A railtour is a special train which is run in order to allow people to experience rail travel which is not available using timetabled passenger services. The ‘unusual’ aspect may be the route of the train, the destination, specific sections of railway track (for example, freight-only lines), the locomotive hauling the train, the rolling stock (passenger carriages), or any combination of these. Organisers may own or hire locomotives or rolling stock, or tours may be organised by railway management or other bodies outside the railway fraternity.
A ‘destination’ railtour is often associated with a special event of railway significance.
A ‘locomotive’ railtour focusses on the type of locomotive hauling the train. This may be a preserved locomotive, a type not usually used for passenger trains, or a type of locomotive which normally works some distance from the chosen route.
One type of railtour which is currently popular is the nostalgic excursion using a preserved train, or sometimes a train hired from a railway operator. Train, branding and route are often chosen as to reflect a common theme, sometimes tracing an aspect of railway history. Railtours are organised both on a commercial basis and as a fund-raising method for railway preservation societies.
Track or route tours
A track or route railtour is focused on travelling over sections of railway track that are not used by scheduled passenger trains.
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