GW Travel was a pioneer in developing tourism in Russia away from the main centres of Moscow and St Petersburg and in the early years mainly using steam traction. The first Russian tour was in 1992 in the North Caucasus when the concept of a private train in Russia was a novelty, to say the least. Since then we have operated to all 15 countries of the former USSR and in previous years we have run over 250 tours by private train, covering nearly 2.4 million km (1.5 million miles) and carrying 20,000 guests, mainly in Russia but also in China, Africa, Western Europe, India and Canada. Following Silk Road tours from 1999 which broke new ground with our Russian train meeting a Chinese train on the Sino-Kazak border, the company operated its first private train tour wholly within China in March 2002.
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2002 saw one of the most exciting developments with the introduction of the first new deluxe class en-suite sleeping cars. Providing full en-suite facilities in each cabin for the first time in Russia, these cars were designed to offer five-star comfort and service which equals or surpasses the best luxury trains in the world today.
2003 was a double anniversary in St Petersburg (the city's Tercentenary, founded by Peter the Great in 1703; and also the centenary of the first train to leave St Petersburg for Vladivostok, which took place on the 14th of July, 1903) so 2003 was a very memorable and successful year.
2004 saw the company's operations expand into North America with its May charter of one of the world's most luxurious trains, the Royal Canadian Pacific on an epic 21-day trans- continental journey across Canada.
At the beginning of 2006 the company unveiled the Darjeeling Mail using the Deccan Odyssey, the first luxury train to traverse the Indian sub-continent between Bombay and Calcutta.
In 2006 we ran the first ever tourist rail journey to Lhasa in Tibet over the 1,142 km rail line between Golmud in China and the Tibetan capital which is the highest passenger line in the world at 5,072 m (16,640 ft).
The most important year for the company was 2007 which saw the launch of our brand new, 21 car, Golden Eagle. Costing $25m it was constructed in Moscow and the Ukraine. It is Russia's premier train and our flagship private train.
In an exciting move, Golden Eagle Luxury Trains took over the operation of the Danube Express for 2015 and beyond featuring a wide range of rail journeys through Central and Eastern Europe and into the Middle East.
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