Please read carefully the following conditions to which your booking is subject. Please also ensure that you have carefully read and understood the relevant trip itinerary.
1. Quality Standards & Flexibility
1.1 Please be aware that some of the facilities you encounter on our trips may not be to the standard which you may find on a conventional holiday or at home, especially away from the hotels and trains we use. We normally travel in areas which, relatively speaking, have seen few tourists and the infrastructure is often not fully developed. Whilst services are improving, you should expect to encounter problems with plumbing, bureaucratic service, unpaved & uneven surfaces, the non-availability of public restrooms and similar.
1.2 Please be aware that in operating our trips we rely upon other people and businesses. Trips do not always run as planned and, whilst we will always try our best to stick to the planned itinerary, please treat it as a guide rather than a strict timetable. Although we cannot always please all parties when changing an itinerary, our clients should anticipate changes being required.
2. Confirmation of Booking
2.1 No contract exists until we receive a signed Booking Form and your deposit. The Booking Form and these Booking Conditions form part of the contract between us. Please ensure that we are aware of any special requirements when making your booking (such as those relating to your health and dietary requirements).
2.2 A Booking Confirmation will be sent to you upon receipt of the Booking Form and deposit. Your Booking Confirmation will specify exactly what has been requested by you or your agent and it is your responsibility to check the confirmation and advise us immediately in the event of any error.
3. Travel Insurance
3.1 It is a condition of your booking that you take out adequate Travel Insurance cover at the time of booking. We can arrange this for you at 7% of tour value. If you take out an alternative policy this must provide at least $50,000 US medical coverage and you must supply us with the name, address and telephone number of your insurers, your policy number and the 24 hour medical emergency telephone number. Any pre-existing medical conditions must be declared to your insurer and to RailsNW, failure to do so may invalidate your policy.
4. Payment & Price Variation
4.1 You must provide a deposit on making a booking. Deposit amounts may vary dependant on tour, the amount being stated in the tour brochure.
4.2 We must receive the balance due at least 90 days prior to departure or in full upon receipt of our Booking Confirmation and Invoice if the booking is made less than 90 days from the departure date. If full payment is not received 12 weeks prior to the departure date then we reserve the right to treat the booking as cancelled and you will lose your deposit(s).
4.3 We do not expect to make surcharges or partial refunds. We will up to 30 days prior to departure vary the price by such an amount as will share the costs or savings equally between all paying travellers of any movement in currency exchange rates, transportation costs (including the cost of fuel), dues, taxes or fees chargeable for services (such as landing or embarkation taxes) which result in a variation greater than 5% to the contract price (excluding any insurance premium payments).
5. Your Changes to a Trip
5.1 If you wish to alter your booking (for example, a change of date or transfer details) we may allow this at our reasonable discretion. It may not be possible to make changes close to the departure date and no changes can be made or accepted within 90 days of departure. We reserve the right to charge an administration fee to cover any costs and fees we incur.
6. Your Cancellation of a Trip
6.1 A Cancellation of a booking must be made without delay, in writing and be signed by the person who signed the booking form. The date of cancellation is the date on which your letter, fax or e-mail is received by us. There will be a cancellation charge to compensate us for making your booking and the risk that we will be unable to resell your place(s). The charges are as follows (and exclude insurance premiums which are non-refundable):
· 61+ days - Loss of deposit paid or due
· Within 60 days of departure - 100% of the total cost of the holiday
NOTE: You may be able to reclaim cancellation charges under your travel insurance if you cancel for covered reasons.
7. Our Changes to a Trip
7.1 All the facts in the tour brochure have been checked for accuracy before publication. However, arrangements for our tours are made many months in advance and occasionally changes have to be made. In the event of any significant changes you will be informed of these at the time of booking or as soon as possible, if there is time before your departure and the parties agree that the tour brochure so altered shall apply.
7.2 If a major change to your itinerary becomes necessary you may either: (a) accept the changes; (b) accept an alternative tour if we have a suitable tour available (we will refund the price difference if a tour of lower price is taken). You must inform us of your decision as soon as possible. A major change is one which significantly alters the terms of the trip, including one which changes your departure date, departure city or departure or return time by more than 24 hours. Where you choose option (a) (you accept the changes) we will inform you of any additional costs before you make your decision and reserve the right to charge you for any additional charges incurred by us in making those changes.
7.3 Due to changes in airline schedules, or other operating reasons after our tours are advertised, it is sometimes necessary to change the airline, airport or aircraft shown in our brochures. Unless these changes alter your departure or return time by more than 24 hours, you cannot use this as a reason to cancel your reservation unless we agree.
