Via Rail and some travel tour operators feature the sale of Canadian, BritRail and European Rail passes. These may be in conjunction with city stay packages as well as prepaid accommodation in smaller centres, providing flexibility and freedom, which many people find attractive.
The federal government operates Canada's major passenger service over the railroad network by contract. It has one pass called Canrailpass, which provides 12 days unlimited travel within a 30-day period, with the option of adding up to 3 days more. Upgrades and sleeping accommodation is extra. It is excellent value, but space is limited and plans should be made well in advance. In Canada, rail travel through the Rocky Mountains is one of the world's great train experiences.
Rocky Mountaineer Railtours - Providing 2-day rail tours through the spectacular Rocky Mountains, between Vancouver and Jasper, or Vancouver and Banff or Calgary, with an overnight stop in Kamloops. There are also longer rail-bus tours that include Lake Louise and the Columbia Icefield. Operating season is May to October, and reservations should be made well in advance.
For details www.rockymountaineer.com or your CAA Travel Store.
Amtrak United States System - Like Via but on a larger scale, Amtrak operates passenger service over the main lines of the United States' rail network. It goes to many vacation attractions and cities. In place of the usual type of rail pass, Amtrak features special fares for travel within one or more of 3 east-west divisions, with up to 3 stopovers during 45 days. Also available are a number of holiday packages and escorted tours.
BritRail and BritRail Passes - BritRail has many travel products, but rail passes are still itscore. Discovery Passes are 8, 15, 22 days or one month, with 3 price levels. Flexi Discovery Passes are any, 4, 8 or 15 days within 2 months. BritRail and Ireland Passes are 5 or 10 days within one month. Pass holders qualify for reduced fares on the Eurostar "Chunnel" trains to Paris and Brussels. BritRail service also includes tours, car rentals, hotels, etc. Contact us for fares and other information. We can also provide regular one-way or return point-to-point tickets.
European Rail Passes - The original EURAIL consecutive-days and flexi passes have been supplemented with other plans. These include lower prices for two or more people travelling together who are travelling only within certain countries, or only between certain cities. Also, many countries have their own national rail passes, including: Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Holand, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden. Passes for country groups include Balkans (including Turkey), Benelux and Scandinavia. Regular European rail tickets are available too. EURAIL provides tour planning and lower prices for groups of 10 or more.
Famous Trains of the World - There are a number of trains that, as well as merely providing transportation, are worthy of forming part of a memorable vacation experience. Our own Rocky Mountaineer and the trains of Alaska Railroads fall within this category. Australia has The Ghan, going from the southern cities to the desert heart of the continent at Alice Springs, The Queenslander travelling up the scenic east coast, and the Indian Pacific crossing the continent from the eastern cities to Perth. Eruope has the famed "Venice Simplon Orient Express", although shortened from London or Paris to Venice. Britain boasts the Royal Scotsman for luxury touring. South Africa has long had the famed Blue Train, as well as the even more exotic Rovos Rail. Northern India is home to the Palace on Wheels, while Southeast Asia claims the Eastern and Oriental Express. Spain features the Al Andalus Expreso. Both Norway and Switzerland have trains that offer passengers inspiring mountain scenery. And, of course, for exotic interest, there is the famous Trans-Siberian Express.
For more information about these and other exciting opportunities for train travel, contact the CAA Travel office nearest to you.