One of our most popular destinations among rail enthusiasts (often joined by partners and friends) is Germany - rail tours that take in some wonderful narrow gauge steam railways, particularly in the former East. Many of the railways we visit continue to operate daily services to the local community and attract many train tourists, keen to take advantage of lots of steam travel, available on a regular basis! Ffestiniog Travel tour leader John Robson once again brings his experience and expertise in this guide that focuses particular attention on the railways that Ffestiniog Travel includes in its Narrow Gauge in Eastern Germany and Dresden Steam Festival escorted tours.
As the world of travel and holidays takes a breather during the COVID-19 crisis we thought we would catch up with some of Ffestiniog Travel’s tour leaders and invite them to share some memories and thoughts of their tour leading travels with us. It also provides an opportunity for our regular customers and new travellers to get an insight into their world of escorting passengers to destinations around the globe. We sent each tour leader some guided questions to answer and the result is this interesting blog in which they outline their own personal experiences in the first person. Find out about their favourite Ffestiniog Travel tour, top places to visit, some funny travel anecdotes and what it takes to be an effective tour leader!
Many of you will be familiar with Ffestiniog Travel’s team members, having liaised with them when planning and booking your rail holidays and train journeys with us. Some of you may have met them face to face as tour leaders, as several have escorted our train tours. Some of the team have been furloughed and others have been busy working from home during the COVID-19 lockdown, fulfilling refund obligations, dealing with suppliers and planning tours for 2021. We thought it would be a good idea to check in with them and find out a little more about what inspires them and their favourite places to visit around the world. Some have been with the company for many years and have benefitted from its in-house training opportunities and moved up the ranks to take on more travel responsibilities – a reward for their continued expertise and dedication to Ffestiniog Travel and its customers. We asked them some broad questions, ranging from their favourite rail journey to their favourite book and meal, so we could give you a little snapshot of the people who help make your rail holiday dreams come true!
Having run 14 escorted rail tours to India, Ffestiniog Travel have become experts on the dos and don'ts of travelling around the Sub-Continent. Seasoned FT tour leader Bob Cable gives his useful, first hand top tips for an enjoyable holiday in India with Ffestiniog Travel and in general, covering such issues as food, health, hygiene, luggage and security.
Nigel Burbidge, Chairman of Ffestiniog Travel, considers the broader benefits of Britain’s heritage railways and why they should continue to thrive and be enjoyed.
Switzerland is well known for its ski resorts and chocolate, but it also boasts some incredible feats of engineering which can be admired through its many breathtaking railway networks that span the majestic Swiss Alps and provides access to some unforgettable panoramic spectacles. A rail holiday to Switzerland has become a 'must do' for many who want to explore the Swiss mountains and here seasoned tour leader Mike Fletcher shares his Top 5 Swiss Rail Journeys.
Ffestiniog Travel tour leader Michael Whitehouse shares his expert knowledge of travelling by train around Burma in advance of our very first rail tour to this wonderful country in January 2016.
Ffestiniog Travel is delighted to offer an escorted tour to South Africa in March 2017 that combines our expertise as a holiday provider and rail travel specialist – a tour that guarantees scenery, safari and steam! The tourist attractions along South Africa’s southern tip are well-documented and this tour includes visits to Cape Town’s famous landmarks, journeys along the Cape Peninsula and the chance to observe wonderful wildlife at first hand. But is the railway content as good as the tourist appeal? Tour leader Dave Kent, who will be escorting travellers to South Africa, gives a taste of what the rail enthusiast can expect from this tour, having travelled the same route previously and enjoyed the country’s many railway gems.
Our closest neighbour across the Channel has been a popular holiday destination for British holidaymakers for decades. The majority of travellers tootle their way through France by car, but Dan May, Ffestiniog Travel’s European rail ticket specialist, believes for those who travel light there is a more appealing alternative of getting around France - the train!
As an expert rail tour operator Ffestiniog Travel will always advocate train travel as the best way to see more of a country at ground level within the timeframe of a typical holiday. If you factor in the environmental impact of travelling anywhere then the train trumps flying and road travel for being the most eco-friendly. As more and more people become mindful of their carbon footprint, how they reach their holiday destination or tour a country is fast becoming a major influence on where they go and how they holiday.
When preparing an escorted tour it is important to consider all eventualities before departure and ensure travellers are fully briefed on the culture and idiosyncrasies of their foreign destination. As the September 2013 departure date for Ffestiniog Travel’s rail tour of Japan draws near FT tour leader Bob Cable shares his personal observations of this Far East country. Those considering visiting Japan in the future, particularly those travelling around the country by rail, may find the following helpful.