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Great Rail Journeys Announces Leadership Promotions

The travel-by-rail company announced three promotions to its leadership teams in both the UK and U.S.

By Amanda Christensen

Great Rail Journeys—whose U.S. division, Vacations By Rail, is headquartered in Chicago—
recently promoted three of its leadership team to encourage company development. Great Rail is based in York, England.

Sarah McMullen was promoted to director of people for Great Rail Journeys, tasked with overseeing the development and talent management for both Great Rail and Vacations By Rail.

Headshot of Sarah McMullen. June 18, 2024
Sarah McMullen || Courtesy of Vacations By Rail

Liz Owens was promoted to senior vice president and general manager of Vacations By Rail. She first joined the company in 2022, charged with overseeing brand growth—which has increased by more than 40% since then. Owens will now oversee the U.S. sales and service teams to bring commercial attention to the company’s primary customer base.

Headshot of Liz Owens. June 18, 2024
Liz Owens || Courtesy of Vacations By Rail

Sixteen-year travel industry veteran Missy Paul was promoted to director of independent operations of Vacations By Rail. The company’s independent program is a strong business branch, focusing on train rides operated at the traveler’s own pace. These programs take riders aboard independently owned trains (in addition to Amtrak trains) along historic railroads across the country.

Headshot of Missy Paul. June 18, 2024
Missy Paul || Courtesy of Vacations By Rail

“I am really pleased to see the continued development of our teammates who are driving the business forward at a rapid pace,” says Dave Riley, CEO of Great Rail Journeys and Vacations By Rail, in a prepared statement. “It is fantastic that we are able to retain and develop both our long-serving teammates—Missy—as well as some newer team members, Liz and Sarah. I have no doubt they will continue to grow and develop both the business teams and themselves as we navigate the next phase of our great journey.”

These promotions coincide with Vacations By Rail’s 20th anniversary this year. The company offers a variety of group-friendly tour excursions across the U.S. and Canada—alongside international options in Europe and beyond. Planners can work with Vacations By Rail’s group rail travel and planning experts for those traveling with 10 or more attendees.