Classes of Service Onboard the Train
With all the different trains around the world, choose the class of service that fit your needs.
First-Class vs. Standard Seating
One of the most commonly asked questions regarding rail travel is to explain the advantages of upgrading the class of service onboard the train. Whilst there is no “one size fits all” answer to this question, the good news is that most trains have several common features as far as upgrades are concerned. The first of these is space.
If you are travelling by train in Europe, you will find that upgrading typically means that the seats are slightly larger, with more room to stretch your legs out and enjoy the journey. Most European trains are open plan, and First-Class carriages are typically laid out with three seats across an aisle as opposed to four in the Standard equivalent. So, larger seats, as well as, the option for more seating options (for example tables for two and individual seats) as a result. Fewer passengers also mean more space to store your luggage, as well as a quieter travel environment.
Meals and Accommodation
When you factor in the option to order a meal and drinks served at our seat, and some train operators including a meal or drink in the cost of your ticket if you upgrade, then the list of reasons to consider doing this is a lengthy one! Upgrades on overnight travel may include the option to have a private en-suite bathroom in your sleeper cabin, while in North America, upgrading your overnight travel to sleeping car accommodation will also include all meals in the cost of the ticket – and you can order to these to be served in the privacy of your sleeping car if you prefer. The exact arrangements will vary depending on where you happen to be travelling– but it’s reassuring to know that the experience is a worthwhile one, no matter where you are in the world!
Upgrades Others Rave About
Upgrading your train travel can be a great way to add a little luxury and make your holiday even more special. Here’s what you can expect if you choose to upgrade some, or all, of your journey.
Executive Class Trenitalia
Excellence Class on the Glacier Express
GoldLeaf Class on the Rocky Mountaineer
Travel through landscapes of pine-clad mountains and reflected in mirror-still lochs in the Scottish Highlands aboard the Belmond Royal Scotsman. Life onboard is relaxed yet indulgent.
A journey aboard the famed navy blue and gold carriages of the Rocky Mountaineer is synonymous with true luxury, breathtaking adventures, delicious food, inspiring landscapes, and unparalleled service.
Experience pure comfort, opulent interiors, fine dining, and convivial company along the tracks as you relive the 'golden age of rail travel'. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is synonymous with glamour, sophistication, impeccable service and iconic journeys.
The Bernina Express is one of the most picturesque train journeys in the whole world. With huge, panoramic windows, you won’t have to miss one scenic second.
One of Switzerland’s most scenic rail journeys, the Glacier Express connects Zermatt, nestled peacefully in the shadow of the Matterhorn, and resort-town-extraordinaire St Moritz. The train gives you ample time to soak up the magnificent views from the panoramic windows.
The Alaskan railroad travels through or near amazing scenery, including national parks, fjords, and ancient geology. You may even get to experience the Aurora Borealis.
The Caledonian Sleeper provides comfortable overnight travel between London and Scotland. It is actually two separate trains; the Highland sleeper, which serves Inverness, Fort William, and Aberdeen, and the Lowland sleeper for Edinburgh and Glasgow. The Caledonian has Double rooms - one of the few types of train accommodation to offer a double bed.
Travel on a luxurious journey through the heart of Australia on The Ghan. Enjoy gourmet cuisine, elegant private cabins, and off-board excursions within Australia’s outback.
Travel aboard South Africa's Blue Train, which offers a two-night luxurious, breath-taking journey between Cape Town and Pretoria. Experience the beautiful countryside and take in panoramic vistas while relaxing in five-star accommodation.
A trip on the Jacobite Steam Train is a must-do journey whilst in Scotland. A chance to take in the beauty of the West Highland line in style on a day trip from Fort William to the fishing village of Mallaig. The scenery is some of the most beautiful in the world.
Travel in time to the 1920s, when the historic Pullman cars that today are used for its lounges first operated. Together with the suites, they create an authentic five-star hotel on rails, with amenities that meet the most demanding of expectations.
The Gornergrat railway also nick-named the "Cog Railway to the Sky", was the world’s first fully electrified cog railway and remains Europe’s highest open-air cog railway. The Gornergrat brings passengers direct from the Zermatt station to the summit of the Gornergrat, 365 days a year.
The Palace on Wheels luxury train was voted as the 4th best luxury train in the world. The Palace on Wheels carries with it an intrinsic ambience that goes perfectly well with the majestic charm and beauty spread so lavishly across the terrains of India.
Maximum comfort, top-level service and this unique destination combine to make any journey onboard the Maharaja's Express both the trip of a lifetime and the perfect way to explore India.
Travelling between Sydney, Adelaide, and Perth, the Indian Pacific traverses mountain ranges, arid deserts and goldfields, rocky valleys, and desert savannahs on its transcontinental crossings.
The Jungfraujoch is the highest railway station in Europe, at 3,463 metres (11,362 feet) above sea level. Travel to this unique destination is achieved not by one train, but rather a series of short connecting services on the Jungfrau railway.
A visit to Mount Pilatus is a must-do day-trip while in and around the Lucerne area. The journey itself is fascinating and a real adventure; as it is comprised of several different forms of transport.
The Gotthard Panorama Express offers a unique combination of a scenic train journey and travel by paddle steamer. All seating on the panorama train is exclusively first-class.
All aboard the slow train through Southeast Asia, a travelling memoir of a more elegant age. The Eastern & Oriental Express hosts guests in unrivalled style on a timeless adventure with exotic cuisine at white-linen coated tables in the ornamental dining cars.
The GoldenPass Line, an extraordinary journey in 3 different trains, with a panoramic view of breath-taking scenery. A never-ending spectacle of three mountain passes, the famous 4000-metre Alpine peaks, 8 lakes, and unforgettable excursions.
The Golden Eagle Danube Express is a spectacular luxury train that runs on several journeys, including between Venice and Budapest and between Venice and Istanbul.
With a daylight service between the two great cities, Melbourne and Adelaide, you will enjoy a relaxing and unique journey, while savouring the creature comforts and romance of rail. Onboard, you’ll experience a comfortable journey as you watch the diverse landscapes outside your window, from rugged mallee scrub to fields of green and gold.
The Tranz-Alpine is the rail route between Greymouth and Christchurch, across the breadth of New Zealand in around 5 hours. It is one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world.
Experience the extremes of New Zealand’s scenery, from the fertile farmlands of Waikato to the volcanic peaks of the Central Plateau and the sparkling Kapiti coast.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I upgrade to first-class rail on some or even all of my train journeys?
You certainly can. We know that many of our customers like to upgrade some or all of their train journeys to first-class. Upgrading will give you a larger seat, more legroom and even a meal and drinks...
Can I add on additional sightseeing or additional hotel nights?
Yes, you can add additional sightseeing activities and/or hotel nights to most existing rail trips we offer. When you speak with a Rail Expert, request an explanation of the upgrade options to your...
Can I choose my train times?
Our itineraries don’t have set departure times, and if there is a train running when there are multiple trains a day, your Rail Experts will be able to talk you through the different departures. If...