Commuters may think of a train ride as a dull, bare-bones trek on the Long Island Railroad or even an affordable Amtrak trip. Either of these modes of transportation will get you where you’re going. But the history of trains is far more glamorous, dating back to luxurious excursions — akin to today’s cruise lines — at the turn of the 20th century.
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Today, as travelers seek unique experiences and ways to see the country and connect with nature — albeit through the glass panes of train windows — luxury railways are making a comeback in the U.S., according to many reports.
And especially with airlines facing rising fares and unprecedented delays, a luxury train ride can be the perfect way to reach your destination (and enjoy the ride while you’re at it). But what is the most luxurious train ride in America? That’s up for debate.
Amtrak does, in fact, offer scenic, luxury rail journeys to top locations across the U.S., especially if you are looking for some vacation deals. But here are some other companies that, based on reviews, also take train travel to the next level.
Earning 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor, the Rocky Mountaineer has four rail routes, including one that journeys from Salt Lake City, Denver, or Las Vegas — through Moab, Utah and Red Rock — with stops in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and Denver. Distinguishing features of the ride include glass-domed rail cars to enjoy the breathtaking views in panoramic beauty, a luxury dining experience and, for those who book the Silver Leaf Plus package, an outdoor observation deck and passenger lounge car.
Prices range from roughly $1,400 per person for a two-day / one-night trip up to nearly $2,000 for a four-night journey. You can also add a flightseeing adventure to your journey, which would run more than $3,000 total per person.
Napa Valley Wine Train
Combine the best of Napa Valley winery tours with the luxury of a journey on a historic rail. The company offers multiple options, including overnight stays in the region and lengthy wine tasting tours.
The Vista Dome is considered the company’s “most picturesque rail car,” according to Napa Valley Wine Train. A one-day tour includes a multi-course gourmet meal and a welcome glass of sparkling wine from the region. Tours start at $350 for a lunch tour and $420 for a dinner tour, with prices being higher on weekends and at other peak travel times.
Strasburg Rail Road
The east coast also offers exciting scenic railway journeys. Start your journey in Strasburg, Pennsylvania (known as “Train Town USA”), with a round-trip tour through Lancaster County while you revel in historic luxury. The company offers rides for all ages, including several Christmas experiences, a Murder Mystery performance, and a Wine & Cheese ride with first class accommodations. Prices range from $22 up to $70 per person, depending on the package you choose. While you’re in town, check out the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.
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