Rail Europe is offering a 30 percent discount between now and June 10 for Premier Tickets on France’s High Speed TGV train. When booking you need to enter the code FAST30 during checkout.TGV Premier Tickets provide large reclining seats on board and access to 10 different Salons Grand Voyageur in selected stations including Bordeaux St. Jean, Djon, Lille Flandres, Lyon Part-Dieu, Marseille St. Charles, Nantes, Paris Est, Paris-Gare de Lyon, Paris Nord, Paris Montparnasse and Strasbourg train station.
Bookings made online include a choice of on board meal options while on board. The TGV travels at speeds of up to 201 mph. Prices begin at $99 for TGV Premier Tickets. Bookings can be made by visiting Rail Europe’s website at agent.raileurope.com or by calling Rail Europe’s contact center.
Rocky Mountaineer is offering a Free Upgrade through June 28, on qualifying holiday packages of four nights or more for select departures in 2013. Upon booking, guests receive a complimentary rail seat upgrade. RedLeaf Service bookings are promoted to SilverLeaf Service, while bookings made in SilverLeaf are upgraded to GoldLeaf Service. Guests who book in GoldLeaf Service receive a $400 credit towards the package price.
One of the applicable packages is the eight-day/seven-night Western Explorer, which travels between Vancouver, BC and the Canadian Rockies. The journey includes two days on the Rocky Mountaineer and stays in Vancouver, Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff and Calgary. Guests can choose to begin or end their holidays with a Summit Helicopter Tour. The Free Upgrade Offer must be requested at time of booking.
Passengers on VIA Rail Canada’s Quebec City-Windsor corridor trains can now stream live videos on their laptop, smart phone or tablet. The new on-board entertainment will be provided to passengers in addition to the free Wi-Fi that is already in place. In partnership with CBC/Radio-Canada and the National Film Board — a publicly-funded film producer and distributor — VIA Rail will also allow passengers to view Canadian TV shows and news broadcasts.
This wide selection of on-board shows, in French and English, includes free CBC programming, animated and documentary movies from the National Film Board of Canada and the Heritage Minute series of short films on Canadian History. VIA Rail has offered Wi-Fi on all of its trains for the past two years. With this new on-board entertainment, passengers can sample Canadian culture on and off VIA Rail and throughout the entire trip.
Vacations By Rail is offering five new rail-cruise packages in 2013 bringing the total to more than 20 such vacations. “Rail-cruise combinations are one of our most popular vacation packages,” said Todd Powell, president of Vacations By Rail. “The essence of the vacation marries two unique yet complementary travel components and the result is a relaxing, scenic journey to amazing destinations.”
Established itineraries include the Empire Builder from Chicago through the Pacific Northwest to Seattle; the Coast Starlight connecting Los Angeles and Seattle; and, from Toronto through the Canadian Rockies to Vancouver aboard VIA Rail’s Canadian and continues through Alaska’s scenic Inside Passage by ship. In 2013, the company will add a two-night stay in Glacier National Park to a variation of the Empire Builder and Alaska Cruise vacation package.
The new 15-day Empire Builder with Glacier & Alaska Cruise, offers departures from Chicago on June 8, June 29, and Aug. 3. Prices start at $3,532 land-only, per person double occupancy plus port taxes.
Other new combination packages featuring an Alaska cruise include the 17-day Yosemite & Denali National Parks with Cruise vacation, highlights of which include travel aboard Amtrak’s Coast Starlight, visits to San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Seattle, Vancouver, and Denali National Park, and scenic ports of call in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Seward. Departures are available May 8, June 17, July 15 and 19, and Aug. 25. Prices start at $3,739 land-only, per person double plus port taxes.
The new Rocky Mountaineer & Alaska By Land and Sea vacation, a 16-day itinerary features a two-day all-daylight journey aboard the famous Rocky Mountaineer train from Banff to Vancouver, ports of call in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, and stays in Anchorage, Denali National Park and Fairbanks. Departures are available May 21, June 18, July 16, and Aug. 13 and 27. Prices start at $3,579 land-only, per person, double not inclusive of port taxes.
New train routes and cruise destinations include the California Zephyr & Mexico Cruise itinerary takes travelers from Chicago across America’s western frontier aboard the legendary California Zephyr to San Francisco followed by a 10-day Mexico cruise, and the new Chicago, New Orleans & Caribbean Cruise offers a 12-day itinerary, including roundtrip travel between Chicago and New Orleans aboard Amtrak’s City of New Orleans and a seven-night cruise to Mexico, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. Spring and summer departures are available and start at $2,611 land-only, per person, double occupancy; port taxes additional.
Rail Europe Inc. is offering agents the chance to offer their clients savings with the ‘Revolutionary Offer,’ which includes 20 percent off first class France Rail Passes promotion between April 9 through April 30. With this first-of-its-kind offer, agents who book a first class France Rail Pass can offer clients 20 percent off extensive travel on the national rail network of France. The France Rail Pass offers the flexibility of between three and nine days of consecutive or non-consecutive travel to be used within a one-month period.
For clients seeking a day trip, 20 percent off a First Class France Day Pass is also available. The France Day Pass provides extensive travel for one day during a one-month period on the national rail network of France including some of the region’s most welcoming cities, such as Lyon, Avignon, Marseille, Lille, Bordeaux, Nantes, Dijon and Reims. Prices begin at $226 for the first class France Rail Pass and at $122 for the first class France Day Pass.
