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American Orient Express

United States - Deluxe Rail Journeys On Americas Premier Train

By Carl Morrison,



Not too long ago, the Golden Age of Rail was lost to history.  Gone were the sleek, gleaming trains of the 1940s and ‘50s that featured elegant, wood-paneled compartments, where travelers relaxed as they watched the changing scenery from their windows.  And, gone was the camaraderie of new-found friends in the well-appointed club car and the unique experience of fine dining with linens, china and silver while enjoying the gentle sway of the dining car.

But that’s all changed.  Today, the Golden Age of Rail flourishes once more on the American Orient Express (AOE) – a monument to a gentler, less hectic way of life.  Aboard the AOE, travelers return to a bygone era with all the comfort and convenience of the 21st century.

The 17-carriage train, restored at a cost of over $15 million, is the picture of elegance and luxury.  The stylish appointments include polished brass in the sleeping cars, inlaid mahogany paneling in the dining cars, and ebony, brass and leather in the club cars.  A symbol of the AOE’s commitment to providing an authentic experience, even the tiniest details have not been overlooked.  Aboard the Seattle Club Car, an indigo ceiling reminiscent of the twilight sky is strewn with 23-karat gold stars.

The AOE rolls into a variety of picturesque regions throughout the United States and Mexico when landscapes are at their season’s peak.  Eight regional itineraries offer travelers a wide choice of venues, including the opportunity on some routes to travel over tracks that have not seen passenger trains in more than a half-century.  These tracks, called “rare mileage” by rail fans, cover some of the most scenic wilderness areas of North America, many of them accessible only by rail.

Much like a voyage upon a luxurious cruise ship, getting there is half the fun.  This notion also applies to an AOE rail cruise.  Bringing the new concept of “rail cruising” to life, a trip aboard the AOE isn’t just transportation – it’s an experiential journey, with the train serving as hotel, restaurant and entertainment all wrapped up into one all-inclusive travel experience.

Travelers enjoy time off the train on specially organized day excursions that explore significant historical, geological and natural points of interest along the way.  Included in the cost of the trip, these excursions take passengers to visit many interesting sites, including a renowned winery in California’s Napa Valley, the South Rim of the majestic Grand Canyon National Park, or a historic, Antebellum plantation in the South.  These carefully planned land tours, accompanied by regional tour guides, naturalists and historians, add dimension to the core experience of traveling aboard the AOE.

Gourmet meals, featuring multiple entrée selections for breakfast, lunch and dinner, are prepared to-order by classically trained chefs in fully appointed galleys.  Fine wines are available in the club cars, with complimentary selections at dinner.  A pianist provides music during the cocktail hour, which features complimentary hors d’oeuvres, as historians and lecturers present in-depth background on the route being traveled.

AOE offers five types of traditional compartments: Vintage Pullman, with upper and lower berths; Single Sleeper, with a lower berth; Parlor Suite, with two lower berths and an extra upper berth (can sleep three); Deluxe Suite, with two lower berths and a private shower; and Presidential Suite, a double-size compartment with two lower berths and a private shower.  All cabins feature a private toilet and washbasin, while each sleeping car offers a comfortable shower room located down the hall.  Plush terry robes are provided for travelers’ use.

Package prices start at $1,695 per person, double occupancy and vary according to length of trip, itinerary and compartment selection.  They include most meals, onboard accommodations, excursions, entertainment and some nights in a hotel as necessary.

Noted for its exceptional service, outstanding cuisine, and deluxe, vintage furnishings, AOE is North America’s only private vintage train, operating year-round on regional, three to nine-night itineraries throughout the United States and Mexico.  AOE is owned by Oregon Rail Holdings, LLC of Portland, Oregon. For more information and reservations call 800-320-4206, or visit

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American Orient Express website

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