Our 25 Favorite Rail Holiday Memories
Share yours for a chance to win rail passes
We asked readers to tell us about their favorite rail holiday experience, for a chance to win a pair of ACP rail passes with a value up to $1500* to the destination of their choice, including the United Kingdom, Europe, Japan, the United States or Australia. With over 300 entries so far we have thoroughly enjoyed reading your rail holiday memories and felt they were just too good to keep to ourselves so we are happy to share some favorites with you.
If you haven’t entered yet, please go to http://www.acprail.com/entry-form before November 1, 2010. Remember, the winner will be drawn at random, so as long as you provide a true and complete rail memory, you will have a chance to win. So although we are sharing some favorites, ultimately the winner won’t be chosen by us, but by luck, so good luck everyone and thank you for sharing these great stories and more!
As a young fresh faced 23 year old I travelled around Europe by train, exploring different places meeting different people, the experience was invaluable and made me who I am today. Rebecca C, Sydney, Australia
The railroad system in Europe is phenomenal. The train stations are neat, clean, orderly and the trains are ALWAYS on time. We traveled throughout Switzerland, France, and Italy and thoroughly enjoyed train travel. Larry C, Indianapolis, IN, USA
Our rail holiday train trip was two weeks in duration. We rode from Stuggart Germany to Innsbruck to Prague then back to Germany. We visited wineries, castles, and friends. It was the best trip of our lives! Manuel M, Tempe, AZ, USA
Going on the Bullet Train from Tokyo to Kyoto for work was an amazing experience!! So fast, so clean, such beautiful scenery! The food was amazing and even the passengers were all chatty as they were excited as I was! Even though I was there for work, it was almost like a holiday! Yvette P, East Fremantle, Australia
An 11-day trip in Italy. It began in Florence, and included Milan, Pisa, Rome, Naples and Capri.
It included meals, hotels and escorted tours. In 1958, it cost $139. Phillip C, Chigaco, IL
I remember riding a long time on a train as a child. We went from Kansas City to Pennsylvania. We all slept in our seats. One of my favorite things to do on that ride was flush the toilets because you could watch the tracks going by when the stool lever was held down. Disgusting to think of it now, but it was cool to do as a kid. The memory is a great one. Julie S, Mitchel, SD, USA
Sharing simple food (cheese, bread, meat) with Romas on an overnight train. I was fearful of being in an overnight compartment from Paris to Venice. But, even with the language barrier, we made friends. Ate, talked (mostly with hands) and enjoyed our travel. The countryside of France and Italy was fantastic. The people kind and generous. Marsha D, Hazelwood, MO, USA
We purchased 2 Britrail flexipass 4-day tickets in July to use in august in the United Kingdom. Our first leg was on Aug 6 from London to Edinburgh. It was interesting to see seats facing each other on the train, and seeing the countryside just whiz by the window. Flat country. Our most memorable experience of our whole trip was in Edinburgh- seeing the military tattoo pipe bands marching down ‘royal mile’; in the daytime and then also having tickets for the 10:30 performance. It was a magical day and one that we will treasure for a long time. Even bought the booklet. Then it was off to Aberdeen on Aug 9. Explored the highlands, went to Orkney Islands. Enjoyed that experience. Aug 23 we boarded the train at Inverness to head back down to Edinburgh. Actually saw hills!!!! Our last leg was back to London to fly back to British Columbia Canada, province of mountains. It was so nice having our rail passes before we left Canada, didn’t have to queue at the train station-just get on the right train. This was our first train experience and thoroughly enjoyed it. You get to see lots of country. We would like to able to do this again. Thank you to ACP for making rail travelling a pleasant experience. Marcie T, Castlegar, BC, Canada
My favorite rail holiday experience was in Europe traveling in 2003 with my friends from Rome. We utilized a Eurail pass once we reached the Rivera on Italy’s west coast towns of Cinque Terre and we used sleeper cars that took us into Nice France and then into Barcelona in Spain. Our primary goal of the train was to access all parts of the countryside in less time consuming way and also save the frustration of renting a car and polluting the environment. The sleeper cars was a unique way to travel as you could really enjoy a good nights sleep and arrive fully rested at your destination the next day without needing to waste precious hours in transit. On our way to Paris we met some additional travelers from New Zealand who became our travel partners as we went to Switzerland and spent several days in the mountains in a small town Gryon which we reached through a mountain trolly from the town of Bex where the train station was. After spending several days in the Alps we went to Erfurt Germany and spent time with our friend’s family where we utilized the city’s famous trolly system and rode bikes to various Brew pubs. This neared the end of our tour and our rail passes were only 14 days so we needed to head back to Rome and our final destination being the airport. It took only a day of travel to reach Rome from Germany and it was a relaxing time where we met even more new people and asked them to join us for dinner at our place of residence before we left back for the US. It was a wonderful experience that I should not soon forget as I would gladly jump at the opportunity to travel by rail again. Christopher G, Philadelphia, PA, USA
I think the most memorable rail trip I ever made was in the middle of December, 1971 in Switzerland near Interlaken. It was a very short trip on the Jungfraujoch railway that spirals around inside the Jungfrau and terminates at a station inside the mountain near the top. From there you can look out over the Rhone Glacier from above. At that time the trip on the railway was included in the Eurailpass (that’s no longer true). It was especially amazing because I was making the trip in the winter so that the viewpoint was in the middle of a large snowfield and the eaves were dripping with large icicles. When I started the trip from the bottom at Kleine Scheidegg the valley was in a deep cloud but I arrived at the top, above the clouds in brilliant sunshine. I will never forget that experience. Don P, Edmonton, AB, Canada
