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Luxury Rail Journeys
Available Today!
by Ted & Sylvia Blishak
of Train Travel Consulting at Accent On Travel

This continuing series of news reports is produced in cooperation between
Train Travel Consulting at Accent On Travel and

While true luxury rail travel is hard to find in North America with the demise of the American Orient Express/GrandLuxe/American Railway Explorer trains, here are some great options.

Luxury Rail Journeys Now Available in North America.

First in a Series.

VIA Rail Canada's most luxurious option:
"Romance by Rail"

There is a little-known program on some year-round, regularly scheduled VIA Rail Canada trains. By special advance reservation, Train Travel Consulting at Accent on Travel will make special arrangements with VIA to prepare a truly deluxe experience for our travelers. Called Romance by Rail, it features a queen-sized bed with a colorful duvet, chocolates on your pillow, flowers, champagne, breakfast in bed, and a suite with his and hers enclosed toilets and wash-basins.

We sampled this option aboard VIA's flagship train, The Canadian, which runs between Toronto and Vancouver. It is possible to board at intermediate stops; we chose the Jasper to Vancouver overnight segment.

At the Jasper, Alberta station, we enjoyed the unique experience of walking alongside a genuine 1950's streamliner. Climbing aboard the next-to-last car we found two bedrooms with the wall between them opened up. A table with a royal blue cloth held a fresh floral arrangement, and champagne was chilling in a traditional free-standing ice bucket.

A white envelope was addressed to: Sylvia and Ted Blishak, Jasper to Vancouver. Inside was a colorful greeting card that said, "Wishing you a memorable journey! Bienvenue a board!"

Our French-accented car attendant became our virtual butler. He asked us if we would like room service for dinner. Why not? Soon we were enjoying a basket of warm bread, freshly baked on board. Our meal was included in the price of the trip; he even produced complimentary Grand Marnier to go with the lavish fruit and gourmet cheese platter that we ordered for dessert.

While he was making up our bed, we crept next door to the Strathcona Park Car and up the art-deco staircase with its glowing Lucite handrails, to the darkened Scenic Dome at the rear of the train. This is one of the Canadian's popular Park Series Dome/Lounge/Observation cars, each one bearing the name of a National Park. A very popular spot with sleeping class passengers during the day for observing scenery, it was nearly deserted at night.

Sitting in the forward upholstered seats under the glass dome, we had an experience available nowhere else on earth. VIA Rail features the only regularly scheduled streamliner service from the grand old days of railroading. The Scenic Dome provides a forward view over the single level cars, and two more domes up ahead.

With stars sparkling overhead, the stainless steel train with its softly-lit windows snaked around the Rocky Mountain's curves. VIA's signaling system uses red (train ahead, stop), yellow (caution, slow down), and green (clear track ahead). Approaching the lighted signal towers, the green lights, reflected off the shining corrugated steel roofs of the cars, would turn to red.

Our room, meanwhile, had been transformed. A queen-sized bed with luxurious cream-colored linens and a duvet with orange, rose, and yellow print awaited.

The car attendant asked if we would like coffee and juice in the morning with his wake-up call. Yes!

Unlike the experience on the Canadian's regular bedrooms, no berths were opened. There were no un-romantic decisions about which of us had to climb into a lonesome top bunk. And since we each had our own wash basin and enclosed toilet, there was no need to wait one's turn for the facilities.

Night sounds on a train are special. While VIA had thoughtfully provided ear plugs, we elected not to use them, as we enjoyed the rumbling wheels and the occasional "whoosh" of passing freights. The tracks on this portion of the Canadian National Railway have recently been upgraded with ribbon rail and concrete ties, and since the train's average speed between Jasper and Vancouver is only 31 mph we were gently rocked to sleep.

In the morning came a wake-up call, complete with delivery of one decaf coffee, one regular coffee, and orange juice. Next a plate of fresh croissants and Danish arrived.

We hadn't just covered kilometers between Jasper and Vancouver. We'd also traveled back in time to the ambiance of the Fabulous Fifties, but with a new luxurious Romance by Rail bonus.

The Canadian was soon backing into Pacific Central Station where passengers detrained onto the platform. We'd arrived back in the Twenty-First Century in beautiful, cosmopolitan Vancouver, British Columbia.

Click here for more information about the Romance by Rail experience.

Click here to continue to Part Two of this series

This continuing series of news reports is produced in cooperation between
Train Travel Consulting at Accent On Travel and

Call Train Travel Consulting at Accent On Travel
at 800-347-0645 to book YOUR railway adventure!

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