Golden Eagle Luxury Trains, the leading operator of luxury rail tours by private train, continues to pioneer railway journeys to some of the world’s most intriguing destinations, with five new voyages of a lifetime for 2018.
Tickets have gone on sale for Britain’s most exclusive ever steam rail tour: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for 38 passengers to mark the 10th anniversary of the Tornado steam locomotive in October 2018. The two-week round-Britain steam tour on board the prestigious Belmond Royal Scotsman is peppered with cultural highlights, including special access to otherwise private locations.
Introduced for 2018 aboard the gleaming Golden Eagle private train are two wholly unique and fascinating journeys: the BAM Explorer which uncovers little-visited Siberia along the lesser-known railway line to the north of the Trans-Siberian; and Caucasian VI, an epic 15-day passage by steam, covering 3,500 miles from Moscow to the North Caucasus, hauled by 21 restored Soviet-era steam locomotives. With Russia and its neighbouring countries changing so rapidly, now is an exciting time to visit.
Leading a renaissance for luxury sleeper trains in Europe is the Golden Eagle Danube Express with its recent addition of Superior Deluxe cabins, and two new pioneering journeys in 2018. Introduced next year is a grand tour of some of the world’s most scenic railways on the Grand Alpine Express and a trail-blazing passage through Sicily.
THE MOST EXCLUSIVE BRITISH STEAM RAIL TOUR… EVER
Tornado 10th Anniversary Tour of Great Britain: The Tornado, the celebrity A1 Peppercorn pacific steam locomotive, will haul the 10 sumptuous and intricately designed carriages of the prestigious Belmond Royal Scotsman on the lion’s share of the 2,200 mile journey. The tour, which pairs the most luxurious British train with this amazing new-build locomotive, and showcases the very best of Great Britain, stretches from the Highlands down to Penzance, and includes Chester, Oxford, Stonehenge and Bath.
Built in Darlington and entering traffic in 2008, the much-loved Tornado was remarkable for becoming the first steam locomotive to officially reach 100mph in over 50 years on British tracks. It will be only the second time that Tornado has hauled a sleeper train, the first being the Royal Train in 2012, with HRH Prince Charles aboard.
With its en-suite cabins, plush beds and tartan furnishings, Belmond Royal Scotsman forms the perfect country house-on-wheels from which to savour this ultimate tour.
Of course the rail journey itself is the star of the show, whether enjoying a nightcap on a rare night-time-steam-hauled trip, lunching on board while travelling on the Highland Mainline, traversing the Severn Valley Railway resplendent in its autumn colors, or soaking up the stunning scenery of the Welsh Highland Railway through the Aberglaslyn Pass. However, there are exciting excursions aplenty and three black tie dinners, woven within the itinerary.
Price: from $39,995pp based on two sharing including 14 days’ all-inclusive, the services of a tour manager, transfers from Edinburgh airport or railway station, 9 nights on board Belmond Royal Scotsman, two nights’ luxury accommodation in Edinburgh and two in St. Ives, welcome and farewell dinners, guided excursions, route guide and information pack, all meals, most drinks, porterage and gratuities. Departs: 14 October 2018.
NEW VOYAGES ON BOARD GOLDEN EAGLE FOR 2018
From Siberia’s grand wilderness and the nomadic lands of Mongolia to the ancient landscapes of Persia, rail cruising allows access to the very heart of these remote and otherwise largely inaccessible regions. The experience is care-free aboard the Golden Eagle luxury hotel-on-wheels, with meticulously planned itineraries, fine dining menus, fully guided sightseeing, and on board activities such as vodka tastings and Russian language lessons.
Trans-Siberian BAM Explorer: Running parallel to the north of the famous Trans-Siberian line, the Baikal-Amur-Magistral (BAM) railway visits areas rarely experienced by foreign travellers along Russia’s final frontier. Extraordinarily, this engineering feat, which took 60 years to complete across some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain, was constructed in almost complete secrecy.
Step aboard the Golden Eagle in Vladivostok to head north to meet the eastern terminus of the BAM mainline at Sovetskaya Gavan, where the rail adventure to discover the lesser-known communities and outstanding untouched beauty of Siberia begins. Visit Vanino and Vysokorgonaya – both linked to the goldfields; Komsomolsk, the gulag labour camp capital of the Russian Far East; Tynda, the largest town in the region with its museum offering a fascinating insight into the building of the BAM railway; and Nerchinsk which leads a forgotten existence having been bypassed by the Trans-Siberian line. The Golden Eagle then returns to more familiar ground on the main Trans-Siberian line to Irkutsk and the stunning Lake Baikal branch line, before arriving in time for the spectacular Naadam Festival in the Mongolian capital of Ulaan Baatar. Price: from US$15,895pp, including 4 nights’ hotel accommodation (1 in Vladivostok, 3 in Ulaan Baatar) and 10 nights’ on the Golden Eagle. Departs: 29 June 2018.
