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Riding on Amtrak's Name Trains

May 03, 1987|ERIC FRIEDHEIM | Friedheim is editor/publisher of Travel Agent magazine.

Question: Does Amtrak still operate some of those famous trains like the Super Chief and Twentieth Century Limited?

Answer: Neither are running, but other name trains have survived, including Broadway (Chicago/San Francisco), Crescent (New York/New Orleans), Southwest Chief (Chicago/Los Angeles) and the Sunset Limited (New Orleans/Los Angeles).

Q: We're interested in staying at a sheep station during our Australian trip. Are there any that accept tourists?

A: Like some American ranches, many sheep stations and working farms welcome overnight guests. Contact the Australian Tourist Commission, 3550 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1740, Los Angeles 90010; (213) 380-6060.

Q: Do the airlines still have round-the-world tours, and , if so , what do they cost?

A: Yes they do. Each trip is marketed by tour operators through travel agents. Prices depend on itinerary. Bradford Travel, 1200 Old West Henderson Road, Columbus, Ohio 43220, has the first round-the-world British Airways Concorde flight leaving the United States, costing $26,000 for 17 days. The normal economy tariff for global do-it-yourselfers go for about $3,000 on subsonic planes.

Q: Are any passenger ships sailing to Europe this spring and summer?

A: The QE2 has the only regular service. Several lines will have one-way eastbound voyages to position their ships abroad.

Q: What's my insurance coverage when I buy an air ticket with an American Express credit card?

A: It's a free $200,000 death and dismemberment policy for travel on airplanes, trains, buses and ships. Spouses, dependents and children are covered. If air tickets are charged in advance, you're also covered while traveling to the airport by taxi, bus, airport limousine and scheduled helicopter.

Q: We're interested in white-water rafting. Are there any areas in the East where this is available?

A: The New River Canyon, in West Virginia--dubbed by some as the Grand Canyon of the East--offers rafting comparable to Western regions. The Gauley and Cheat rivers in the area also have challenging rapids. Trips are available for both first-time and experienced rafters. Rates start at $52 a day plus $20 for wet-suit rental. Contact Songer Enterprises, P.O. Box 27A, Saturday Road, Victor, W.Va. 25938; (800) 356-RAFT.

Q: Some package tour ads seem to specify "scheduled flights" while others don't say. Should I avoid a tour that is not among the scheduled flights, because they could be changed?

A: A scheduled flight is one that has published schedules and is open to anyone traveling. A non-scheduled flight is either a charter flight or a commuter type of carrier that operates on demand rather than a published schedule. Generally, a package that does not use "scheduled flights" will use a charter. This does not mean that the flight times could be changed, any more than on a scheduled flight.

Q: I understand that the restaurants in the Eiffel Tower in Paris get quite crowded. Can one make reservations?

A: They accept reservations. Use your hotel concierge or call the restaurants directly.

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