Heritage Rail Tours - Frequently asked questions for travelling aboard

Cruise Express

Australian owned and operated

 

COVID-19 Advice
What is the heritage rail experience?
What are the trip inclusions?
What is not included?
What if I’m less mobile?
Is this trip suitable for me?
Do you cater for special dietary requirements?
How will I know where to sit?
What are the trains like?
What hotels are used?
Are transfers and touring included?
What luggage should I bring?

Departure times?
What about timetables and delays?
Is there free time on the trip?
Can I join at other stations?
What if I’m travelling alone?
Are there medical facilities on the train?
Do I need travel insurance?
What is the booking process?
Is my deposit refundable?
What if I need to cancel?



With the ever changing situation associated with the Covid-19 Pandemic and different rules applying in states and territories we are offering a ‘Peace of mind’ booking policy. All deposits paid are fully refundable. As each trip approaches we will determine its viability and advise all our clients accordingly. In every case we will comply with national and local health guidelines and protocols applicable at that time to ensure the safety of our clients.


The overall experience
We have been running escorted heritage rail journeys since 2016. Over that time we have welcomed over 2,000 passengers on nearly 30 departures. Our tours feature a variety of heritage trains from rail motors to famous names such as the Spirit of Progress and Southern Aurora.

Our tours allow you to step back in time, relax and allow us take care of all the details. Each train provides a unique travelling experience, some having windows that open to offer a great connection between you and the passing countryside. Air-conditioned trains provide comfort in all weather conditions, often having lounge cars that are a great way to socialise and make friends.

We look forward to welcoming you aboard!



Inclusions
Every tour differs so a detailed list of inclusions is available on the product and brochure pages. Generally speaking, tours will include your rail travel, hotel accommodation, most meals, transfers and touring.



What is not included?
Alcoholic beverages (unless specified), some meals, special dietary food and snacks outside those we cater for, items of a personal nature, travel insurance and accommodation required before or after the tour.



Mobility
While our tours don’t require a special level of fitness, for your own safety and the overall benefit of the group, all passengers must possess a reasonable level of mobility.

We want all our guests to have a great time on our heritage rail journeys. To ensure everyone’s safety, during the booking process we will ask you to agree to a few conditions regarding your personal mobility. You must confirm you

  • will not rely on tour staff or fellow passengers for personal physical assistance
  • are in good health and/or are fit to travel on this tour
  • can negotiate railway stations without assistance
  • can use the onboard toilet facilities on a moving train
  • are able to embark and disembark trains, coaches and other methods of transportation without assistance
  • are able to climb and descend steps and stairs unaided
  • are able to handle your own luggage
  • are able to use combined shower/bath facilities (it is not possible to guarantee walk-in shower facilities at hotels)


Is this trip suitable?
Heritage rail journeys are a fun and unique way of exploring our country. However, the trains were built in a different era and were not designed with facilities or access points suitable for those with mobility issues. Please also be aware that access to and aboard all trains can be tight, particularly in toilets, corridors and buffet or dining areas.

For the safety of our passengers and the onboard crew, we are unable to accept bookings from clients who require the use of mobility equipment including wheelchairs and walkers. Passengers who are unwell or found to be unable to safely participate in the tour may be denied boarding on the day of departure.



Special dietary requirements
We offer three meal or snack variations as part of our inclusions – Vegetarian, Gluten free and Dairy free.

Please indicate your dietary requirements during the booking process. We will confirm and acknowledge your request prior to departure. If you have an alternate dietary requirement you may need to bring a supply of suitable food with you, especially for the train journey.

Most of the towns and cities we visit have an array of restaurants, cafes and supermarkets where it will be possible for you to buy something for your specific needs. Unfortunately due to space and catering restrictions, we cannot offer other options.



How will I know where to sit?
All passengers will be allocated reserved seats. You can move around the train during travel with normal safety advice. The trains used on tour vary widely in both age and layout. Some trains will have air-conditioning and some will not. You will be advised of this at the time of booking. Seating may not always face in the direction of travel. Additionally, the train may change directions throughout the journey. We are happy to accept requests for seating but do be aware this cannot be guaranteed.

TIP: In colder weather you might like to bring a jacket and/or blanket for extra warmth and comfort.



