Train journeys always evoke nostalgic memories and flood us with memories of the 19th and 20th century, when travelling in the steam engine driven train across the continents was the trend. The constant chugging, rattling and whistling still reminds us of the old times when trains formed a key part of travel around the world before the advent of commercial airline industry. The traditional trains run by steam engines have become obsolete and in some places, abandoned.
However, all is not lost! You can still experience the timeless rail journeys just like your ancestors did in the bygone eras. Check out the last few iconic train journeys which you must experience before they changed or disappeared.
Glacier Express, Switzerland
Route: Zermatt to St. Moritz
Switzerland is renowned for its punctuality and quality of its trains but when it comes to the Glacier Express, all words of praises are insufficient to describe the seven hour journey from Zermatt to St. Moritz. Striking natural landscape comprising the lofty craggy Alps, pine filled slopes and beautiful green meadows filled with yellow sunflowers, makes it a journey of lifelong memories.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, USA
Route: Durnago to Silverton, Colorado State
10,000 gallons of water and 6 tons of coals have kept alive the 130 years old Durango & Silverton railroad in the US state of Colorado, ensuring the circa-1882 steam engine and locomotive from 1920s still chugs with pride. The train has become immortal after featuring in the 1969 movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Hiram Bingham Orient-Express, Peru
Route: Cusco to Machu Picchu
Peru has a tinge of mysticism with colonial cities and hidden Inca sites and imagine traversing the country with the famous, luxurious Hiram Bingham Orient-Express which plies between the colonial city of Cusco and the majestic ruins of Machu Picchu! Delicious brunch and a four course dinner is part of the package which further adds to the charm of this timeless rail journey.
Tranzalpine, New Zealand
Route: Christchurch to Greymouth
New Zealand is blessed with unparalleled scenic beauty which can be best admired with a highly adorable and charming train journey. The four and half hour Tranzalpine journey will offer you the glimpse of the stunning green meadows and farms of Canterbury, beautiful rivers, viaducts and tunnels and finally the fast stretch of dramatic alpine scenery.
Talyllyn Railway, Wales
Route: Tywyn to Nant Gwernol
Wales is beautiful and has a rich heritage of steam engines and narrow gauge lines which are a part of its repertoire. A 13.5 kilometre journey at a speed of 13 Kmph may not match the speed quotient but is surely romantic as you pass through the beautiful and pristine Welsh countryside.
Rocky Mountaineer, Canada
Route: Banff to Vancouver
The two day rail journey from the beautiful resort town of Banff to the cosmopolitan city of Vancouver across the stunning Rocky Mountains in the stylish Rocky Mountaineer is one of the most in-demand highlights of Canada. Feasting on the delicious breakfasts and lunches on board while admiring the stunning natural beauty, makes it one of the most scenic train journeys.
The Grand Canyon Railway, USA
Route: Williams, Arizona to Grand Canyon National Park
What could be the better way to explore the incredible and vast expanse of Grand Canyon than the historic Grand Canyon Railway? The round trip which features 1923’s Pullman’s vintage coaches and the observations coaches from 1950s surely offer a glimpse into the different layers of history and development of this region during its 2 hour-15 minute one-way ride.
The Royal Scotsman, Scotland
Route: Edinburgh, Highlands
The Royal Scotsman is epic in proportion. The train starts from Edinburgh and during its multi-day journey, traverses the famous Scottish highlands, glens, forests, green valleys, streams, castles, etc. The interiors are striking too as the period furniture designed in rich, plush woodwork and diners richly decorated with a very noble ambience and formal style, just like old days.
Maharajas Express, India
Route: Delhi, Rajasthan,
The Maharajas Express debuted in 2010 and since then has won plenty of accolades and has carved a reputation in Indian tourism scene which is already dominated by renowned luxury trains like Palace on Wheels, Deccan Odyssey, etc. The train takes you to the most visited destinations of India and includes the beautiful Taj Mahal of Agra, lakes and palaces of Udaipur, forts of Jaipur and the tigers of Ranthambore. The coaches are an epitome of luxury and will make you feel like a king and queen of bygone eras.
Douro Line, Portugal
Route: Porto to Pocinho
Portugal is filled with beautifully laden vineyards, fruit laden trees and sheer natural beauty from the early spring months of March to August and the circa 1887 Douro Line route is one of the best ways to admire the sheer natural beauty of Portugal’s wine producing region, rich valleys, beautiful river, historic train stations, beautiful countryside and a beautiful journey.
Denali Star, Alaska, USA
Route: Anchorage to Fairbanks
The flagship Denali Star is one of the best ways to admire the majestic beauty of the vast Alaskan natural landscape. Keep your eyes out for stunning sceneries and wildlife like grizzlies, moose and watch out for the imposing Mount McKinley all in comfort from the GoldStar double-decker dome cars.
The Ghan, Australia
Route: Adelaide to Darwin
Stepping abroad the iconic The Ghan is like stepping into the history books. For several years, The Ghan served as the lifeline between Australia’s urbane south and the critical north and in between the vast central zone with endless stretch of outback. This three-day and two-night journey is still the best way of admiring the vast Red-Centre with four hour stops in Alice Springs and Katherine, allowing plenty of sightseeing opportunities.
Napa Valley Wine Train, California, USA
Route: Napa to St. Helena
Enjoy the taste of the world renowned wine producing region of Napa Valley during a three-hour train journey through the vineyards and green valleys. You will also savour amazing wines from the region along with gastronomic delicacies while in comfort of vintage coaches and dining cars. Wine tasting and culinary specialities simply enhanced the charm of Napa Valley Wine Train.
Rhine Valley Line, Germany
Route: Mainz to Koblenz
Picture perfect beauty, stunning castles and old charming European towns and cities are all part and parcel of your magical journey from Mainz to Koblenz. The beautiful Rhine Valley and its surrounding medieval towns and cities passes by, leaving you in possession of plenty of postcard worthy memories.
Danube Express, Europe
Route: Budapest to Istanbul
Europe’s only international luxury train, the Danube Express is a journey of epic sights and scenes. You will see the contrasting and yet enriching beauty of Budapest, beautiful Transylvania countryside dotted with vampire castle and mystique forests and villages and finally the rich, oriental art and culture of Istanbul.