Great Rail Journeys
|Nick Cust (Chairman)
Peter Liney (CEO)
|Products||Escorted Rail Tours|
Number of employees
Great Rail Journeys, based in York, United Kingdom, is a tour operator that offers escorted worldwide rail tour holidays. The company is Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (ATOL)-bonded and is a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO).
The company was started by two British Rail employees, Ian Macbeth and Howard Trinder, in the mid-1980s as "Mac's Tours", which organised international holidays for British Rail staff who were entitled to discounted foreign rail travel. The company was restyled as "Great Rail Journeys" in 1994.
In 2004 Great Rail Journeys was a founder member of the Amber Travel Partnership with independent specialist tour operator, Inntravel. In 2005, the Amber Travel Partnership was acquired by the independent private equity firm, Primary Capital and launched in 2006 a new subsidiary website, "railselect.com", which organises individual tours, rather than group tour products.
Great Rail Journeys focuses on first class escorted rail tours across four different continents, primarily travelling on prestige or historic trains, accompanied by a tour manager. Excluding tours within the United Kingdom, journeys begin in London, using St Pancras railway station or an airport depending on the destination. The majority of the itineraries are within Europe, but tours are also offered in Africa, Asia, Australasia and North America and include journeys on The Trans-Siberian Express, The Glacier Express USA Coast to Coast, India’s Palace on Wheels, The Marrakech Express and The Arctic Circle Express.
On 12 September 2015, a four-carriage train chartered by Great Rail Journeys on the Kalka-Shimla Railway, a World Heritage Site that runs from Kalka up to Shimla, derailed near the northern hill town of Kalka. A spokesman for Indian Railways confirmed that "Two coaches were derailed resulting in the deaths of two female passengers, while three others of the thirty seven passengers suffered serious injuries and five more were discharged after treatment for cuts, bruises or simple fractures".
The 96km narrow-gauge Kalka-Shimla Railway, often called the toy train line, was opened in 1903 to connect Shimla, the summer capital of British India, with the northern plains. The railway climbs more than 4,000ft through the Himalayan foothills, and is famous for its many bridges, tunnels and panoramic views; it has been managed by the State-owned Northeast Frontier Railway since 1958.
- Staff (2012). "About Us". Great Rail Journeys. Great Rail Journeys. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
- Staff (2012). "Home". railselect.com. Great Rail Journeys Group of Companies. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
- ECI invests in Amber Travel
- Amber Travel appoints new CEO
- "India train crash: Two Britons dead and 'many' injured". The Independent. 12 September 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
- "Two British tourists die in northern India train derailment". The Guardian. 12 September 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
- "British tourists killed as India train derails". BBC. 12 September 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
- "Mountain Railways of India". UNESCO. 12 September 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
- Barrett, Frank (June 8, 2009)."Steam rail holidays: How breathing in the nostalgic whiff of coal lifted my Harz." Daily Mail. Accessed January 2012.
- McClarence, Stephen(12 October 2008). "On the Slow Train to Highland Glories." Daily Express. Accessed January 2012.