Q: The wife and I are wanting to make a trip through the New England states but do not want to drive. Can you suggest any train services that would give us a great view of the area at a decent price?
–John, Yulee, Fla.
A: One option is to go with a New England rail-tour package, which many companies offer during the fall foliage season. These trips typically combine rail segments with motor coach travel and include overnight stays on trains and in hotels along the way. These trips originate in New England (with some exceptions), so you’d have to get yourself there either by rail or by air.
America by Rail has a nine-day New England Fall Foliage Tour, which uses both Amtrak and local scenic railroad services to whisk you through the countryside and past various historic monuments. The trip costs $2,040 per person (double occupancy) and includes first-class hotel accommodations for six nights, 11 meals, admission to attractions, baggage handling, taxes, and tips. The “East” tour begins in Rutland, Vt., and ends in Albany, N.Y., but the “Midwest” tour starts in Chicago and includes transit to and from New England on the train.
Another fun tour package is the Vacations by Rail eight-day New England Fall Foliage Express. The Express shows you the scenery by way of historic railroads, such as the Mount Washington Cog Railway, the Conway Scenic Railroad, and the Cape Cod Central Railroad. The trip costs about $2,000 per person (double occupancy) and includes four days of travel on the train, four days on motor-coach sightseeing tours, seven nights’ lodging, 15 meals, and luggage handling.
If you want to combine your train trip with a cruise, check out this deal from Atlas Travel—going by yacht, riverboat, steam train, and cog railway on a scenic journey through all six New England states. This 10-day tour, which is offered from May to October, includes a two-night stay at Foxwoods Resort Casino. Prices start around $2,000 per person.
If the prices mentioned exceed your budget, plan a do-it-yourself trip on Amtrak or any of the above-mentioned local train services. Amtrak goes to dozens of places in the Northeast, including Portland, Maine, Burlington, Vt., and Springfield, Mass. The Metro North Railroad train service also runs through many New England States. The New Haven, Harlem, and Hudson lines all run from New York City to major cities in New England.