Caucasian VI: This impressive one-off steam journey offers a constantly changing window on a rarely explored part of south-west Russia and returns Golden Eagle Luxury Trains to the area of its very first rail tour of Russia in 1992. The Golden Eagle will be hauled throughout by 21 different Soviet-era steam locomotives, covering 3,500 miles from Moscow down to the North Caucasus and along the warm waters of the Black Sea coast, before looping back to the Russian capital.
After sightseeing in Moscow, which includes a private viewing of the Kremlin, the train will venture south hauled by a selection of stunning P36 locomotives, to the historic city of Saratov on the banks of the Volga River, and Astrakhan, Russia’s Caviar capital. Moving west, explore the captivating cities at the foothills of Caucasus Mountains, including Grozny in Chechnya, as well as the Mineralniye Vodi area, a former holiday playground of the Soviet elite. Further highlights of this unique steam-hauled tour include a picturesque narrow gauge railway journey through the remote Guamsky Canyon; meandering along the scenic coastal ‘Russian Riviera’ line to Sochi for a tour of the Winter Olympic city; a trip on the miniature Gagarin Children’s Railway around Nikolai Ostrovsky Park; and visiting Volgograd (the former Stalingrad) where one of the most important Second World War battles took place. Price: from US$12,695pp, including 2 nights’ hotel accommodation in Moscow and 12 nights’ on the Golden Eagle. Departs: 29 September 2018.
NEW EUROPEAN VOYAGES ON BOARD GOLDEN EAGLE DANUBE EXPRESS FOR 2018
Grand Alpine Express: Journeying from Budapest to Venice, expect dramatic alpine backdrops, beautiful lakes and some of the most scenic railways in the world on this new trip across Central Europe. From the classic capital cities of Budapest and Vienna, the Golden Eagle Danube Express ventures deep into the Austrian Tyrol visiting Innsbruck, passing through St. Anton and crossing Liechtenstein, before heading across the valleys of the Swiss Alps to Zurich. The Italian Lake District is next, with a lunch stop at Lake Como and a meander along the shores of Lake Garda, as well as visits to Milan and Trieste. The train then loops into western Slovenia climbing through the Julian Alps towards picturesque Lake Bled and Ljubljana, before returning to Italy for the voyage’s end, Venice.
Weaving through tunnels, crossing viaducts and traversing mountain passes, journey highlights include climbing over the Semmering Pass, views of Lake Achen from a steam rack railway, and a scenic ascent up to the St Gotthard Pass. Off the train, enjoy a private concert at The House of Mozart featuring the Vienna Supreme Orchestra, a cellar visit to sample the Veneto region’s famous Soave wines in Verona, in addition to sightseeing stops in each of the cities visited. Price: from US$9,195pp, including 4 nights’ hotel accommodation (2 in Budapest, 2 in Venice) and 6 nights’ on the Golden Eagle Danube Express. Departs: 22 June 2018.
Sicilian Odyssey: Step aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express in Venice for a 12-day passage south to Sicily taking in quiet Cremona, foodie Bologna, microstate San Marino, port-side Bari, and the crumbling ruins of Pompeii. Highlights along the way include the opportunity to visit the Ferrari factory at Marenello, sampling local wine at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, and a scenic route through the beautiful Parco Nazionale del Cilento. Upon reaching Italy’s southern tip, the hotel-on wheels boards one of the very few train ferries in the world for the short crossing to Sicily, where it is thought it will be the first luxury private train to tour the island.
The first stop is the bustling capital Palermo to enjoy a walking tour and concert, followed by a detour to Corleone to learn about the notorious Mafia families, made famous by Francis Ford Coppola’s movie, The Godfather. The next five days are devoted to exploring Sicily’s cultural gems, among them: the impressive Greek ruins at Agrigento; picture-postcard pretty Ragusa; ancient Syracuse; the hilltop town of Caltagirone; and, the final stop, Taormina. There are plenty of special experiences to enjoy too, from a boat ride around the island of Ortigia, a pastry cooking class in Catania and a guided tour of Mount Etna museum with a local volcanologist, followed by local wine sampling on the mountain slopes. Price: from US$12,495pp, including 4 nights’ hotel accommodation (2 in Venice, 2 in Taormina) and 7 nights’ on the Golden Eagle Danube Express. Departs: 17 September 2018.
PRICES FOR THE GOLDEN EAGLE & THE GOLDEN EAGLE DANUBE EXPRESS are per person, based on two sharing a Silver Class cabin (Golden Eagle) or Heritage cabin (Golden Eagle Danube Express), and include all drinks with meals (inc. a generous allowance of quality wines), fully guided off-train excursions, porterage, arrival and departure transfers, the services of a Tour Manager and all gratuities. Hotel accommodation is 5-star (4 in Vladivostok).
For further information contact Golden Eagle Luxury Trains ongoldeneagleluxurytrains.com, +44 (0)161 928 9410.