North America was built and discovered using trains, and that same sense of exploration lives on for travelers embarking on rail journeys across the continent each year.
Looking to next year, the California Zephyr will be the top “classic” rail journey for travelers, and the the VIA Rail’s Canadian will be the top “bucket list” journey, from a survey part of the Vacations By Rail 2015 Rail Travel Outlook report. Most of the favorite classic and bucket list journeys are in the U.S. or Canada, with other trains such as the Venice Simplon-Orient Express and Trans-Siberian Express also seeing high favorability.
Commuting between some U.S. cities will also become easier during the next few years. Amtrak roundtrip daily service between Chicago and Rockford, Illinois is scheduled to return in late 2015, after no service between these cities for nearly 30 years.
Miami-Orlando train service plans are underway, creating another link between two of Florida’s largest cities. The privately-held rail line is expected to roll out service in two phases: the first leg, between Miami and West Palm Beach, is anticipated for 2016 and the second leg of service, between West Palm Beach and Orlando is planned for 2017. The rail line projects trains along this route could reach speeds of up to 125 mph.
The newest generation of Eurostar trains, the e320, will debut service by the end of 2015, reaching speeds of up to 320 km/hour. Eurostar will also add new service to Geneva via Lille beginning this month. New U.K. to Provence, France service with stops in Lyon, Avignon and Marseille will launch in May 2015.
The Golden Eagle Danube Express introduced service from Budapest, Hungary to Tehran, Iran by way of Istanbul in October, allowing travelers to begin their journey in Europe and travel into Iran, or vice versa, without changing trains multiple times. This new rail service comes after Turkey completed the Marmarmay tunnel, providing a rail link under the Bosphorus Strait and effectively joining the continents of Europe and Asia.