Private Rail Cars: America's Luxury Rail Travel (2023)

Private Rail Cars: America's Luxury Rail Travel (2)

US luxury train travel is here... with your own private carriages

Private Rail Cars: America's Luxury Rail Travel (3)

Von Jennifer Bellenoit
Updated December 2021

After delays caused by Covid-19, private train travel will start in June 2023!

Remember when trains were the most popular means of travel? Remember the romance of exquisitely finishing a rail car from old black and white movies?

The slow chugging rhythms of the locomotive? The deep lull of the wheels running across the tracks? These private wagons are luxury hotels on rails!

Luxury todayTrain travel in the USAseems to exist as a memory. Unless you are North Korea's Kim Jong-Un and own a private train, you cannot ride in your own carriage. Until now.

Get to know America's trains.

Luxury train travel USA: Like in the old days in private wagons

America’s Trains Incoffers its guests the same luxurious travel andprivate rail vehiclesthat used to be reserved for the richest Americans only.

You can travel between many popular cities in the US and Canada, with many more to come.

America's Trains' Barry Jones explained that "current demand already ensures that full occupancy is likely to occur, given that the relatively long average lead time between booking a Journey passenger and the departure date is more than eight months."

The trips aren't cheap, but they're a serious throwback to the grand ol' days of rail travel. Feel like a robber baron in one of your own luxury private train carriages!

Private Rail Cars: America's Luxury Rail Travel (4)


The wagons are partAmtrakTrains. These include 'train sets', which are multiple carriages that travel together and offer bedrooms, gourmet meals, lounges and bar facilities. America's trains offerprivate carThese include up to four bedrooms, dining and lounge facilities that can be operated as part of the train sets or simply on their own.

More than repainted

Incidentally, America's Trains carriages are not old equipment with new paintwork and new furniture. They will be completely rebuilt, redesigned and refurbished to exceed Amtrak mechanical specifications and meet the needs of discerning luxury customers.

(Video) 48hrs on a PRIVATE TRAIN in America!

“We're not trying to replicate antiquated skills that were in vogue when trail travel was at its peak. Instead, the best of those attributes are combined with modern conveniences and systems that make the cars the best in America and on par with the best in the world,” said Barry.

Private Rail Cars: America's Luxury Rail Travel (5)

Train’Share, wie Timeshare

America's Trains offers two types of travel, including individual and all-inclusiveTravel by train(typical commercial train holidays) andTrain shares(Railway car timeshare). Train'Share travelers have the option to reserve travel on a timeshare basis, which Jones says "represents one of the fastest-growing segments of leisure travel."

Guests have the opportunity to travel by rail at a lower price than individual Journey vacationers or passengers on comparable foreign luxury trains (there are no others in the US). You also have the opportunity to swap a trip (train holiday) for a holiday at a wide range of the world's best resorts. You can even trade them in for a cruise.

Private Rail Cars: America's Luxury Rail Travel (6)

Perpetual option

AccordinglyAmerica’s Trains-WebsiteTrain'Share buyers can purchase an "unlimited term" for endless additional years or an "initial term" of 10 years.

Some of the best benefits of Journey by Rail are en-route stops, where passengers stay aboard the luxurious carriages while enjoying nearby hosted and optional attractions without having to transfer to and from hotels.

There are also special events and parties, holiday offers before and after the mainland, a choice of itineraries, an owner newsletter, special pre-determined preferences such as activities and complimentary drinks including alcoholic beverages.

Choose your own routes

Individual Journey and Train'Share owners reserving all the rooms in a carriage have the ability to choose the destinations and routes.

Train'Share owners also become a member of the Train'Share Association, which offers owners other benefits such as train, rail and travel-related items at discounted prices, an owner newsletter, favorite free beverage brands of all kinds, and special predetermined preferences such as activities and menus.

Unlike traditional timeshares, Train'Share owners do not have to pay a fee when a scheduled train ride is not used, and America's Trains buys back the Train'Share with no financial loss to the owner.

Visit the website for a more detailed list of benefits.

Private Rail Cars: America's Luxury Rail Travel (7)

wagon options

America's Trains' first train sets will have up to three cars with approximately 13 rooms, all with full bathrooms and private showers. There are usually two people in a room, some with a third bed. The train sets are kept small to accommodate passenger activities such as lectures, cooking classes, dancing, table games and other small-group activities.

