to take. I don't know the Gaspe to Montreal route, but on Toronto- Montreal or Ottawa corridor, the early morning trains usually don't have luggage cars.


Please come back after your trip and tell us how it went. We've always wanted to go to Gaspe.
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Old 07-09-13, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Erick L View Post
It's a good excuse to ride around the peninsula. You can hop on the Montreal-Halifax line between Mont-Joli to Campbellton.

You can also take the bus in Gaspé with Orleans Express. I don't know the size of their boxes. The Via Rail boxes are huge and you can leave the right pedal on the bike.

What route do you plan to take?
From my home in Western Mass. I'll ride north along the Connecticut River diverging to the border station in Derby Line/Stanstead. The Google bike directions have me following some kind of bike path from there to Ayer's Cliff. Then more bike path north of the Lac to Sherbrooke and then another long path to the outskirts of Quebec City. From there I'll ride the coast to Gaspe and then New Carlisle. It's about 1600 km. I'm budgeting two weeks.

Eric, have you ridden any of those bike paths between Que. city and the U.S. border? Are they part of La Route Verte?

Also terribly sad to hear about the tragedy in Lac Megantic.
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Old 07-09-13, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by hilltowner View Post
Some quick research on the web reveals that a one-way rental from Gaspe to Montreal would cost me $73.32/day plus .76/km. Given that the distance between rental agents in both places is 943 km the price for a car is in the neighborhood of $790.00 (excluding fuel costs) and that's only if I want to drive straight through (10+ hrs). The train fare is $123.00 (without a sleeper) plus $25.00 for the bike.

I think I'm still interested in the train.
I've never hired a vehicle in North America or Australia with a kilometre rate.
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Old 07-10-13, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by hilltowner View Post
From my home in Western Mass. I'll ride north along the Connecticut River diverging to the border station in Derby Line/Stanstead.
I suggest a visit to the Haskell Free Library & Opera House in Derby Line/Stanstead. It is literally in both countries, deliberately built on top of the border and completed in 1904. The entrance is on the USA side.

http://haskellopera.com/
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Old 07-13-13, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by hilltowner View Post
From my home in Western Mass. I'll ride north along the Connecticut River diverging to the border station in Derby Line/Stanstead. The Google bike directions have me following some kind of bike path from there to Ayer's Cliff. Then more bike path north of the Lac to Sherbrooke and then another long path to the outskirts of Quebec City. From there I'll ride the coast to Gaspe and then New Carlisle. It's about 1600 km. I'm budgeting two weeks.

Eric, have you ridden any of those bike paths between Que. city and the U.S. border? Are they part of La Route Verte?
I rode the Stanstead-Ayer's Cliff once. It's a standard rail-trail. Quiet but a little boring. Surface was crushed stone.

I rode between Sherbrooke to Richmond a long time ago on the eastern side of the river, before the bike route was established. They had a bike route close to the freeway on the west side for a while but it was very hilly and unpopular. I don't know how the new route looks like. I think it follows the river more closely.

From Richmond to Quebec City, it's another boring crushed stone rail-trail. You could ride on highway 116 but it isn't much more exciting. There's a nice campground just east of Victoriaville. I stopped three times and they always had a special for cyclists. This one is part of the Route Verte.

East of Quebec city, the Route Verte is mostly on road, often on highway 132 or a small local road. There's the occasional bike path and a short stretch of gravel leading to a crazy hilly paved path with fantastic views (just east of Le Bic park close to Rimouski).
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Old 07-13-13, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Erick L View Post
I rode the Stanstead-Ayer's Cliff once. It's a standard rail-trail. Quiet but a little boring. Surface was crushed stone.

I rode between Sherbrooke to Richmond a long time ago on the eastern side of the river, before the bike route was established. They had a bike route close to the freeway on the west side for a while but it was very hilly and unpopular. I don't know how the new route looks like. I think it follows the river more closely.

From Richmond to Quebec City, it's another boring crushed stone rail-trail. You could ride on highway 116 but it isn't much more exciting. There's a nice campground just east of Victoriaville. I stopped three times and they always had a special for cyclists. This one is part of the Route Verte.

East of Quebec city, the Route Verte is mostly on road, often on highway 132 or a small local road. There's the occasional bike path and a short stretch of gravel leading to a crazy hilly paved path with fantastic views (just east of Le Bic park close to Rimouski).
Thanks very much for the info.