Hotel stays
We use superior accommodation wherever possible. All hotels are regularly inspected and most we have used many times. In smaller towns it may be necessary to separate the group and accommodate them at different properties of a similar standard. We will always endeavour to accommodate friends or family members together at the same property.



Transfers and touring
In most towns and cities you will be transfered between the railway station and hotel by air-conditioned coach. Where the station is across the road from the hotel a short walk may be required.

We often include local touring to enable you to see the ‘highlights’ of a town or city during your stay.

TIP: Bring a pair of walking shoes and layer your clothing to suit different climates and times of the day.



Luggage
Some trains such as rail motors have very limited luggage space, while others will have a dedicated baggage car. Additionally, if flying to join the tour, there may also be airline luggage restrictions. You will be notified at the time of booking of any restrictions on the amount or size of luggage you are permitted to bring with you. 

Generally speaking, your luggage will not be accessible while aboard the train. You may wish to consider bringing a small backpack or bag for things such as medication, camera, snacks, etc that you can keep with you throughout the journey.

Remember – you will be responsible for handling your own luggage!

TIP: We suggest your bag has wheels for ease of movement between train, coach and hotel.



Documentation
On arrival at the train, you will be provided with a lanyard and ticket displaying your name, carriage and seat number. This guarantees secure access to the train and identifies you as being part of our group throughout the journey.



Departure times
Please pay special attention to all train departure times as that the train will not wait for latecomers. We strongly recommend you arrive at the station at least 30 minutes before departure.

If an early morning departure is required we will offer an overnight stay prior to departure at the closest hotel to the station to maximise your enjoyment of the tour. This will be at an additional cost.

At other stops your Tour Manager will advise how long we will be stopped for. It is always your responsibility to ensure you’re back onboard on time.



Ti
metables and delays
Heritage or ‘special’ trains are given the lowest priority on all rail networks, behind freight or other scheduled passenger trains. When planning our tours we endeavour to schedule our timings around other trains.

However, things do change and we can be affected by other late-running or failed services, weather, infrastructure failure or even livestock! You will be updated throughout the journey by your Tour Manager regarding our progress or any delays or changes. Sometimes we even arrive early!

In the event that a line closes or we are faced with significant delays, we may choose to operate part of the tour by coach. This is however rare.

TIP: Why not bring along your iPad, a good book, sudoku, crochet or knitting?



Is there free time on the trip?
Most tours are scheduled to include time at leisure for exploration or relaxation. Where possible we will also include short stops at stations en route to allow you to stretch your legs.



Regional embarkation and disembarkation
Please note we are generally unable to pick up or set down at other stations within metropolitan areas. Joining the train at other stations outside metropolitan areas is occasionally possible, please enquire for more details.



Solo travellers
Singles and solo travellers are most welcome and frequently make up a sizeable proportion of our onboard guests. Unfortunately, we are unable to ‘match’ travellers looking for somebody to share with.



Onboard medical facilities
All trains are equipped with a medical first aid kit and staff who have current basic medical assistance training. If you require additional medical treatment our Tour Manager will coordinate this with the train staff and relevant medical authorities.



Do I need travel insurance?
We highly recommend travel insurance when travelling, even domestically. We suggest you arrange insurance cover at the time of making payment for your trip or as soon as possible after that. Please indicate during the booking process if you would like us to prepare a quote for you.



The booking process
Booking a rail journey is simple and fully automated. This means we can concentrate our efforts on looking after you onboard. We have listed all the frequently asked questions relating to our rail trips but if we have missed something, please feel free to send an email to info@cruiseexpress.com.au or call us on 1300 766 537 . We will assist you with an answer as soon as possible.



Our ‘peace of mind’ offer
At this time of uncertainty, we want you to feel you are booking with confidence. Therefore, whereever possible we will offer our ‘peace of mind’ booking policy with low deposit requirements and ‘no questions asked’ refunds, generally up to 45 days prior to departure. Please read our terms and conditions carefully at the time of booking.



Cancellation and refund
Our ‘peace of mind’ policy allows you to cancel up to 45 days prior to departure and your deposit will be fully refunded, no questions asked. A cancellation link will be provided on each tour page.


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Get in touch
Suite 92/24 Buchanan Street Balmain NSW 2041
Suite 2/30 Karalta Road Erina NSW 2250
Suite 8/2 St Johns Avenue Gordon NSW 2072
Perth (contact us for a face to face meeting)