Great Rail Journeys (GRJ) is increasing its presence in the US as it signed a deal to acquire Chicago-based Vacations By Rail (VBR). The combined business will offer customers a global portfolio of escorted rail itineraries as well as an expanded collection of independent rail holidays to customers in both the UK and the US.

It will also provide the UK market with exclusive access to unique VBR products in North America’s national parks and Alaska.

York-based GRJ employs around 150 people and offers almost 400 itineraries to more than 50 countries. In the last five years, it tapped into new source markets for its rail tours including Australia and more recently the US. Furthermore, 2018 saw the launch of a new river cruise offering. Also, its summer 2020 programme has been extended to include exclusive small group tours where guests can combine rail with properties, from mountain-top hotels in Switzerland to a castle on a wilderness reserve in Scotland.

Established in 2004, VBR offers North American customers a large selection of independent rail vacations, escorted rail tours, luxury rail journeys and custom train vacations to destinations in North America.

“Grow footprint in rail vacation sector domestically.”

Peter Liney, CEO of Great Rail Journeys said: “This acquisition is the first step of many as we look to enhance our position as the world’s leading rail holiday company. At a time of market uncertainty, it signifies our scale and ambition within the market and at one stroke makes us market leader for escorted rail holidays in the USA.”

Todd Powell, co-founder and CEO of Vacations By Rail said: “The combination of our two companies represents a significant opportunity to grow our footprint in the rail vacation sector domestically and internationally, as well as accelerate into new markets.”



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