Winnipeg Airport Trains (YWG)

Winnipeg International Airport has an excellent reputation as an efficient airport in Canada, and is referred to by its IATA code of YWG. Its official and longer name is the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport. The airport serves Winnipeg, in the province of Manitoba, and approximately 3.39 million passengers pass through it every year. Although one of the larger providers of air transport services in the country, there is no train station at the airport. However, there are buses and taxis available for ground transportation.

The airport of Winnipeg is located to the west of the city centre, and has a single terminal building for all its flights, besides those that are operated by Kivallig Air and Perimeter Aviation. The airport is a hub for these two airlines, and they have small terminals of their own a short distance from the main airport terminal. Passengers arriving at the airport can travel to Winnipeg, Brandon or many of the other nearby towns and cities by bus. There are local buses that travel to the city, private shuttles that run frequently to Brandon and long-distance coaches that provide inter-city transport. The buses to the city are affordable and frequently available. Taxis are another form of ground transport from or to the airport. They are found outside the main terminal building, and will cost under twenty Canadian dollars for a trip to downtown Winnipeg.

Currently, Vancouver in British Columbia is the only Canadian airport with its own train station. All other airports rely on buses and taxis for their ground transportation services. However, there are train stations in many of the larger cities of the country, and inter-city trains are available. In Winnipeg, the main train station is Union Station, and it is located at 123 Main Street, Winnipeg (at the corner of Main Street and Broadway Avenue). The station has been owned by VIA Rail Canada since 1978, and currently there are two trains in operation. They are the Toronto-Vancouver Canadian and the Winnipeg-Churchill train.

Union Station dates back to 1911, and was originally built by the Canadian Northern Railway, National Transcontinental and Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. It was, for many years, a very important transport hub for the region of Manitoba, handling thousands of passengers every year. In its busier days it also handled trans-border trains to Minneapolis-St. Paul in Minnesota. The trains back then were named the Winnipeg Limited and the Winnipeger. With the increasing popularity of air travel, the station gradually became much less of a transport hub, and today is only used by the two trains mentioned above. The station building is also not only used for rail purposes, but for offices of a non-rail nature as well. Travellers will also find the Winnipeg Railway Museum at the train-shed of the station, which is worth a visit. The station has a total of eight through tracks and four passenger platforms.

The Winnipeg Union Station is a manned station, open five days of the week. On Mondays and Saturdays the ticket counters are open from 07:30 to 16:30, on Tuesdays and Thursdays they are open from 07:30 to 22:30 and on Sundays tickets can be purchased between 09:30 and 22:30. The station is closed on Wednesdays and Fridays. Facilities at the station include washrooms, a snack bar, newspapers, bicycle boxes and a baggage room. It is also accessible to passengers with disabilities. Wheelchairs and wheelchair lifts can be organised as well. At the station, there are spaces for short and long-term parking.

The Winnipeg-Churchill train travels a distance of approximately 1,700 kilometres, from the Winnipeg Union Station, through Manitoba and Saskatchewan, to Churchill in northern Manitoba. The train was formerly known as the Hudson Bay train and as the Northern Spirits. There are two trains a week, and each takes approximately thirty-six hours to reach their final destination. Onboard, passengers can choose to travel in the Economy or Sleeper classes. Economy travel is cheaper, but a cosy place to sleep will be provided in the other class. All-inclusive packages are available.

Although there are no airport trains, passengers will still find plenty of options for ground transport, and perhaps from the city, the spectacular journey of the Winnipeg-Churchill train can be enjoyed.