Rail Europe Inc. is offering $100 off the Youth Eurail Global Pass and $75 off the Adult Eurail Global Pass when booked between now and June 12. Agents need to enter coupon code YOUTH100 or ADULT75 during checkout and the discount will be applied to the total purchase.
The Eurail Global Pass from Rail Europe provides city-center to city-center travel on the national rail networks of 24 European countries.
Participating national rail networks include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland (includes Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland), Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.
Prices begin at $393 for Eurail Global Youth Pass and $682 for the Eurail Global Adult Pass.
The continuous pass is available for 15 days, 21 days, one month, two months or three months and the flexipass is available for 10 or 15 days of travel within a two month period.
Bookings can be made by visiting Rail Europe’s website at agent.raileurope.com or by calling Rail Europe’s contact center or at the banner ad at right.
A new $466 million order from Siemens began rolling new locomotives onto the tracks yesterday for Amtrak. The new locomotives are part of a comprehensive Amtrak Fleet Strategy Plan to modernize and expand its equipment. The new units will replace electric locomotives that have between 25 and 35 years of service and average mileage of more than 3.5 million miles traveled with some approaching 4.5 million miles.
The trains promise to be more reliable and energy efficient than older generations. Amtrak ordered 70 advanced technology electric locomotives that are scheduled to begin going into service in the fall. The Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS-64) locomotives are being assembled in Siemens’ Sacramento, Calif., rail manufacturing plant powered by renewable energy, with parts built from its plants in Norwood, Ohio, Alpharetta, Ga., and Richland, Miss., and nearly 70 suppliers, representing more than 60 cities and 23 states.
The new locomotives will operate on Northeast Regional trains at speeds up to 125 mph on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) along the Washington – New York – Boston route and on Keystone Service trains at speeds up to 110 mph on the Keystone Corridor from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, Pa.
In addition, all long-distance trains operating on the NEC will be powered by the new locomotives. The new locomotives are designed for easier maintenance, will improve energy efficiency by using a regenerative braking system that will feed energy back into the power grid and will enhance mobility for the people, businesses and economy of the entire Northeast region. They also meet the latest federal rail safety regulations. The first three locomotives will undergo a comprehensive testing program this summer, including two at a U.S. Department of Transportation facility in Pueblo, Colo., and one on the NEC. Once they are commissioned, production of the remaining units will ramp up for monthly delivery through 2016.
General Tours introduced four new programs to India and Nepal, with optional combinations with Bhutan and Sri Lanka. Exploring South India and Sri Lanka begins in Cochin, Kumarakom and Kovalam and continues to Sri Lanka, visiting the rock fortress of Sigiriya and the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.
The trip includes the opportunity to harvest and sample Ceylon tea at a highland plantation.
India, Nepal and Bhutan is an upscale Private Tour to Delhi, Kathmandu, Thimpu and the Paro Valley with stops at the Tiger’s Nest Monastery and a flight-seeing excursion to Mt. Everest.
The Tigers of India is a premium Small Group Adventure features Mumbai, Khajuraho, Agra, Delhi and two game sanctuaries, including Kanha National Park, which is known for its conservation work with the Royal Bengal tiger.
The Mountains and Jungles of Nepal includes a stay at the mountain lodge in Pokhara and the Tiger Tops Lodge for an exploration of Annapurna Range and Royal Chitwan National Park.
The new programs are being launched with a $300 savings when paid in full at time of booking.
Vacations By Rail offers more than 15 independent and escorted train vacations to Glacier National Park including a new locally-hosted rail vacation just in time for summer travels. On the six-day Glacier National Park at Leisure vacation, travelers enjoy all the freedoms associated with a fully independent rail vacation while taking advantage of the services of a dedicated Vacations By Rail local host, available to assist with tour suggestions and make reservations while at Glacier National Park.
Other highlights include one-way rail transportation aboard Amtrak’s Empire Builder, hotel accommodations for four nights, select meals, and sightseeing including a comprehensive tour aboard a vintage Red Jammer along the famed Going-
Additional product offerings to Glacier National Park include a rail-cruise combination package, the 15-day Empire Builder, Glacier & Alaska Cruise; a variety of independent train packages including the seven-day Empire Builder with Glacier National Park, taking travelers from Chicago to Seattle with a four-night stay in the Park; and, a variety of escorted tours including America’s Great National Parks and Yellowstone & Glacier Adventure By Rail, both of which include visits to Glacier among its scenic destinations.
The recently lifted trade sanctions on Myanmar continue to speed the country toward a higher level of tourism development. One of Yangon’s colonial architectural treasures, the Burma Railway Building, will be repurposed into the proposed Peninsula Yangon Hotel, if the development is approved.
In April, the Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels group, entered into a non-binding agreement with Singapore-based Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd. (Yoma) for a proposed hotel development in Yangon, Myanmar.
The project is subject to binding agreements being signed and the fulfillment of a number of conditions and in this connection, the proposed hotel development may or may not proceed.
The proposed hotel is located on the site of the former headquarters of the Burma Railway Building on Bogyoke Aung San Road in Yangon. It is in the central business district of Yangon, about a mile southwest of the Shwedagon Pagoda, north of the Yangon River and adjacent to Scott’s Market, which is a major tourist attraction.
The proposed hotel will be at the heart of a mixed-use development, of which Yoma is in the process of acquiring an 80 percent interest in the land development rights of the entire development.
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