As of one week ago, the company operating the GrandLuxe Express has shut down. Their web site is still up, but according to owner Tom Rader, the company is “financially unable to continue operations.”
In addition to offering excursions among several of the national parks in the west, the company also ran rail trips to the old South and through Mexico’s Copper Canyon. Their equipment once belonged to the American Orient Express and is classic in design ... really quite beautiful.
The full-on excursions offered by GrandLuxe were pricey, but very nicely handled and, I've been told, well worth the money. GrandLuxe had recently partnered with Amtrak to periodically hook two or three of their special cars onto the rear of regularly-scheduled Amtrak trains. It seemed like a good idea: giving people a taste of the Golden Age of Train Travel, but without the hefty price tag attached to their excursion trips. For whatever reason, however, it apparently did not catch on.
I haven’t seen any further comments from the company, but it would certainly seem that this unhappy situation could be another sign that even some of the folks who could afford these luxury rail excusrions are hunkering down.
Damn! That train was on my must-do list.