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Luxury Train news – Private Train to Iran, RTW Rail Tour & Cally Sleeper Re-duxe

September 5, 2013 by Jools Stone

Private train Iran

Here’s the first in our occasional series of posts, bringing you some lovely luxury train news, you lucky people you.

Behind the Iran Curtain

Gotta spare 15k burning a hole in your pocket? Yep, me too. Great, why not book yourself onto the first ever private train to be allowed into Iran from Europe?

A company called MIR Corporation is behind this private train tour, which departs from Budapest for Tehran this October. The 15-day ‘Jewels of Persia’ tour passes through Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, drinking in several UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Bulgaria’s ancient city of Veliko Tarnovo, the Fairy Chimneys and cave houses of Turkey’s Göreme Valley and the ruins of Persepolis in Iran. Intrepid travellers on these inaugural trips are promised ‘a truly unique route you won’t see on any standard itinerary.’

Can’t say F-f-f–f-Fairer than that


Tsars Gold Train

Round the World Train Trip

Still got that urge to splurge? No problemo, quash it with this even more epic Round The World train trip, courtesy of possibly the world’s least stutterer-friendly travel agent Ffestiniog Travel. FT, as you may prefer to call them, are hitting the big 4-0 next year (hey, me too, can I crash the party?) and to celebrate they’re really  pushing the boat out, or rather they’re pushing the luxury train out, with their epic 40-day Rail Holidays of the World trip.

For a mere £19,965 of your earth pounds they’ll whizz you across the globe, kicking off with a welcome dinner at the truly excellent Kings Cross St Pancras Renaissance hotel.

This world-whooping journey across the Northern Hemisphere begins in Europe, taking in city visits to Brussels, Frankfurt, Vienna, Budapest and Moscow, followed by 11 days on the privately-owned Tsar’s Gold Luxury train, with lunch in a typical nomadic herdsmen’s settlement, a Mongolian horseback riding show and even a stop in the Gobi Desert.

In China you’ll get escorted tours of the Great Wall of China, Tian’anmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Terracotta Warriors (in Xi’an) and a full day exploring Shanghai. Then they cheat a bit and stick you on a flight to Vancouver, where you’ll get some time to explore this fine, cultural melting pot of a city, before boarding the Rocky Mountaineer for a Gold Leaf service journey to Kamloops.
Rocky Mountaineer

You’ll get to explore two of Canada’s greatest national parks, Banff and Jasper, before hopping on to Via Rail’s Canadian train, through the famously wide open Prairies, via Saskatoon (which rhymes with balloon) and Winnipeg (which rhymes with boiled egg) to Toronto (which rhymes with pronto or orthodonto.)

Then it’s a case of ‘another day, another train operator’, as you board Amtrak’s Maple Leaf service to New York. The grand rail tour to end all grand rail tours finally reaches its apotheosis with a 3 night stay in the ‘Big Apple, where you’ll get more sightseeing and a lavish Farewell Dinner, just to cushion the blow of your re-entry to the real world, back on Blighty.

Want to book this journey with Ffestiniog Travel? Make sure you quote this reference when you do:  Ref: JS1

The humble Cally Sleeper to get the Orient Express treatment?


Mere hours after we published our guide to Scotland’s Caledonian Sleeper train we learned of news to give the night train service a bit of a blingy redux, when it gets put out for tender in 2015.Transport Scotland, who will award the 15 year contract, hope that the service will become ‘as iconic as the Orient Express‘, which certainly sounds rather ambitious given its present pedestrian state under the tenure of First Scotrail, but who knows?Could it even come to rival the OE’s Royal Scotsman one fine day? We’ll see. Stranger things have happened at sea and on the rails I suppose.’
Will it be mushrooms? Fried onion rings? We’ll have to wait and see.’*
*And if you get the above obscure ‘cultural reference’ and leave a comment below correctly identifying it, you can win a bumper prize of travel on all of the aforementioned epic train rides!
Only joking…



  1. Sally B says:

    This sounds incredible. Should I ever win the lottery….

  2. Jools says:

    Cheers Sally, and you can buy ours too when you do too!

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