Has anyone travelled through the Canadian Rocky Mountains on one of the lower cost fares? is it worth it? Here in Australia, they only advertise up market packages, but I would prefer someting more affordable. I have always wanted to see the area by train.
There aren’t that many train routes in Canada, and they’re not particularly cheap. The main national rail company is VIA Rail (viarail.ca). You don’t mention where you plan to start, but their cross-country Vancouver to Toronto line stops in Jasper in the Rockies, so you could travel from Vancouver to Jasper by train. It goes three times a week, so definitely worth planning in advance, and VIA do offer some rail passes (check their website). However, once in the Rockies you’d be reliant on buses to get around – bus companies such as Greyhound link up the main centres. The other options, as you say, are the private companies, such as the Rocky Mountaineer (rockymountaineer.com), but they’re not really a budget option, more package trips (but some stunning routes offered).
Hope that helps