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Accessible Rail Tours   Travel by Car/Bus/Trains

Started Sep-29 by Feisty Old Broad Shorty (TOILETHEA1); 128 views.

The Able Traveler: Accessible Rail Tours Top Fall Travel Picks

Variety is truly the keyword when it comes to rail travel; and fall is prime time to experience these wheelchair-accessible rail tours through Canadian and U.S. parks.

With unstable gas prices and long lines at airport security checkpoints, rail travel is making a comeback. Both Amtrak and Via Rail reported significant ridership increases in the past year, while private rail tours and historic trains are also gaining popularity. Variety is truly the keyword when it comes to rail travel; and fall is prime time to experience these wheelchair-accessible rail tours.

Grand Canyon Adventure

With daily departures from Williams, the Grand Canyon Railway (tel. 800/843-8724; offers passengers a look back at the old west, on a 2.5-hour trip through the high desert and pine forests to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The vintage rail cars are pulled by a steam engine during the summer and a diesel locomotive the rest of the year. And even though this is a historic train, several classes of service offer good access for wheelchair-users and slow walkers.

The first class and coach cars are the most accessible, as they can be boarded by a portable lift and they all feature wheelchair tie-downs, nearby companion seats and an accessible restroom. The parlor car and the observation dome can also be accessed by a portable lift; however they are more appropriate for slow walkers, as there are no wheelchair tie-downs in the parlor car and the observation dome has seven steps to the top.

The railway staff is very accommodating, with on-board attendants on hand to see to your every need. First class passengers are treated to a continental breakfast on the way up and appetizers and champagne on the return trip; while soft drinks are served on both legs in coach class. Roving musicians entertain passengers with songs of the old west during the entire journey

This historic train trip can be taken as a day excursion -- going up and back in the same day -- or as a package tour with overnight lodging at the Grand Canyon and in Williams included. Accessible rooms with roll-in showers are available on both ends, and the folks at Grand Canyon Railway are great at accommodating disabled guests.

Railing Through the Canadian Rockies

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