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It's 27 days shorter than Phileas Fogg's round-the-world attempt in Jules Verne's classic adventure novel, Around the World in 80 Days, but still offers train lovers a rail trip of a lifetime.
Beginning and ending in London, Great Rail Journeys' 53-day escorted trip, which launches next year, covers sites including Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon, Xi'an and the Terracotta Army, and the steppes of the Gobi desert. Trains included on the trip include the Tsar's Gold Private Train from Mongolia, the Venice Simplon Orient-Express and the British Orient Express Pullman.
The price for the trip, which departs on May 18, 2015, is from £21,995 per person ($A39,711, with a single room rate of £26,345, or $A47,565). That works out at £415 ($A749) per day, and the price includes four- and five-star accommodation throughout, all air and rail travel, most meals and the services of a tour manager.
Off-train excursions include a flight over the Grand Canyon and a visit to the Great Wall of China.
Alex Roberts, sales and marketing director for Great Rail Journeys, said: “Our ultimate 53 day round-the-world tour is perfect for the traveller seeking the ultimate experience, or the kind of person who really wants to experience circumnavigating the world... in fantastic luxury and enjoying some of the world's best rail travel along the way."
The full Great Rail Journeys's 53-day itinerary, going from Britain to the USA, China, and Russia before returning to Europe and finally London, is outlined below.
Great Rail Journeys is not the only tour operator offering such epic rail trips. Ffestiniog Travel, another specialist rail operator, is offering a 40-day around the world tour to celebrate its 40th anniversary. The escorted tour departs on May 3 this year. Highlights of the trip, which is slightly cheaper at £19,695 per person ($A35,557, with a single supplement of £3,640, or $A6,572), include travel on the Trans-Siberian Express to Beijing, and accommodation in a traditional Mongolian ger. The price includes first class rail tickets whenever possible, and travel on other popular trains such as the Rocky Mountaineer and The Canadian.
The company offers passengers the option to “dip in and out” of the trip at points in the route, and additional onward journeys can be added post the extended tour.
Great Rail Journeys's 53-day itinerary in full:
Day 1 - London to New York
Day 2 - Sightseeing in New York
Day 3 - At leisure in New York
Days 4-5 - New York to Washington DC
Day 6 - Through the Midwest to Chicago
Day 7 - Exploring Chicago
Day 8 - Chicago to Denver
Day 9 - Denver
Day 10 - Royal Gorge Railroad
Day 11 - Through the Rockies
Days 12-13 - The Durango & Silverton Railroad & at leisure
Days 14 - Monument Valley
Day 15 - At leisure in Flagstaff
Day 16 - The Grand Canyon Railway
Days 17-18 - At leisure on the South Rim and to Los Angeles
Day 19 – Los Angeles, Hollywood and RMS Queen Mary
Day 20 - The Coast Starlight to San Francisco
Days 21-22 - Sightseeing in San Francisco
Days 23-24 - San Francisco to Shanghai
Day 25 - Exploring Shanghai and to Xi'an
Day 26 - Xi'an and the Terracotta Warriors
Day 28 - The Great Wall of China
Day 29 - Sightseeing in Beijing
Days 30-31 - Beijing to Mongolia through the Gobi Desert
Days 32-33 - Ulaanbaatar, Gandan Monastery and the Mongolian Alps
Day 34 - Ulan Ude
Day 35 - Lake Baikal
Day 36 - Irkutsk
Day 37 - Across Siberia
Day 38 - Novosibersk
Day 39 - Yekaterinburg
Day 40 - Kazan
Days 41-43 - Moscow
Day 44 - Warsaw
Days 45-46 - Prague
Days 47-48 - Vienna
Days 49-50 - To Innsbruck and Venice
Day 51 - Sightseeing in Venice
Days 52-53 - The Venice-Simplon Orient Express
The Telegraph, London
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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