An excursion train is a chartered train run for a special event or purpose. Examples of excursion trains are: a train to a major sporting event; a train run for railfans or tourism; a chartered train such as the Reno Fun Train that runs to the casinos in the winter on weekends; a special train operated by the railway for employees and prominent customers.
A number of excursion trains are run in the United Kingdom and in some cases there are regular steam worked passenger services over some routes, one such train being The Jacobite which runs Monday to Friday from Fort William to Mallaig from April to October. A second afternoon train also runs from May to mid September but is Mon to Fri only, weekend services running from June to October. A number of Christmas Jacobite's have even started running on select days in December. There are also a number of routes across the UK which are famed for running excursion trains, examples include: Settle and Carlisle line, Cumbrian Coast line, Shakespeare Line, Scarborough Line, West Coast Mainline and East Coast Mainline.
The Train Operating Companys that operate steam locomotives on the national network include: West Coast Railways, DB Cargo UK & most recently Locomotive Services Ltd, the later company gaining their operating licence on 4 August 2017. Vintage Trains are also planning to get their operating licence in the future, and are presently raising funds via a public share scheme.
Some special excursion trains are pictured below.
Tour operators in the UK include: The Railway Touring Company, Steam Dreams, Statesman Rail, Torbay Express, Vintage Trains, Orient-Express, UK Railtours  and Saphos Trains. Further details can be found on the Main Line Steam Tours index page.
The Pennsylvania Railroad ran special excursion trains from New York City and Washington, D.C. to the Army–Navy Game in years when the game was held in Philadelphia at Municipal Stadium (1936–1941, 1945–1975). The special Pennsylvania trains were discontinued as the railroad, then known as Penn Central was on the brink of declaring bankruptcy, with the last trains running for the 1975 game. The tradition of running excursion trains to the Army-Navy college football game was resurrected in 2005 when philanthropists Bennett and Vivian Levin chartered a special train composed of their own locomotives and some donated passenger cars to take recuperating wounded veterans from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland to the game in Philadelphia. The Army-Navy Game trains ran in 2005–2008, were suspended in 2009 due to a death in the sponsors' family, and again in 2010. The Army-Navy football game is a big enough event in Philadelphia that the local rail transit company SEPTA also runs extra trains on game day.
Since 2013, Amtrak has operated the Autumn Express every year during late October or early November. It is an excursion train that runs on lines normally used only for freight. The train originates and ends at the same station. Past trips have included Philadelphia–Harrisburg via the NEC, the port road branch, and the keystone corridor; Philadelphia–Harrisburg via Reading, and Albany/Schenectady to East Deerfield, Massachusetts via the Hoosac Tunnel.
Pictures of excursion trains in various countries.
Seasonal trains tend to run on a schedule at certain times of the year. Examples are:
- Ski trains which operate in winter, with emphasis on weekend service
- Train to the Game in the New York City area goes to Yankee Stadium in the summer and to the New Jersey Meadowlands in the fall
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Charter trains.|
- "Reno Fun Train". Retrieved 3 November 2011.
- http://www.vintagetrains.co.uk/uploads/documents/VT%20Share%20Document.pdf Vintage Trains CBS Shares document
- "Torbay Express Home Page – Torbay Express Limited". Torbayexpress.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
- "An iconic travel collection – luxury hotels, resorts, trains, restaurants, riverboats – experience a journey like no other". Orient-Express. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
- "Welcome to UK Railtours". UKRailtours.com. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
- "Mainline steam tours index". UKsteam.info. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
- Brattli, Thomas (13 March 2007). "The Pennsylvania Railroad GG1: Army-Navy Day Specials". Retrieved 3 November 2011.
- "High Iron Travel". Retrieved 3 November 2011.
- Mayes, Alex (13 December 2010). "Army-Navy game train 'Liberty Limited' returns to the rails". Trains. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
- Buccolo, Dave (17 December 2010). "Re: Army – Navy game ... The rest of the story!". Retrieved 3 November 2011.
- Polaneczky, Ronnie (22 December 2005). "Here's a Yule story that ought to be a movie". Philadelphia Daily News.
- Mikkelson, Barbara and David P. (4 January 2006). "Army-Navy Train". snopes.com. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
- "SEPTA beefs up schedule for Army-Navy game in Philadelphia". Gloucester County Times. 10 December 2010. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
- "Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days Train". Retrieved 3 November 2011.