I went backpacking across Europe with my three best friends. We took the rail everywhere and slept in tiny compartments with strangers! We visited the most beautiful countries and our closest bonding moments were on the trains. We laughed about our cultural faux-pas’s and planned our next adventures. It was the best two months of my life. Micaela B, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Japan- The most culturally amazing and baffling country I have been to. I remember the first time I was trying to get on a train in Tokyo and there’s like 30 different lines from one station so I was in a state of confusion and panic. Then you start following signs and I see a sign for 500metres to the platform I need. Madness! How can a station possibly be this big. But the best trains were the Shinkansen, quiet, quick and stunning scenery. Probably the best trains I have travelled on in the world. Kylie P, Niddrie, VIC, Australia
My favorite rail experience was years ago from Avignon, which is in the south of France…to Paris. I met a wonderful woman who I was immediately attracted to before we even got on the train..She dropped an apple and it rolled down the car and landed near my foot….This was the beginning of a wonderful friendship….. Henry B, Toms River, NJ, USA
My wife and I took my mother to Norway and Germany after my father died. The wonder of travelling across Norway from Oslo to Bergen was a special memory. (Mom was Norwegian).
Another leg on the journey was on a night train sleeper from Oslo to Germany with a full moon over the Bay of Oslo. Beautiful. Treasured memories. William O, Saint Michael, MN, USA
Three days after Christmas 1979, my family and I immigrated to the USA from Dundee Scotland. Hard economic times forced my father to seek employment outside the country. I had just turned 10. Although my parents dedicated a lot of energy to keeping in touch with family and friends back home, eventually we lost track of most of the people we knew. My grandparents passed away and some people had just moved on never to be heard from again. We even lost track of my oldest brother. Thirty years later and realizing that it was time to revisit my home, I saved up some money, flew from Salt Lake City Utah, eventually ending up downtown in the city Center of Edinburgh Scotland. It felt strangely unreal as though it were a dream. I marveled at the thought that my childhood was a mere 14 hours away. I settled into my hotel room and soon, a feeling of great excitement took over me unlike anything I have ever felt before. I was about to travel by train all the way around Scotland. I explored Edinburgh for 5 days before catching my first train from Waverly Station and ending up at Leuchars station which lead me into St Andrews. This was a favorite childhood place. I photographed the city and took some of the best pictures of my life. I then headed to my hometown of Dundee and was able to track down my brother who had been missing for so many years. I had to inform him that our father had passed away. I took the train up to Inverness and was surprised by how much I remembered it. Then it was off to the Kyle of Lochalsh. This is the end of the line for the train but a new beginning for me. It was the doorway to the Isle of Skye. A place unlike any other place in the world. I remember how I walked over the Skye Bridge that day, thinking how much time had passed and how well I knew this place, but only from books and pictures. Now it was something real. The wind blew through my hair as the sun sparkled off the water. A few tears ran down my cheek. I was home. Grant A, Glasgow, Scotland, GB
As a child, my grandparents took me to Victoria (from NSW) by train. We had a sleeper, and breakfast in the morning. It was fabulous! Michelle S, Dalmeny, Australia
A couple of years ago my husband and I took a tour of England, Wales, Northern Ireland, France Germany and Poland. We took the Chunnel train from London, England to Paris France. We took the night train from Paris to Berlin, Germany and on to Posnan, Poland. We met many friendly people and had a great experience and found that most people had a nodding acquaintance with the English language so we were able to get directions easily. We found that to get the train rail station to leave Southern Germany going to Frankfurt we had to cross over into Switzerland and crossed over the border back into Germany inside the train station as Hitler had built the train station in Switzerland. We had a real positive experience and would travel by train again should we have the opportunity. Carol R, Terrace, BC, Canada
Travelled Second Class on a London Plus Pass this Bank Holiday weekend just past, to Isle of Wight from Waterloo Station. The most fun-loving people of all ages were going on holiday and luckily, the weather was perfect and slightly breezy. I was travelling solo but never felt alone. So many people were talking about their plans that I was kept entertained by them the whole trip. Even had lunch in Rhyde, at the end of the journey, with a few of them for fish’n chips at Long John’s. Good memories! Laurel K, Old Saybrook, CT, USA
In 1976 my best friend and I, both 17 and still in high school, spent the best summer of our lives backpacking around Europe on a 2 month student railpass. What was the best part? The girls we met traveling on the trains, the discos we tried in every town, the fun & “living”; (eating, sleeping, socializing) on trains, and losing my virginity to a cute English lass! We travelled from the Mediterranean Sea to the Arctic Circle, and from the Atlantic Ocean to the iron Curtain of the east bloc. If I win, I will invite my friend who travelled with me in 1976 for a reunion trip. Ed M, London, ON, Canada
My family and I know that every time we choose ACP Rail we’re not just getting a good value for a rail service, we’re going to have great memories that will last a lifetime. Michael M, Bristol, CT, USA
I have been fortunate to visited England several times with friends. Each time I returned home my husband wanted to hear all about it. We finally saved enough money for both of us to go.
