Great Rail Journeys Appoints Dave Riley

Dave Riley

Great Rail Journeys, the York-based escorted tour and river cruise provider, has announced that as of 5th September, Dave Riley, currently Group CFO, will take on the role of CEO for The Great Rail Journeys family of brands.

This transition has been planned for some time.

With nearly five decades of success under its belt, Great Rail Journeys, which also incorporates the Chicago based company Vacations By Rail, offers a range of over 200 escorted and independent rail and river cruise holidays in 50+ countries worldwide. 



Taking the reins and tasked with driving an ambitious global growth agenda, Dave’s appointment follows a rigorous selection process. He joined the company in October 2018 and was initially responsible for the Finance, IT and HR functions across the UK and US businesses, adding Operations to his responsibilities in 2021. Dave is Yorkshire born and bred, but his previous work experience spans the globe, having held leadership positions across the UK, Europe and the USA in a variety of businesses.

Charles Gurassa, Chairman Great Rail Journeys commented:



“I am delighted to announce Dave Riley as the new Chief Executive of Great Rail Journeys. Dave has proven to be an outstanding leader since joining the business and his experience both with the company and in private equity made him the standout candidate. He brings deep financial, digital marketing and operational expertise to the role and under his guidance Great Rail Journeys has an exciting future ahead.”

“I would like to place on record the Board’s and my personal thanks to Peter. He has successfully led the business for nine years, spearheading its expansion into the USA and Australia, broadening our offering into river cruising and steering the company through the challenges of the global pandemic. We wish him every success in his next endeavours.

Peter Liney, former CEO of Great Rail Journeys, went on to say:

“Having worked in the travel industry for over thirty years, it has been a privilege to have been CEO of Great Rail Journeys and more recently Vacations by Rail. I am leaving the team in good hands, and for me personally, I’m looking forward to new challenges and leveraging my expertise, not just in travel but also in family and private equity businesses.”


Dave Riley commented:

“With Great Rail Journeys celebrating its 50th year in 2023, I am excited to be taking the helm as we enter a new phase of growth, delivering great experiences to our customers. The Great Rail Journeys family is already close to my heart, having worked in the business for over four years and – of course – being a Yorkshireman, I am proud to become CEO of a company that has made this region its home.  I feel very fortunate to have worked so closely with Peter over the past four years and my thanks to him for all the support and guidance he’s given me. I’m excited to be leading the team on its journey ahead.


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