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Standard Terms & Conditions
Tours 2016 & 2017
These may vary slightly from tour to tour and from country to country. These terms were originally written for China tours but have been adapted to include tours to Bosnia and Indonesia as well.
email me - if you have any questions about these terms and conditions
Linesiding with John
Updated 8 June 2016
Terms & Conditions

Prices are for land arrangements only. We will collect you from the designated airport or other central location, guide you throughout and then make sure you are in position to catch your flight home from a major international airport at the end of the trip. Discounts may be offered but vary from tour to tour.

The tour price includes single rooms, all transport, all permissions, 3 meals a day (and free beer on Chinese tours only). Any exceptions to this will be noted in the specific tour details.

Our local guides can make local arrangements such as hotels and train reservations for you for prior to and after the end of the trip on request.

A Deposit confirms your place
Your place on the tour is confirmed by payment of a refundable deposit which can vary from tour to tour. This is deducted from the balance of the tour cost at a fair exchange rate (i.e. the cross rate). I use to check exchange rates.

Refundable Deposits
Your deposit is fully refundable but only until the tour is declared 'go' and the organisers start to incur costs. Once we incur costs, you accept that these costs will be split between all those who have signed up and you will receive back your deposit less your share of this. If you cancel two weeks (14 days) prior to the tour start, no refund will be made. In the event that the organisers have to cancel the tour, your deposit will be fully refundable.

Payment methods
Participants from the UK can pay the deposit by cheque or bank transfer. Those who live outside the UK can make a bank transfer or use PayPal. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Bank transfers are not reversal without the payment of additional fees. Should you withdraw from the tour and need to ask for a refund, there will be bank charges involved (at your expense). The advantage is the possibility of lower costs than PayPal to transfer money based on a service charge not a percentage. PayPal payments are fully refundable/reversible for 60 days. However, the charge for transferring (for example) £400 is based on a percentage not a flat fee and could be £20-£30. I recommend that you discuss the best method in your circumstances with me before you go ahead.

Additional notes
The balance of the tour costs can be paid in cash at the start of the tour or by bank transfer to the local tour organiser or guide.
Should you transfer money to pay the balance of the tour cost, you accept that returning money from tour destinations (rather than the UK) is not an easy matter and someone may have to collect the money in person during the tour to make a repayment should you cancel.

In the unlikely event that we need to cancel the tour for whatever reason, the limit of our liability will be the full refund of all monies already paid by you to us.

The tour will be organised and led by an experienced local guide normally with assistance from me, John Raby. Should I not plan to join the trip or should tour numbers make this impossible, I will let you know.

Tours are normally timed for late autumn/early winter or early spring when temperatures are normally cold enough for good steam effects early morning and late afternoon and the weather is normally stable and sunny. For tours visiting Sichuan or Java, the temperatures will be higher and they may be more chance of tropical rain.

These are tours for those interested in still and video photography of real steam operations especially of hard working steam-hauled trains in attractive or unusual scenery. They are not for those primarily interested in riding behind steam (although there may be a chance to ride steam-hauled passenger trains) nor for those who like to see re-creations of how things used to be. Real working steam is preferred to steam charters but steam charters will be employed if this is the only way to obtain the photos and video footage we are looking for.

This tour includes travel by train or private bus, single rooms in hotels, 3 meals a day (plus beer with meals in China) with bottled drinking water always available, permissions for access and photography and any 'compulsory' tipping.

Included in the tour price
-Advice and assistance to obtain your visa (if required) and on other matters before the trip starts.
-Permissions for access and photography - but see not included below for exactly what is not included in the tour price.
-Three meals a day (but breakfast and lunch may be snacks if necessary to increase the time beside the steam lines)
-Single rooms (small refund if not available) - requests by friends to share are acceptable and will reduce your tour costs - ask for a quote
-Service of a national guide (with local guides as required)
-Travel by train (including soft or hard sleeper berth) or private bus.
-All non-discretionary tips

Not included
-Discretionary tips for good service (most likely to be given to our bus drivers and local guides)
-Phone calls, laundry, snacks between meals
-Personal emergency cover for any eventuality (please make sure you have travel insurance to cover this)
-Air flights to the tour destination, visa, all expenses prior to the start or after the end of the tour

Minimum and maximum numbers
Minimum 6 people and (ideally) no more than 10 people maximum. However, we are flexible on this and tours with only 3 participants have run and also slightly more than 10 on occasion.

The reality of going to see Real Steam
We will be visiting real steam operations. Unless charters or special trains are arranged, it's all real. However, as with any real operation, we could experience days when things don't operate as we would like. Last minute derailments, loco failures, mine shut downs, safety inspections are just the most obvious examples of things we hope will not happen while we are there (but might). There is also the chance that these lines could reduce the amount of steam they use, dieselise, fail to switch from diesel back to steam or close by the time of this trip. If signing up for this tour, you accept these possibilities. Should any changes to the itinerary be necessary, we will create the best alternative programme after consultation with the participants.

We could find hotels that have promised single rooms do not have enough rooms for the group or that hard rather than soft class sleepers on overnight trains are all that are available for some or all of the group or that we need to travel by different trains to obtain sleeper berths. We will do what we can to ensure that frustrations and minor discomforts such as these do not happen but we depend on the cooperation of others to ensure that everything goes totally to plan. You sign up for these tours in full knowledge that things don't always go right all the time and accepting that flexibility and compromise may be required by you at times.

If single rooms are not available then the decision on sharing arrangements will be made by the organisers. You agree to accept our decision on this. A refund equal to half the price of a single room per night will be paid to anyone who has to share.

Although we plan overnight journeys travelling in soft class sleepers on trains in China this is not always possible and sometimes hard class sleepers may be used. Hard sleepers are nowhere near as unpleasant as they sound and the latest version of hard class carriage has compartments for 6 people compared with soft class which has compartments for 4. In both soft and hard class, people normally prefer lower berths. You agree to accept that class and berth allocation will be at our discretion. We will generally allocate upper berths to those who are most able to climb up to them!

You should have travel/medical insurance to cover you in the event that you are hospitalized or if you should need to be medically evacuated back home. You may also want to cover yourself for missed flights, lost luggage, etc. but medical emergency is the most important item to insure against. The tour organisers will not be able to support you financially should you have a medical emergency and will only be able to support you in other ways so far as successfully running the tour allows.

Participants are responsible for moving their own luggage. We don't offer a porter service! This can be especially important at railway stations where there may be a reasonable walk including stairs, rough surfaces and narrow carriage corridors. A key element to this is not to bring a case that is too big nor pack things you don't need. For comfort, I suggest limiting yourself to 3 bags including a camera case and making one of these a backpack.

To get the best shots, participants should have no problem walking some distance over rough ground or along railway tracks sometimes on the ballast. Our transport will normally park near the railway giving a shot of sorts nearby but the best shots could be some walk away. If you do not feel able to walk (say) 3-5 km at a medium pace, please let me know before or when you sign up.

The hotels will vary from luxury to 1 star but all should be warm or cool depending on the time of year and provide hot water for baths/showers (although hours for this may be limited) and heating or cooling in the rooms.

The majority of hotels provide internet access in your room via LAN/Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi. You may need a password from reception to get online.

This revised information replaces all previous versions of terms and conditions. Please check the details for the specific tour you are interested in which should state any terms and conditions which are not standard (as above).

John Raby
8 June 2016