The cheapest rail tickets available often come directly from the train depots themselves, which some might have a hard time believing. Almost too conditioned to believe it’s possible to get discounts straight from the source, travelers spend hours upon hours scouring discount web sites to find cheap train tickets to pair with hotel deals and other inexpensive amenities for railroad vacations. Truth be told, the prices for train tickets are often discounted directly through rail companies to encourage more riders and illustrate a commitment to a healthy relationship with their direct support system.
The issue that can arise with cheap rail tickets coming from major railroad players is that the featured deals don’t always feature your planned destination. Yet, there are plenty of general savings that present cheap train tickets to many destinations around North America and Europe. For instance, the Eurail Pass from Europe Rail comes in a bevy of variations so there are possibilities for many kinds of travel—including month-long travel through one chosen country and a pass utilized through a multitude of them.
The cheapest rail tickets are often available through featured specials that rail companies such as Amtrak and Canada’s VIA Rail present regularly to encourage more train travel. Weekly fare deals can include anything from ten to fifteen percent off fares and more, deals where kids ride free or for half the price, or discounts when combining train tickets with hotel lodging, like at the Grand Canyon Railway hotel in Williams, Arizona. Other types of discounts include off-season adventures where certain destinations become less popular during specific times of the year.
Within the range of historic US railroads operating across the country, there are always cheap rail tickets to be had. Prices for train tickets invariably come down significantly outside of peak season. Depending on the state, the seasons vary, but generally peak seasons hit around the summer months, starting in July. Most US railroads offer senior discounts and low fares for youth and children under two years of age, creating more affordable family travel packages.
Chartering train cars, or renting them, is another way to enjoy a (small) discount from many US railroads such as Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad, Pikes Peak Cog Railway, and the Durango Silverton Railroad. Generally, there is a specific number of people required to rent an entire car. Some railroads, like Niles Canyon Railway, offer a vintage caboose, or specialty train car for rent, with lower fares for large groups. Note that sometimes it can be more expensive than regular fares to hire a private car, depending on the railroad.
Most tickets for the best railroad trips come in some form of a discount. Cheap train tickets are almost always available for certain destinations if travelers book ahead, like on Canada’s VIA Rail. Amtrak offers continuous cheap rail tickets through weekly deals and special promotions. Specified passenger discounts apply to children, veterans, military, and seniors.
California’s Skunk Train, much like numerous other railways, offers limited time specials, including saving when purchasing train tickets for two adults and one child, or another specific combination. Essentially these are travel packages that involve valuable discounts when combining more than one ticket or numerous amenities together. The cheapest rail tickets can often come from hotels affiliated with nearby tourist railroads. The prices for train tickets either drop drastically or, if ample amenities are purchased, they can even be free. If tickets, lodging, and other amenities are required, the savings can be surprisingly big.