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Rail Plus on track for growth

“Once people are travelling on three or more sectors in one country, a national pass offers particularly good value,” says Rail Plus CEO James Dunne.

rail plus growthTechnology has been a key driver of activity for rail specialist wholesaler Rail Plus in the last year, with  feedback from travel consultants seeing the addition of several significant new offerings. The popular Live Chat online support service has been extended to 7am-7pm AEDT, while Rail Plus systems have been amended to allow agents to copy and paste invoice details into their back office systems. Also new is a series of online training webinars which agents can complete at their own pace, with new modules on Canada’s Via Rail and Rocky Mountaineer to be released shortly.

James Dunne, Rail Plus CEO Australasia, who is pictured above with Rail Europe’s Ingrid Kocijan, told travelBulletin the wholesaler has also just added a direct connection to Germany’s Deutsche Bahn network, giving agents 24/7 access to point-to-point fares. And while Amtrak sectors in the US can be currently booked via Rail Plus manually, automating this process is also a priority, with live availability expected to be announced in the coming weeks. Dunne said he’s also focused on increasing the visibility of rail via the GDS. “Currently we have a tab in Amadeus, and are now looking at working more closely with other GDSs to create similar solutions for consultants.”

In terms of industry trends, Dunne said Rail Plus is seeing more Australian passengers opting for rail passes covering a single country.

“Once people are travelling on three or more sectors in one country, a national pass offers particularly good value,” he said. As the European rail network continues to expand there are ever more options for passengers such as the new Eurostar route between Lyon and Provence, as well as a new direct service from London to Amsterdam which will come online next year. Eurostar is significantly expanding its fleet, with 17 new high speed e320 trains to be added from late 2015. Further reducing travel time between London and Paris and offering free wi-fi for all passengers, the extra rolling stock is “inter-operable” meaning the trains can run across diverse European signalling systems opening up the potential for many more direct services between the UK and city centres across the Continent.

Rail Plus has also seen strong growth of its Great Train Journeys program, with a new brochure just released. As well as popular favourites such as the Rocky Mountaineer, the program includes a range of additions including Ireland’s first luxury rail journey, the Belmond Grand Hibernian, which debuts next year with three itineraries ranging from two to six days.

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