This Just In!

This month's news from around the globe.

A double-decker train with a 25,000-horsepower engine and unusually large wheels roared through the eastern French countryside on Tuesday, April 3, at 357.2 mph, setting a world rail record. Dubbed V150, the train used for the hyped demonstration is an enhanced version of TGV bullet trains. Service on the new TGV East Line, launching on June 10, will be at the more leisurely pace of 199 mph (raileurope.com).

It's your last chance to visit the original World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta. The museum near Underground Atlanta will close on April 7 and reopen May 24 in a new building next to the Georgia Aquarium (woccatlanta.com, $9)

Been to Alcatraz lately? The popular San Francisco landmark has undergone its first major renovation since opening to the public in 1973. Improvements include digital audio tours (using the device pictured), access to parts of the prison that were previously off-limits, and exhibits of never-before-seen photos (nps.gov/alcatraz) .

Victoria, B.C., gets its first contemporary boutique property when the 80-room Oswego Hotel opens its doors this month. The hotel is offering rates starting at $129 until May 31 (oswegovictoria.com) .

On March 29, Legoland in Carlsbad, Calif., will unveil its latest attraction: A minature replica of the Las Vegas Strip made entirely of Lego. More than 2 million bricks and 16,000 hours were needed to create models that include a 20-foot-tall Stratosphere (legoland.com, $57) .

The mayor of Paris is encouraging residents to open their homes to tourists. A program called Paris Quality Hosts was initiated by the city last year when it became clear that the demand for rooms exceeded availability. A website with B&B listings went online last July but the inventory has grown exponentially (hqp.fr) .

Dickens World, a $121 million indoor theme park, opens this month in the town of Chatham, an hour southeast of London. Guests can walk cobblestoned streets, take in a Victorian burlesque show, and meet characters from Charles Dickens's books, like Scrooge and the Artful Dodger (dickensworld.co.uk, $25).

High-speed Internet access is available free in all Radisson Hotels and Resorts throughout Latin America.

Spirit Airlines now allows only one checked bag at no charge; a second piece of luggage costs $10, and a third costs another $100 .

Silverjet is the latest all-business-class transatlantic carrier, flying between Newark, N.J., and London Luton, and Zoom is a low-fare carrier hoping to begin service in June between New York JFK and London Gatwick .

In more than half of the states in the U.S., you can find out about current traffic info by calling 511 .

Tour specialist Globus is expanding its religion-themed vacations, with new trips such as Lourdes & Shrines of France; Journey Through the Bible, which visits Egypt and Jordan; and Christian England & the World of C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia (left) .

After a recent episode left American Airlines passengers stuck on a plane in Austin, Tex., for nine hours with clogged toilets and minimal food, a grassroots campaign to pass a Passengers' Bill of Rights is under way; to find out more, go to strandedpassengers.blogspot.com.

ExpressJet, known mostly as a feeder airline for Continental, is launching service to airports that major carriers tend to neglect, like Omaha; Spokane, Wash.; Kansas City, Mo.; and Albuquerque, N.M.

A new feature at Delta.com lets frequent-flier members use an online calendar to find and book reward-program seats.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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