Train tours Cape Breton

“Bald eagle on the right!” hollered our guide, pointing to the magnificent bird flying along side the train window.

“Bald eagles,” she said, ” fear only one predator, the falcon. They seem to enjoy escorting the train.

Cape Breton tour
The train is The Bras d’Or-VIA Rail’s first-class guided tour to Nova Scotia’s Celtic heartland, Cape Breton Island. And bald eagles are only one of the delights experienced on the cruise train.

There are fabulous views along the shores of beautiful Bras d’Or Lake, quiet inlets interspersed among rolling hills, picturesque seacoast communities with colourful houses and white wooden churches. This is Cape Breton at its best. Tour guides in Nova Scotia tartan kilts provide commentary and tall tales. They also entertain with Celtic songs-even teach traditional dances in the dome car.

Once a week, on Tuesdays from June 4th to Octer 16th, the Bras d’Or departs from Halifax at 7:15 a.m. for the 10-hour trip to Sydney. Continental breakfast and lunch are included. Along with the scenery, there’s a chance to get out and stretch.

The train stops for an hour and a half at Port Hawkesbury, providing an opportunity to shop for souvenirs and local handcrafts, take pictures and meet the townspeople.

Stay in Sydney
At the far-out point, travellers can stay overnight in one of three Sydney hotels at special fare rates, then return to Halifax by train the next day. Or they can continue to tour Cape Breton in a National Tilden rental car, with no drop-off charges if the car is returned to another location.

They can also take the bus for the return trip for about $50.

Fare prices
Fares* in each direction: $225 plus tax for adults; $203 plus tax for seniors and students; $169 plus tax for children. There’s a 25 per cent reduction for passengers taking the train round trip. The companion of a senior (60-plus) gets a 75 per cent fare reduction, as long as the booking is made 10 days in advance.

*Summer and fall, 2002.