Phil
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Old 09-17-13, 10:01 PM
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The trip went as planned with one significant modification. I opted to leave the coast and head south to the opposite side when I realized how much I did not want to have to bury myself to catch the train in New Carlisle. If missed, I would have had to wait two days before the next one. I therefore saw the Gaspe north coast only as far as Ste. Anne des Monts and the south only from New Richmond to New Carlisle. I did get to see the Chic Chocs however and being a skier that has lit a fire to go back this winter.

It was a very enjoyable trip all told. Erik was correct in his description of the crushed stone rail trail bike paths but I didn't actually mind the monotony of them. I really enjoyed the camping possibilities and certainly didn't miss having to watch out for cars.

I had some goals along the way and managed to accomplish most of them. One of the simpler ones was paying homage to a big platter of poutine (washed down with Labatt's) my first night in Quebec (Richmond). Afterwards I found a place to throw the hammock up a short way out of town along the bike path.

I did make it to the train station in time and the last day was leisurely, instead of a desperate race against the clock. Via Rail Canada is very bike friendly. I wasn't the only one loading bikes there. The sad part is that the rail line has been closed from Gaspe to New Carlisle and now it appears even further along the route. Not sure if there are plans to reopen it. It's a shame. I could have easily made it to Gaspe or even Perce with time to spare but it was just a bit too far, with the time I had allowed myself, to make it to New Carlisle by following the coast. I was twelve days on the road and toted up about 1400 km in that time.

On a more positive note, there is a good possibility the Portland to Yarmouth ferry will start running again after a few year's hiatus. Nova Scotia is calling my name for next summer.
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Old 09-18-13, 06:38 AM
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thats too bad you were not able to go all the way around, but the Chic Choc route certainly is really pretty isnt it? Hilly at times though-were you able to get across to New Richmond in one day? How much weight did you have on your bike, I guess if you were hammocking, you didnt have too much.
re: the train, its been years since the train service has been in decline in that area, just not enough traffic I guess.
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Old 09-18-13, 04:55 PM
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I'm glad you had a good trip, hilltowner! Too bad you couldn't do the whole route you wanted, but there's always next time.
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Old 09-19-13, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
thats too bad you were not able to go all the way around, but the Chic Choc route certainly is really pretty isnt it? Hilly at times though-were you able to get across to New Richmond in one day? How much weight did you have on your bike, I guess if you were hammocking, you didnt have too much.
re: the train, its been years since the train service has been in decline in that area, just not enough traffic I guess.
I did not try to get across all in the same day. I didn't reach Ste Anne des Monts until lunchtime and spent a while getting provisioned for the trip knowing I would not be seeing any stores along the way. I found a spot to camp alongside the upper reaches of the Cascapedia which made for a very pretty ride the next morning. I reached New Richmond about lunchtime. I was freighting about 30 lbs (without counting the extra food or the additional weight of my full waterbottles).
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Old 09-19-13, 09:57 PM
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thats good that you knew there are no stores and whatnot along the road. Must have been nice camping along there, and like you said, it is a real pretty ride along the river to the other side. You did well keeping it at about 30lbs. Hope you enjoy biking out east if you get out there another summer.
cheers
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Old 07-10-14, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
thats good that you knew there are no stores and whatnot along the road. Must have been nice camping along there, and like you said, it is a real pretty ride along the river to the other side. You did well keeping it at about 30lbs. Hope you enjoy biking out east if you get out there another summer.
cheers
Summer plans have changed. The Portland/Yarmouth ferry is up and running but the cost of a round trip was more pricey than I was comfortable with. For half that amount of $$ I can purchase bus fare that will get me from Kingston, ON to Duluth, MN. with a boxed bike in tow. I'm aiming to pedal back that whole way over ~2 weeks time. I will see the Manitoulin Islands on the route I have mapped out. It's a part of North America I haven't yet visited. I've been to Nova Scotia a few times. I'd still like to take the ferry up there sometime but not this summer it seems.

P.S. I did make it back up the Chic Chocs for skiing this past winter. That was pretty special as well.
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Old 07-12-14, 09:19 PM
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Enjoy the new plan, I've only been around the Manitoulan islands once or twice, but recall how pretty the rocky shoreline is.
Re chic chocs in winter, friends of ours used to back country ski out there every winter with a group and so I saw photos. I'm pretty sure he took an avalanche course once for the dangers of that out there.
Again have a fun trip.
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