Connoisseur Rail Tours Archive

This section of our website contains details of previous escorted tours we have run and provides you with a comprehensive overview of the many different destinations we visit. The selection includes Connoisseur Rail Tours which illustrate the great variety and quality of content of our holidays. We cater for both the general tourist who loves travelling by train AND the rail enthusiast who wants the railway journey to be a key part of the holiday.

These tours are currently unavailable as escorted tours, but they may provide inspiration and ideas for those looking to find a personalised Signature rail holiday. We can adapt tours to create tailor-made holidays for couples, families or groups of friends.

The prices for these tours are at the time the tour took place and are now out of date, but they provide a useful cost indication. Please don't hesitate to contact us direct if you wish to discuss any of the tours further.

Indian Hill Railways

Sunday 9 February to Saturday 1 March 2014

A repeat of our hugely successful tour to India that includes the three Hill Station railways as featured in the popular BBC series. This wonderful tour combines the three most exceptional railways that served the former British Hill Stations. Engineering excellence, fierce gradients and stunning scenery make for a memorable tour.

Day 1 - Fly London to Amritsar

Indian Hill RailwaysEvening flight London to Amritsar via Delhi.

Day 2 - Arrive in India

Arrive in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar for a 2-night stay. Afternoon free to relax.

Day 3 - Full day in and around Amritsar

Golden Temple - © Ray SmithMorning sightseeing tour of Amritsar including the stunning Golden Temple. Afternoon visit to the Atari-Wagah frontier post, a thoroughly unusual and unexpected experience.

Day 4 - By rail and road across the Punjab

Morning train across the Punjab to Ludhiana and onward by road to Nalagarh and the romantic Nalagarh Palace Hotel.

Day 5 - Kalka Shimla Railway

ZDM-3 No. 192 at Kalka Station - © Ray SmithBy road to Kalka where we visit the extensive 2ft 6in gauge workshops of the Kalka Shimla Railway. Later we travel by privately chartered carriage or Railbus over this astonishing line to Shimla, the former summer capital of British India. We remain here for 2-nights on full board.

Day 6 - Old Colonial Shimla

Sightseeing tour of Shimla including Viceroy’s Lodge, formerly the seat of power of the Indian Raj and the colourful Hanuman Temple.

Day 7 - Free Day in Shimla

Taj Mahal - © Bob CableEnjoy a free day in Shimla before an evening train departure to Kalka with a simple dinner served on board (included), perhaps the only 2ft 6in gauge railway in the world to offer this facility. Onward by night train in air-conditioned, 2-tier sleepers on the Kalka Howrah Mail.

Day 8 - Sightseeing in Agra

Delhi Railway Museum - © Ray SmithBreakfast will be served before we arrive at Tundla (Agra) for an overnight stay. Sightseeing will include the ‘Baby Taj’ and the wonderful Mogul Red Fort with views across the Jamuna River to the Taj Mahal.

Day 9 - Visit the Taj Mahal

Visit the sublime Taj Mahal at dawn, a truly unforgettable experience. Later we visit Akbar’s Mausoleum at Sikandra before continuing by road to Delhi for 2 nights.

Day 10 - Sightseeing in Delhi

Delhi Railway Museum - © Ray SmithWe visit some of the many famous sights of Delhi including the India Gate, Rajpath, Qutab Minar, and Humayun’s Tomb. Afternoon visit to the famous Delhi Railway Museum.

Day 11 - Fly to Bagdogra

Morning flight to Bagdogra in West Bengal where we transfer to our hotel for lunch (included) before an afternoon visit to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) depot at Siliguri Junction. We stay here for 1 night on full board.

Day 12 - From Siliguri to Kurseong

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway - © Michael WhitehouseDarjeeling Himalayan Railway - © Ray SmithDepart from Siliguri Junction on our charter train made up of two very comfortable 1st Class carriages, hauled by a B Class 0-4-0. Proceed to Chundbhati where we transfer to road vehicles for a visit to the running shed and works at Tindharia. There will be many stops and buses running in parallel for photography. This magnificent line climbs to over 7,000 feet using zig-zags and loops with fabulous views. Continue by road to Kurseong for a 1-night stay on full board.

PLEASE NOTE that in the event that one or more sections of the line are reopened the train will continue either to Tindharia or Kurseong without the transfer to road transport.

Day 13 - Another Day on the DHR

Second day of the charter continues from Kurseong to Darjeeling. The train winds its way straight up the main street of Kurseong and other villages before reaching the summit at Ghoom and descending into Darjeeling. A 3-night stay on full board.

Days 14 and 15 - Magical Darjeeling

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway - © Bob CableTwo full days in Darjeeling for general sightseeing or further travel on the DHR. On the last day we have a farewell trip on the DHR by travelling on the ‘Joy Train’ from Darjeeling, round the Batasia loop, to the summit at Ghoom where we visit the fascinating DHR museum.

Day 16 - Fly to Chennai

Return to Bagdogra by road and then fly to Chennai via Calcutta. Overnight in Chennai.

Day 17 - Train to Coimbatore

We take a late morning train across Southern India from Chennai to Coimbatore arriving in the early evening. A 1-night stay on full board.

