Tailor-made rail holiday operator GRJ Independent is claiming a doubling in passenger numbers for 2018.

The greatest increase for the division of Great Rail Journeys is from people aged under 50.

This is in contrast to the escorted group touring sister brands, Great Rail Journeys and Rail Discoveries, whose niche is the age 50-plus demographic.

The growth is attributed to the increasing appeal and benefits of rail travel with the different customers.

The operator has responded by expanding of its team of specialist tour advisors as well as the implementing a new booking system to reduce the holiday quote turnaround time and improve efficiency.

The York-based company has designed a portfolio of rail-inspired itineraries to appeal to the mature adventurer, young professional and family markets.

Group sales and marketing director Alex Roberts said: “We’re hugely excited about the continued surge in demand for our independent rail holidays.

“We’ve invested heavily in technology and people to provide the best product at the fastest turnaround.

“Backed by Great Rail Journeys means we have access to the best inventory and deals available in the market.”

Roberts added” “Travel agents are a key source of growth for the brand so we look forward to working with them over the next 12 months to maximise every sales opportunity and help them provide a first class service to their customer wanting to explore the world by rail.”