7.4 On rail tours that include haulage by specific locomotives, travel in specific carriages, or on specific lines, whilst every effort will be made to ensure that these features are provided as advertised, there can be occasions when, for reasons outside of our control, the specific features cannot be provided. In this situation we will endeavour to provide alternative traction, accommodations or routing such as the circumstances allow.
7.5 However, we and our agents at all times reserve the right to make such substitutions for mechanical, operating or other matters required for reasons beyond our reasonable control (such as any war or terrorist activities (threatened or actual), riot, civil unrest, closure of airports, industrial action (threatened or actual), political conditions, natural or nuclear disaster, fire, adverse weather conditions, changes to or cancellation of air, river, sea or rail services or any other events outside our reasonable control).
8. Our Cancellation of a Trip
8.1 The Company reserves the right in any circumstances to cancel your trip and in this event you will receive a full refund of all the money that you have paid to the Company. It is unlikely we would cancel your trip less than 60 days before scheduled departure. We will pay you reasonable compensation if cancelling a trip save where it is done for (i) unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond our reasonable control (and which could not have been avoided even if all due care had been exercised), (ii) your failure to pay the final balance or (iii) (because our tours are based upon an economic minimum number of passengers) if a minimum number of travellers is not reached. We recommend that you take out insurance with cancellation cover and do not make arrangements incidental to the trip more than 60 days before scheduled departure.
9. Train Schedules & Flexibility
9.1 Our trains usually run on busy main lines, cover huge distances and operate to pre-agreed schedules. Occasionally operational, mechanical or other reasons beyond our control can cause delays resulting in rescheduling, reducing or cancelling parts of the cultural & sightseeing program in order to maintain our overall schedule. On our specialist steam hauled tours delays are not unusual as there are no longer servicing points for these historic locomotives.
9.2 No refunds will be made if time constraints dictate that elements of the cultural & sightseeing program or route are reduced to maintain our overall schedule or if any accommodation, sightseeing, meals or services are not utilised unless, when taken together, a significant part of the trip is not provided.
10. Other Conditions.
10.1 You are required to accept the terms and conditions of carriage of air, sea and rail carriers used in your tour, some of which limit or exclude liability. Often, these conditions are the subject of international agreements between countries. Copies of conditions that will apply to your tour are available on request.
11. Visas, Air Tickets & Passports
11.1 A full passport with at least 6 months validity from the end of the tour is required for all our tours. It is your responsibility to check your visas and air tickets to ensure that they have been issued for the correct dates and to advise us immediately in the event of any error. Any guidance we give is provided in good faith but passengers should ensure that they obtain all the necessary documentation and visas prior to departure as we assume no responsibility for passengers refused entry into a country because of incorrect documentation and any repatriation charges will be the responsibility of the passenger.
12. Travel Documents
12.1 Travel documents will be issued after receipt by the Company of the full price or final balance and not normally later than fourteen days prior to departure. Tickets are usually available on departure when a booking is made within 7 days of departure. Please take your Booking Confirmation with you on departure.
13. Baggage Allowance
13.1 Generally the airline free baggage allowance, in addition to allowable hand or carry-on baggage, is 44 lb. (20 kg) per passenger. This can vary depending upon the airline and we recommend that you check your flight tickets and/or contact the airline if in doubt. Whilst there are no specific baggage limits on any of our trains, all baggage must be stowed within your own compartment.
14. Our Liability to You
14.1 We take all reasonable steps to ensure that the proper arrangements have been made for all our tours and that the suppliers of services enjoyed during the tour maintain the standards required by the Company within the constraints imposed at each destination. Such persons include railways, airlines, bus operators, hoteliers, etc. Whilst we have no direct control over the provision of such services to you by those suppliers we accept full responsibility for the quality of your holiday and therefore accept liability to clients for the acts or omissions of our servants, agents or suppliers except in the case of air and sea carriers (See 'Other Conditions' above) subject to the following paragraphs.
14.2 Save in respect of personal injury and death resulting from the non-performance or improper performance of the services involved in providing the trip, our liability shall not exceed twice the amount received by us from you for the trip (excluding any travel insurance premiums).
14.3 We do not accept any liability for loss, damage or expense resulting from (i) your actions or failures, (ii) unusual and unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control (the consequences of which could not have been avoided even if all due care had been exercised), (iii) an event which even with all due care we could not foresee or forestall or, (iv) actions or omissions of a third party unconnected with the provision of the trip which were unforeseeable or unavoidable.