Day 18 - Nilgiri Railway

YDM-4 6414 at Ooty - © Ray SmithWe depart on the metre gauge Nilgiri Rack Railway, steam hauled from Mettupalayam to Coonoor. The train will be hauled (or rather pushed) by one of the huge SLM built rack tanks up the astonishing escarpment into the Blue Mountains. Coonoor to Ooty will be diesel hauled. A 2-night stay on full board.

Day 19 - The Cool Blue Mountains

Whole day sightseeing, including the Dodabetta Peak, the Botanical Gardens, a tea garden and Coonoor station and shed. Return to the hotel for a Farewell Dinner.

Day 20 - Journey Home

Most of the day at leisure before returning by road to Coimbatore then flight to Mumbai.

Day 21 - Fly to London

Early morning flight to London arriving same day.

Includes:

  • Flights in Economy Class by scheduled airlines
  • Accommodation in good standard hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • 15 Lunches and 12 Dinners
  • Rail travel in Chair Car accommodation
  • Privately chartered carriage or Railbus Kalka to Shimla
  • One overnight in 2-tier air-conditioned sleeper
  • Chartered steam trains on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
  • 1st Class travel on the Nilgiri Rack Railway
  • All transfers as stated
  • All excursions and admission charges as listed
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour
 
   
Price per person:  
Escorted holiday: £4,600
Single room supplement: £975
Deposit for this holiday: £200
   

Rates of exchange used are as at 1st May 2013

 

Harz Winter Gala

Tuesday 25 February to Tuesday 4 March 2014

Eisfelde Talmühle - © John RobsonEnjoy three days of steam trains in the Harz Mountains in winter with the chance of scenic snow-capped scenery as a backdrop.

Day 1 - Overnight in Aachen

WernigerodeEurostar via Brussels and on to Aachen for dinner (included) and overnight stay.

Day 2 - Arrive Wernigerode

99 7242 at WernigerodeVia Cologne and Hannover to Wernigerode and a 5-night stay at the Weisser Hirsch hotel.

Day 3 - Explore Wernigerode

99 5901 at WernigerodeA free day to explore charming Wernigerode with its castle standing proudly above the town which you can reach on foot or by road train. The railway will be operating a standard service so feel free to explore further afield.

Days 4 to 6 - Steam Gala

Three days of special steam trains.

Day 4 - Wernigerode - Brocken - Wernigerode. Steam special with historical cars

Day 5  - Wernigerode - Gernrode or Gernrode - Wernigerode. Train 1 Gernrode - Eisfelder Talmuhle and back steam special with engine 99 6101 and historical cars. Train 2 Wernigerode - Eisfelder Talmuhle and back on engines 99 6001 + 995901 and PMG with narrow gauge freight cars. For organizational reasons, a change in Eisfelder Talmuhle is imperative. Between Wernigerode and Gernrode or Gernrode - Wernigerode is a transfer by bus.

Day 6 - Wernigerode - Nordhausen - Wernigerode featuring engines 99 6001 + 99 5901 or 99 23-24 and historical car.

Day 7 - Wuppertal

We take the morning train back to Hannover, continuing by fast train to Wuppertal, arriving early afternoon. After checking in to our hotel, the InterCity Hotel Wuppertal, the afternoon is free to explore. A local transport card is included for the Rhine-Ruhr area which, of course, includes free travel on Wuppertal’s famous suspension railway.

Day 8 - Return Journey

A morning departure by regional train to Cologne to connect with a high speed line to Brussels and finally London.

Please note that the details of the Harz Gala program and the availability of the steam locomotives are subject to change.

Includes:

  • Second class rail to and from Wernigerod
  • Accommodation in good standard hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • 3-day Gala Program
  • Public transport ticket for Wuppertal
  • Transfers as stated
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour
   
Price per person:  
Escorted holiday: £1,025
Single room supplement: £162
Deposit for this holiday: £100
   

Rates of exchange used are as at 1st May 2013.

 

Peru and Bolivia

Wednesday 2 October to Monday 21 October 2013

Taking in two South American countries, Peru offers incredible scenery from the Inca capital of Machu Picchu to the impressive Lake Titicaca. We will travel on one of the highest rail journeys in the world to Huancayo before making our way to Bolivia, home of the Salt Flats. To get a real feel of what you can expect from this rail holiday of a lieftime view video footage of previous FT tours to Peru and Bolivia recorded by Nick Edis-Blewitt.

Read more: Peru and Bolivia
 

Japan - North to Hokkaido

Wednesday 25 September to Sunday 13 October 2013

A revised version of our successful 2004 tour. A combination of railways, both new and old and wonderful sightseeing. Travel on the famous Shinkansen Bullet trains, ordinary express and suburban trains and some remote branch lines. Once a prominent feature throughout Japan, the steam locomotive is a sight rarely seen today and we are pleased to include the famous Banetsu Monogatari steam train, a return to the popular Mooka Steam Railway and a first time journey on the Niseko Steam train.

Read more: Japan - North to Hokkaido
 

Indian Hill Railways

Sunday 10 February to Saturday 2 March 2013

A repeat of our hugely successful tour to India that includes the three Hill Station railways as featured in the popular BBC series. This wonderful tour combines the three most exceptional railways that served the former British Hill Stations. Engineering excellence, fierce gradients and stunning scenery make for a memorable tour.

Read more: Indian Hill Railways
 

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