Opulent rail travel has come back into our minds in recent times with film and TV shows releases. Even Michael Portillo with his pastel coloured trousers, clutching a copy of Bradshaw’s 1913 railway guide of Europe, has given us inspiration to travel and explore by rail. Filled with adventure, mystery and romance, trains have long appealed to the discerning traveller with a sense of adventure. Step on board as we take a sneak view of some of the ultimate rail journeys that can make that memorable holiday.
At 308 miles long, you’ll have plenty of time to look out for a troll or two whilst travelling into the snowy mountains of Norway. The famous Oslo to Bergen train connects the country’s two largest cities and also prides itself in being the highest railway line in Northern Europe when it reaches the dizzying heights of 4,058 feet above sea level as it crosses the Hardangervidda plateau.
Not only will this four hour long railway line from Chur and St Moritz in Switzerland to Turin in Italy take you on an adventure through the alpine landscapes but you’ll also travel through a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From snow-capped mountains and glaciers to dramatic waterfalls and palm trees, the 90 mile long journey covers 55 tunnels and 196 bridges on its journey from Switzerland to Italy.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway a.k.a The Toy Train
It might not be the height of luxury travel but it’s certainly one of the most thrilling. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as the Toy Train, is only two feet wide and runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in the Himalayan foot hills. This tiny train runs along a 53 mile track and peaks at 7,218 feet high when it reaches Darjeeling. With its track up in the clouds and an explosion of colour and excitement along the way, you won’t regret buying the £16 first class ticket for the Toy Train.
Venice Simplon Orient Express
Step back in time to the roaring twenties with a trip on board the exquisite Art Deco style Orient Express. Originally running between Paris and Istanbul, the train now runs various routes including the destinations of Berlin, Prague, London, Vienna and Venice where you’ll witness everything from snow topped mountains to palm tree lined streets. The Venice Simplon-Orient Orient Express is as authentic as they come and still uses the original cars from the 1920s.
The Rocky Mountaineer
Look out for bears, coyotes and wolves as you travel the on the multi-award winning Rocky Mountaineer train through the Canadian Rocky Mountains. With various routes on offer, the Circle journeys will let you witness the dramatic mountainous landscapes of Canada so you won’t miss a thing. Go the extra mile and book the Gold Leaf seats which gives travellers spectacular views of the scenery by offering full length windows and a glass domed roof.
The legendary Trans-Siberian Express is the longest railway line in the world and probably one of the most famous. Built between 1891 and 1916 it spans eight time zones from Moscow to Vladivostok over the course of 15 days. But the most popular journey is Moscow to Beijing an ultimate rail journey that travels through the wilderness of Siberia and the Asian Steppes of Mongolia.
The Rovos Rail offers fine service, luxury accommodation, and amazing scenery through the African wilderness. Step aboard the restored classic wood-panelled coaches and enjoy the most luxurious journey through Africa you’ll ever experience. Established in 1989, the Rovos Rail company provides of the finest luxury train journeys in the Southern Hemisphere. And covers some of Africa’s greatest destinations such as Victoria Falls, Cape Town, Namibia, and Dar es Salaam.
The Ghan train was named after the hardy Afghans and their camel trains, which, in the early pioneer days, provided the only means of transport into the unforgiving Red Centre. Today, The Ghan offers an incomparable way to travel to the two jewels of the Northern Territory: the barren Red Centre and the tropical Top End. The train offers comfortable overnight accommodation with the Gold Service twin cabins having an en suite bathroom and a three-seat lounger that converts into upper and lower sleeping berths. In the evening, while you dine in the restaurant, your cabin will be converted into a bedroom. In the morning, the bed will be put away during breakfast and the cabin returned to normal. Gold service includes breakfast, lunch and dinner served in the Queen Adelaide restaurant; access to the Outback Explorer lounge car; selected drinks throughout the journey; bedding; towels;…