The overnight flight from Atlanta Georgia was uneventful but my husband didn’t get any sleep. We landed at GTW in the early morning fog. We got separated in the airport when he made a wrong turn with the luggage trolley and when we finally got out to the trains it was raining. It’s hard to explain how fast the BritRail trains come in and out of the station while your trying to get your luggage off the trolley and on the train! By this time he was ready to get a plane back to the USA. I told him to relax and sit on the right side of the train facing south to have a better view ;It’s still raining he said & there is no view. The rain was stopping and I told him to look for wildlife in the fields. He saw deer and flocks of pheasants and our next stop was Arundel so I knew what he was going to see next. Seeing the castle made his day. Every day of our trip he told me his favorite part was relaxing on the trains. Oh and, eating Fish & Chips. We’re hoping to win Two BritRail Flexi Passes for a 2011 trip to the United Kingdom. Lynn G, Austin, TX, USA
The children and I once caught the Ghan from Adelaide to Melbourne and had a very nice time. The kids had plenty of room and loved eating in the dining car. They were also amused by the passenger that drank beer all the way causing him to barely walk as the train hit Melbourne! Carol R, Victoria, Australia
My wife and I had planned to walk two famous Scottish long distance walks, The West Highland Way and The Great Glen Way in May/June 2010. As we were sailing from Denmark to Harwich and not knowing exactly whether our ship would arrive on time, we bought two Britrail Passes first class for two days travel. As there was rail work disturbances outside London on that Sunday, we decided to travel north with changes at Manningtree, Ipswich, Peterborough, Edinburgh and eventually arriving in Glasgow at 21:50. With so many train changes we had some fears of misunderstandings and the possibility of a very late arrival. But all our fears were in vain, as everything went just perfect and with only a few minutes wait at each station, and of course with our first class passes there was always a comfortable seat for us. As our hiking adventures began at Milngave which is just outside Glasgow, we walked the 272km. to Inverness in thirteen days, but whilst resting our aching feet, we took the lovely train journey back to Glasgow in only three and a half hours. Since our holiday I have often told our friends, family and strangers of our wonderful train journey back to Harwich via London. Traveling with Virgin Trains from Glasgow we were welcomed on board by a very friendly and courteous staff in a super nice, comfortable and clean carriage. During the whole train ride down to London, we were catered for with breakfast, followed by refreshments, tea, coffee, wine and cake, and all that for free.
With our two days Britrail Passes we enjoyed every minute of our journeys, and saw such a great variety of England and Scotland’s beautiful scenery and historical places and buildings. Thank you BritRail. Roderick M, Faaborg, Fyn, Denmark
I only have one rail experience, but would so enjoy more! We took the Eurostar from London to Paris in June of this year. It was my first rail experience ever! It was so exciting knowing we were passing under the English Channel on our way to Paris. The countryside was so beautiful on the France side. When we would see vehicles on some of the roads, they looked as if they were standing still. Due to time constraints we were unable to travel more, but I hope to in the future. It is so relaxing to not be the one driving and just being able to enjoy the ride. Donna B, Laredo, TX, USA
My husband and I love ALL rail travel, from Via Rail Canada and BritRail to Amtrak, but have especially fond memories of our trip from England to Venice aboard the Venice Simplon Orient Express several years ago. Romantic and elegant as a vacation trip could possibly be. The restored coaches just oozed history and we had a four star meal while rolling through the beautiful French countryside. On the platform in Paris, my husband’s friend surprised us with a bottle of champagne and took a picture to memorialize our wonderful train experience. Hope we win this rail trip! Leslie P, Seattle, WA, USA