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Traveling by Rail: nostalgic elegance and time to unplug

One of the most popular trends in travel today is actually an old one—traveling by rail.

Once the only affordable option, train travel in North America and in many countries of the world is making an impressive comeback—as it provides the unique opportunity to explore remote and exotic areas oftentimes not accessible by other means, plus the chance to connect with fellow adventure-seekers, and a way to experience the romance and nostalgia of a bygone era in a whole new way.

Deluxe, long-distance rail travel can offer a variety of great options—many trains provide modern and well-appointed staterooms, impressive cuisine created by onboard chefs, and spacious, glass-domed observation cars.

The new surge in popularity has encouraged many railway companies to invest in new trains, cars, and routes, designed to entice passengers who have never before considered train travel. Some are even restoring historic rail cars to provide a truly nostalgic experience for travelers.

Train travel is an adventure that requires a little planning ahead of time, but it’s important to know that not all trains, or train accommodations, are created equal—so a clear understanding of your choices is important.

Typically, more premium stateroom categories offer private en-suite bathroom facilities while other categories may share a communal bathroom for all guests in the same car, or share a bathroom with a neighboring stateroom.

Most staterooms usually contain single beds—some are even bunk beds, and cabins, while understandably compact, are usually well-appointed with modern amenities and picture windows for viewing the stunning landscapes passing by.

• Understand your accommodations and pack accordingly: most cabins have limited storage, so pack lightly and check the majority of your luggage into the baggage car for retrieval at your destination.

• If you are a light sleeper, bring earplugs and/or a white noise app for your phone.

• If you are using shared bathroom facilities, bring a bathrobe and slippers for your journey through the car corridor.

• Be aware of internet/Wi-Fi connectivity. Many trains travel through remote locations, so getting online may not be an option. However, don’t be intimidated by the potential lack of connectivity—the chance to unplug from technology and the outside world is rare and should be cherished.

• Get to know fellow travelers! Use time aboard to meet other guests as well as the crew. Some may be locals to the country or area you will travel through and can provide valuable and fascinating insights, and some really great stories!

Remember, sometimes the journey is the experience, not just the destination. All Aboard!

Orbridge has several great programs that feature rail travel:

Canadian Rockies Parks & Resorts: this program features an optional post-tour from Banff to Vancouver aboard the Rocky Mountaineer

Toronto to Vancouver by Railfrom Toronto to Vancouver (or reverse): a nostalgic rail journey that brings back the golden age of train travel—highlighted by three days traveling aboard The Canadian in Prestige Class.

Discover the Canadian Rockies by Rail: On board Rocky Mountaineer's all-dome fleet, travel through otherwise inaccessible terrain to unlock the unparalleled beauty of British Columbia, Alberta, and the Canadian Rockies. 

Trans Siberian Railway: this 14-day program features a stunning 7-night journey aboard the Tsar’s Gold from the Mongolian Alps to Moscow.