According to Jones, a key advantage to having a small number on board is "the rapport and camaraderie that comes when a small group of like-minded travelers come together."

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Or, if you want a completely private experience, you can reserve all the bedrooms in one car. For example the two-story Sunflower withPrivate rail vehiclesconsists of two or three double rooms in the quadruple category, a lounge, a dining room and a kitchen.

All three bedrooms have en-suite bathrooms with showers. Private cars have separate crew quarters and travel with two or three crew members, a porter or steward, or both. Up to eight passengers can occupy the car. Private cars are not suitable for children.

Private Rail Cars: America's Luxury Rail Travel (8)

Eat on the rails

The guests are spoiled by the fine cuisine. With an impeccable staff ready to cater to your every whim, you'll be served the finest and healthiest North American cuisine using fresh, local ingredients.

Guests even have the option to request special menus and drinks before departure. The trains are usually open dining places, or you can make a reservation. Lighter meals are available in the lounge and bar areas.

Sleeping on America's Trains

Rooms are fully equipped with comfortable pillows, fine linens and hairdryers, and have a personal 24-hour on-call service. Beds are either king or extra large queens with plenty of space.

The rooms are not a typical sleeper car. Due to the advantages for small groups, more details are provided by the crew to ensure you the best possible comfort.

Costs for private rail vehicles

Typical trips are six to eight day trips across the United States from Texas to New Orleanswith stopovers in Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston and New Orleans, followed by other journeys in the future, according to America's Trains' Barry Jones.

Post-Covid-19 routes are detailed on the website.The trips begin in June 2023but reservations can be made now.

With stops in Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston and New Orleans

Per person with double occupancy per bedroom (except single rooms):

Grande Suite 7.087 $ – Master Suite 6.641 $ – Deluxe Double – 6.195 $
Classic Double (top and bottom bed) - $5,750
Single traveller: 175% of the double occupancy price per person
3rd passenger: If available – $700

Private Rail Cars: America's Luxury Rail Travel (9)

Early bird/reservation discounts:
210 or more days in advance 16% - 175 days 11% - 140 days 8% - 105 days 5%
rounded to the nearest $100

Journeys and routes in America's trains

Private Rail Cars: America's Luxury Rail Travel (10)

There will be nine active routes and 13 more will follow in a few years. A typical train holiday lasts one week. Similar to a cruise vacation, Journeys by Rail offer stopovers that allow guests to disembark and exploreMuseums of Washington DCor enjoy the vastness of theGrand Canyon.

Ports of call vary from more than a full day to around eight hours and are designed to allow passengers ample time to fully enjoy each point of interest.

(Video) 40hrs on America’s Most Luxurious Train

Most routes are one-way and air fares to these ports are the responsibility of guests. However, where appropriate, arrangements will be made for connecting travel on an Amtrak train.

Some routes return to the original port. The Canadian International Falls route starts in Washington D.C. and makes stops in Niagara Falls, Toronto and Buffalo before returningWashington, D.Cas the ultimate goal.

Future private rail vehicle train journeys in 2023

An example of an itinerary is Journey Southwestern Eastbound, which begins in Los Angeles and ends in Chicago on Day 8.

At 6.40pm the train departs and on the second day at 12.40pm you will be staring at the natural wonders and beautiful scenery of theGrand Canyon.

After an overnight stay in the Grand Canyon, the train departs at 4:30 PM for an overnight stay in Williams AZ.

Day 4 consists of an overnight stay exploring the southwestern city of Albuquerque before heading to Kansas City on Day 5. On this day the train travels through the rugged, snow-capped hills of the Rockies and finally into the smooth, wide prairie lands of Kansas.

Guests have the opportunity to see the wonders of the West from the comfort of the gently rolling train in their private carriages. That's why train travel is the best way to see America. After an overnight stay in Kansas City, the train departs for its final destination:Chicago.

