Anyway it was absolutely delightful to not have the stress of knowing we were about to embark on the highway for the day before my trip, and also to not be thinking of the drive home while we were there. I wasn't aware of the degree to which the driving has previously stressed me out.
Unfortunately taking the train cost $130 for myself and the littles, and this included a 'Super Saver' $89 fare for me, and a summer companion discount that made their fare each only $10 each way. Gas to my parents' and back costs $30-40. However my father pointed out that mileage for driving a car, including capital costs, fuel, insurance, vehicle depreciation/repairs, is usually estimated in the neighbourhood of $0.50/km. So a 400km round trip would cost $200 by that mathematics, which makes the train look like a deal. Even to half the per km cost to $0.25/km still puts the train tickets in the cost ballpark of driving.
That was an interesting reframe of the cost issue. And taking the train worry-free about safety, hooking the kids up with snacks and a DVD, and being able to attend to them during the trip without stopping, was luxurious.