“Welcome aboard.” The man in the white jacket and black bow tie politely welcomes you to the train. He asks your name, checks his list and shows you to your cozy sleeping compartment. Once you’re settled, he (your porter for this luxury overnight rail trip) invites you to wander up to the dome car for a nightcap. It’s late, and while you’re sipping a refreshing beverage, the porter prepares your bed for the night. And if you happen to be feeling hungry, there’s 24-hour room service. Just ask your friendly man about the train to fix you up.
If you thought the glory days of the railroad had reached the end of the line, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. One company in the U.S. is single handedly keeping the good old days alive and on track. Uncommon Journeys, based in Oakland, California, offers regular trips to regular folks on board a set of classic railcars built in the 1950s.
Great Western Limited is made up of three privately owned and beautifully restored vintage train cars. The dome car serves as the social hub of the train. It’s here you’ll dine on delicious cooked-to-order cuisine, enjoy the bar and take in the ever-changing scenery.
Another car is fitted with private sleeping compartments. Each has an upper and lower bed, a sink and private toilet. The shower is down the hall.
A third car is billed as the only operating sleeper car in the U.S. with old-time bunks separated by heavy curtains. If you remember the movie “Some Like It Hot,” you’ll know exactly how this car looks.
Take the 17-day Yosemite National Park to Denali National Park trip, for example. It includes time in Yosemite and San Francisco before boarding the overnight train to Seattle. A week-long Holland America cruise to Alaska makes up the center portion of the trip, followed by two nights in Denali.
For more tours and details, check Uncommon Journeys at www.uncommonjourneys.com. Phone 800-323-5893.