"Frseeeeeeeefronnng train somewhere whistling the strength those engines have in them like big giants," wrote James Joyce in "Ulysses." Other train aficionados should note the following new or renewed European rail passes:
*Eurail has introduced the Eurail Saverpass, a 15-day pass that sells for $199 per person. Providing unlimited first-class train travel in 16 European countries, the pass requires that two people travel together at all times. The regular first-class Eurailpass is $260 for 15 days; the Youthpass, for travelers under the age of 26, is $290 for one month. The Saverpass program starts Oct. 1 and lasts until March 31; after March 31, the minimum requirement is three people traveling together.
Eurailpasses, which should be purchased before arrival in Europe, are available through a travel agent or through the French, German, Italian or Swiss railways, all of which have offices in New York. For Eurail brochures, write c/o Trains, P.O. Box M, Staten Island, N.Y. 12305.
*This winter BritRail will repeat its Travelpak program, geared to the independent traveler who wants to explore the countryside in addition to London. The program, which is in effect from Oct. 1 to March 31, includes round-trip transportation from either Gatwick Airport to Victoria Station or Heathrow Airport to downtown London; a London Explorer Pass, which allows three consecutive days unlimited travel on the city's buses and subways; and four days unlimited train travel on the 12,000-mile BritRail passenger network. Prices are $99 economy class, $139 first class, with special rates for children and senior citizens.
For more information: BritRail Travel International, 630 Third Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017, (212) 599-5400.
*The French National Railroads will introduce the France Vacances Special on Jan. 1. This new one-month rail pass, designed to provide for more flexible travel, provides coupons for nine or 16 nonconsecutive days of travel.
Passengers will be able to ride the train for a day, stop off and see a city the next and then continue their trip the third, without losing the use of the middle day, as is common on most rail passes. Cost is $130 for nine days or $170 for 16 days in second class, and $199 for nine days and $250 for 16 days in first class.
A French luxury first-class train service debuting next month between Paris and Strasbourg is La Nouvelle Premie re, which -- for a surcharge of 15 percent above the regular first-class fare -- provides special salon-style seating for groups of two to 10 passengers. A lounge is provided for the travelers before departure, and they will be served classic French meals during the trip at additional cost.