14.4 In the case of damage arising from the non-performance or improper performance of the services involved in providing the trip, compensation may be limited to that provided for under international agreements. For instance, the responsibility of IATA airlines in connection with the holiday(s) in this brochure is limited to the carriage of passengers and their luggage in accordance with the Conditions of Carriage of the participating airlines.
14.5 In return for our acceptance of responsibility for proven negligent acts or omissions of suppliers (excluding air and sea carriers) as outlined above we require an assignment from you to us of any legal rights which you might have against the relevant supplier and your agreement to co-operate fully with us in respect of any legal proceedings which we may take against the relevant supplier.
15. Help & Assistance
15.1 Should you or any member of your party be in difficulty and require assistance as a result of any matter arising from circumstances beyond our reasonable control or which we could not have foreseen or forestalled we will endeavour to provide prompt assistance. This includes advice, guidance and initial financing assistance where appropriate. Should any payment be made to you or any member of your party by us in any of the circumstances referred to in this section, we reserve the right to claim in your place against the person or organisation responsible for causing illness, injury or death and to make recovery, where appropriate, in respect of expenditure covered by your travel insurance.
16. Safety on Rail Tours
16.1 Railways are busy and potentially dangerous places. If you alight other than at scheduled stops at recognised stations, or visit any railway installation, whether included or not in the tour, you do so entirely at your own risk and are advised that your travel insurance MAY NOT cover you in case of mishap. Permission to travel on the locomotives, or on any other part of the train not normally accessible, may be given during the tour however you do this entirely at your own risk.
17.1 As we are travelling in a group you agree to accept the authority of our Tour Manager.
17.2 Passengers are expected to behave in a reasonable manner toward other passengers, our personnel and other persons with whom we have contact during our tour. We reserve the right at our absolute discretion to terminate without notice the holiday arrangements of any customer whose behaviour is such that it does or is likely to, in our reasonable opinion, or in the opinion of any airline pilot, accommodation owner or manager, their servants or agents or any other person in authority, cause distress, damage, danger or annoyance to any of our other customers, employees or any other person, or to cause damage to property. In these circumstances we may require that you leave the trip as soon as practicable and may apply full cancellation charges. We will not be liable for any refund, compensation or costs incurred by you whatsoever.
19.1 Please ensure that you inform us of any relevant medical conditions prior to booking a trip. Also inform your Tour Manager at the beginning of the trip.
19.2 A moderate degree of physical fitness is needed to participate in our tours, which are rated as moderate to rigorous touring due to the daily walking involved and the overall shortcomings of the tourism infrastructure. You may encounter unpaved sidewalks, uneven surfaces and problems getting on and off trains (perhaps due to low platforms, steep steps and gaps between the platform and the train). Restaurant, bar and shower cars may be some distance from your sleeping car and although we try to arrange porterage you may have to carry your luggage for short distances. Flexibility, a sense of humour and the ability to walk at least a mile a day will be essential components to the enjoyment of your trip.
19.3 Passengers should refer to the Department of Health leaflet "Travellers' Guide to Health" (number T6) which is available from travel agents or from the Dept. of Health and see www.doh.gov.uk/traveladvice/. Clients should check with their doctor before departure as to which inoculations are considered necessary or recommended for the area in which you will be travelling. Such precautions do not take the place of insurance. In some foreign countries the standard of hygiene and safety may differ from those at home. For your own protection you should take particular care with hygiene and to what you eat and drink whilst abroad.
19.4 If in the reasonable opinion of any person in authority (including our tour leader), your physical or mental condition means you should not continue with the tour we may require that you leave the trip as soon as practicable and apply full cancellation charges. We will not be liable for any refund, compensation or costs incurred by you whatsoever in these circumstances.
20. Data Protection
20.1 You acknowledge that we will collect personal information from you which is relevant to the trip and by agreeing to these Booking Conditions consent to our passing that on to third parties, often overseas, in connection with the trip you have booked. We will endeavour to ensure the confidentiality of your information.
21.1 If any provision of these conditions shall be found by any court or administrative body of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unenforceable the invalidity or unenforceability of such provision shall not affect the other provisions of this agreement and all provisions not affected by such invalidity or unenforceability shall remain in full force and effect. The parties hereby agree to attempt to substitute for any invalid or unenforceable provision a valid or enforceable provision which achieves to the greatest extent possible the economic legal and commercial objectives of the invalid or unenforceable provision.
22.1 In the unlikely event that you have any problem or complaint during your journey please bring it to the attention of the tour manager immediately so that they have the opportunity to find a solution. Should a problem remain unresolved then please write to the Company promptly upon your return and, in any event, within 28 days of your return.