Fares 2023

From Fort Wort to New Orleans– 8 days and 7 nights,

Per person with double occupancy per bedroom (except single rooms):
Grande Suite 7.087 $ – Master Suite 6.641 $ – Deluxe Double – 6.195 $
Classic Double (top and bottom bed) - $5,750

Individual traveler:175% of the double occupancy price per person
3. Passenger:If available – $700

Discounts apply to the above prices when booked well in advance of departure.

Although the cost may seem a bit expensive, the journey prices are much lower than comparable luxury on comparable foreign luxury train journeys.

There is no comparable train holiday in the USA. If you choose America's Trains Train'Share basis, the price of a ride is approximately 1/3 of normal commercial Journey fares.

SeeAmerica's TrainsWebsite for a price comparison. The company prefers customers to call and arrange the rides as it is very personal.

(Video) 5. Riding America's LUXURY TRAIN to Alaska!

Some things stay the same during a weak economy: food, movies and especially now travel.The small numbers and low passenger density on any Journey by Rail vacation allows for a polite exclusion of passengers who may be suffering from a contagious disease and represent the only way to fully experience America's grandeur, history, diversity and natural attractions, Jones says.

Interest in rail travel for luxury rail travel abroad is outstripping demand as more affluent consumers reaffirm their keen interest in the unique experiences they offer.”

Lots of stops

Although en-route stops offer endless fun out-of-car activities, it's not the destination but the journey itself that makes a train holiday in a private carriage special.

Within a few years, America's Trains fleet will grow to approximately 29 standard passenger cars traveling as part of various train sets.

They offer 1 to 5 carriages, as well as several 2 and 3 bedroom self-contained private carriages that can travel alone or with a train set, and some activity carriages that travel with train sets to provide special entertainment and events.

Cars share common interior features, but each has unique luxurious features. They are all named after flowers.

Some things stay the same during a weak economy: food, movies and especially now travel. Train travel has always been the best way to see America, says Jones. Train travel has “risen among more affluent consumers, reaffirming the significant interest in the type of vacation on offer”.

It's definitely not the destination but the journey itself that makes it worthwhile.

Read more about luxury train travel on GoNOMAD

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Is there luxury train travel in the USA? ›

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.

Can I travel by private train car? ›

These private train cars are luxury hotels on rails! Today, luxury train travel in the US appears to exist as a memory. Unless you're North Korea's Kim Jong-Un and own a private train, you can't ride in your own train car.

Does Amtrak still pull private cars? ›

Amtrak provides the ability for rail/train car owners to have their privately-owned rail/train cars attached to our trains between specified locations to see North America in an extraordinary way. We also provide many services, including 480v standby power, water, ice, septic, car wash, parking, and switching.

Do rich people have private trains? ›

But now, a concept from luxury ship designer Thierry Gaugain has gone straight in as the coolest thing you can buy as a billionaire. Welcome to the private train. Now, before this all gets a bit Snowpiercer, the $350 million G Train concept isn't a vehicle for the masses.

Can you rent a private train car in the US? ›

Private rail car rentals typically start from about US$9,000 per day. Our project and guest management services allow your journey to be planned to the last detail.

Is Amtrak Superliner roomette private? ›

The Amtrak Sleeping Car fleet consists of two types of cars: Superliner and Viewliner. The primary difference: a Superliner features two levels of private rooms per car and Viewliner features a single level.

How much does it cost to cross the US by train? ›

USA coast to coast from $197...

You'll see nothing of America at 35,000 feet, so come down to Earth and see world class scenery from an Amtrak train across the United States. You can travel cross-country from as little as $197 (around £144 or €162) if you book well in advance, one of the world's great travel bargains.

Are there any sleeper trains in the USA? ›

The Amtrak Sleeping Car fleet consists of two types of cars: Superliner and Viewliner. The primary difference: a Superliner features two levels of private accommodations per car and Viewliner features a single level. For your trip, the type of car will depend on the route you select.

Is there an Orient Express train in the US? ›

GrandLuxe Rail Journeys - formerly American Orient Express

These premier private trains offer 7 to 9 night journeys through the National Parks, Napa Valley, Western United States and Mexico.

Are there any luxury trains in North America? ›

The Canadian is an iconic North American luxury train that has earned its reputation by connecting Canada's major cities and allowing you to appreciate the views along the way: glistening lakes, awe-inspiring mountains, and iconic national sites.


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