A rail explorer is a pedal powered vehicle that rides on railroad tracks. They have 4 steel wheels, hydraulic disc brakes, pedals for each seat, and are comfortable, fun and easy to ride. Although the rail explorers require pedalling, the magic of steel wheels on steel rails makes the experience very different from riding a regular bicycle. There is no need to carefully watch the road ahead, there is no need to steer and riding is hands free - making it easy to take photographs and video as you roll along. Choose either the Tandem Rail Explorer (2 seats) or Quad Rail Explorer (4 seats) for your ride. Single rider 'VIP Seats' are also available.
Pedal powered rail vehicles date back to at least the 1850’s, when maintenance workers used hand-cars and ‘rail bikes’ to travel along the tracks. They were used to transport crew and materials for track inspection and repairs. Today, there are a variety of designs in use around the world: the ‘Draisine’ of Europe; ‘rail bikes’ with aluminum frames and rubber wheels; and modified road bikes with an outrigger wheel.
Our custom built explorers are the latest development of this technology, and are the global leader in safety, design and ease of operation.
Everyone! Couples young and old, groups of friends, and families of all ages and abilities can enjoy this unique experience. Check out some of the great reviews from our riders.
Yes! The explorers are easy to ride and children are welcome. Children must be accompanied by a rider at least 16 years of age to operate the brakes. Groups of children can ride on their own explorer, provided it is coupled to an adult's explorer.
For safety all riders must be secured in their own seat. The only exception is infants, who must be secured in a chest harness to an adult rider. Infants in a chest harness travel free. Younger children may not be able to reach the pedals but can be safely buckled in to enjoy the ride. We offer toddler harnesses for additional security for little explorers. It is not safe for children to be seated on your lap and this is strictly forbidden.
All the rail explorers leave at the same time, with a tour guide in the lead and a tour guide in the last explorer. The group spreads out along the track so that there is up to 200ft between you and the explorers ahead and behind. This allows each group to enjoy the freedom of the outdoors and the magic of the railroad at their own pace and in their own space.
Passing is not possible - the aim is to enjoy the journey, not to go as
fast as you can. A slower rider in front means you will have more
time to relax and enjoy the ride. Give other riders space - PLEASE DON'T TAILGATE!!!
The tours are timed so that all explorers have reached the destination
before they are turned around for the next tour.
Rail Explorers only operates on rails that do not have any train traffic. Our staff co-ordinate closely with the railroad managers and dispatchers to ensure that there are no other vehicles on the rails during our operations.
In Rhode Island, you can combine your Rail Explorers Tour with the many train tours and experiences available on the Newport and Narragansett Bay Railroad. Enjoy an elegant dinner train experience on the Grand Bellevue, or take a ride on the Ice Cream Train! For more information and tickets visit www.trainsri.com
Rail Explorers will operate rain or shine, provided it is safe to do so. Our tours run in light to moderately inclement weather, but will not run in heavy rain that is unlikely to stop, or if threatening weather appears imminent. We'll check the radar before every tour and if it looks like it's going to start pouring and rain for most of the tour, we'll cancel or delay departure until the weather passes. Tours will go ahead in light rain or brief showers. Umbrellas are provided on every rail explorer and ponchos are available. Appropriate wet-weather clothing is recommended if riding in the rain. The exact timing and path of thunderstorms is difficult to predict, therefore a decision to cancel a tour because of a thunderstorm is typically only made 30 minutes before departure.
Rescheduling or cancellation due to weather will only occur if Rail Explorers consider it unsafe to be on the rails. Customers who cancel due to weather are subject to our cancellation policy.
Booking ahead is strongly recommended. Due to the popularity of the rail explorers, and the limited number of seats available, many tours sell out quickly, particularly on weekends. Seats are not held in reserve for walk-ins.
No, tickets for our regular tours are not sold per person. When you book you choose your rail explorer: either a Tandem, Quad, VIP Seat, or any combination of these, depending on how many are in your group. A Quad has 4 seats, a Tandem has 2 seats. VIP Seats are for extra or single riders on an explorer shared with the tour guides. There is no discount for empty seats. Each rider must have their own seat. It is not safe for children to be seated on your lap and this is strictly forbidden. For more information check out the Explorer page.
Special event tickets may be sold per person. Please check specific event details for ticket prices.
Tour pricing varies depending on the location. Special tours and events priced differently.
Rhode Island regular tour pricing:
*Prices may vary for special events
Tours are one way unless otherwise indicated. Rail Explorers provides a shuttle bus return for all one way tours. Roundtrips are available, but are sold as two tickets. A 10% discount is available for those who purchase round trip tickets.
Each ticket includes a complimentary shuttle to get you to or from your vehicle. It is possible to book a roundtrip ride, but the return journey must be booked as an additional ticket.
Each tour takes approximately 1 hour on the rails and about 90 minutes door
to door. The extra 30 minutes includes a compulsory safety briefing and the shuttle bus trip. Tour durations vary depending on the speed of the riders
so we recommend allocating 2 hours after check in so you don’t miss your
Comfortable and loose fitting clothes suitable for hiking or cycling. You might work up a sweat! Wet weather gear is recommended if rain is forecast. Closed toed shoes are recommended.
Each rail explorer has a basket for bags and backpacks, cameras, phones or water bottles. Umbrellas are provided on all explorers in case of rain. Sunscreen, a hat and bug spray are recommended - it can be hot out on the rails!
Dogs are permitted but their safety is your responsibility. Dogs must be restrained with a leash or harness. Many dogs have ridden with us, but space on the explorers is limited, so larger dogs may not fit comfortably and may be in danger of being struck by the pedals or pinched by the chains.