Amtrak hits the Australian rails

RAIL packaging specialist Amtrak Vacations last month opened a new office in Australia, with the venture also seeing the return of the Railbookers brand to the local market.

The business is part of the Yankee Leisure Group, headed up by Frank Marini, whose extensive travel career includes senior roles with Collette Vacations and Contiki. Marini established Yankee Leisure Group in 2012, and has worked closely with key rail providers including Amtrak, Eurostar and more to develop a unique product range simplifying independent travel using rail.

The new Sydney office has been established with the involvement of Tammy Marshall, who held senior roles with The Travel Corporation, Carnival Australia and TFE Hotels before establishing the B Hive, a travel and tourism consultancy. Marshall is an independent non-executive director of the business, while Narelle Ross has been appointed as head of sales & marketing.

Marini told travelBulletin the unique Amtrak Vacations offering allowed packaging of accommodation and rail, with the ability to book up to 18 months in advance — significantly further out than the booking window for standard point-to-point rail tickets.

Yankee Leisure Group also purchased Railbookers when the previous business fell into difficulties. Under the Railbookers brand travellers can also purchase VIA Rail Vacations and Eurostar Vacations by Railbookers. The Amtrak Vacations offering features as many as 500 destinations in 46 US states, with the program priced in Australian dollars.