WASHINGTON — Beginning this fall, passengers traveling on select Amtrak routes will have the option of lingering over five-course dinners, sleeping in luxurious suites and enjoying personal butler service.
The premium service is being made possible by a new partnership between GrandLuxe Rail Journeys, the country’s premier, private rail tour operator, and Amtrak, the national passenger rail service.
This is the first time in history that luxury accommodations have been offered on multiple Amtrak routes throughout the country.
Called GrandLuxe Limited, the new service uses a separate, private, seven-car luxury train attached to several regularly scheduled Amtrak trains. The GrandLuxe train, which features Dining, Lounge and Sleeping cars appointed with elegant vintage furnishings, will be occupied exclusively by GrandLuxe Limited passengers.
With departures starting in November and continuing through the holiday season into January 2008, GrandLuxe Limited will be available on three major Amtrak routes:
Between Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area, three days and two nights on the Amtrak California Zephyr;
Between Los Angeles and Chicago, three days and two nights on the Amtrak Southwest Chief; and
Between Washington, D.C. and Miami, two days and one night on the Amtrak Silver Meteor.
Additional two-day, one-night departures will be offered on special itineraries: Between Washington and Chicago on the Amtrak Capitol Limited; Denver to the San Francisco Bay Area on the Amtrak California Zephyr; and Denver to Chicago on the Amtrak California Zephyr.
The unprecedented collaboration between Amtrak and GrandLuxe is an effort to increase ridership and introduce a new market to luxury train travel. GrandLuxe Limited offers two- and three-day itineraries at more affordable prices than traditional GrandLuxe tours, which cover broader itineraries of seven to 10 days.
“This partnership allows us to write a little history by bringing luxury train travel back to routes that have not experienced it in decades,” said GrandLuxe CEO Tom Rader. “It’s a winning situation for everyone. GrandLuxe will be able to introduce its product to a wider market, while Amtrak gains new marketing visibility. Most important, travelers now have many more options for the mode and manner in which they travel.”
“This is precisely the kind of joint venture with the private sector that is a good fit for us,” said Amtrak President and CEO Alex Kummant. “Amtrak provides facilities and operating expertise while GrandLuxe offers highly specialized train equipment and service, broadening the marketing appeal of both companies.”
The partnership between Amtrak and GrandLuxe is in keeping with Amtrak’s strategic initiative to explore ways to expand its business reach and find creative ways to increase revenues through innovative partnerships with the private sector. The arrangement provides revenue for both companies in the partnership.
— Special to Railfanning.org News Wire