Classic Train Journeys

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Travel Features >> Classic Train Journeys

Classic Train Journeys

August 18, 2011

There is a certain aura about a train journey. Yes, a train journey may not be the fastest way of getting from one place to another, but it definitely is a more interesting way of reaching your destination. On the way, take in the beautiful scenery, experience the local culture of the places you pass by and relax as you do so. As a character in the film ‘Some Like it Hot’ remarked – ‘this is the only way to travel’. So take a train journey and find out if he was right.

The Ghan, Australia
When in Australia, take the classic Ghan Train from Adelaide right across the Outback passing Alice Springs and into Darwin. A short form of the Afghan Express, the Ghan is pulled by a red locomotive and is an epic journey lasting over 50 hours. With 3 classes of cabins to choose from – the Red, Gold and Platinum Kangaroo, it is no secret that this train journey is not a luxurious service oriented one. But it is comfortable and for those looking to experience a sense of history and travel across a landscape so different from anything one has ever seen. Be sure to pack light as only hand baggage is permitted on board and get set to experience a train journey like no other!

Palace on Wheels, Rajasthan, India
Take a trip on the Palace on Wheels train from Delhi around the colourful state of Rajasthan to experience a regal journey through this fabled land of the Maharajas of yesteryears. A luxuriously outfitted train aesthetically fitted with modern amenities, a well stocked bar to have sundowner in, two dining cars to sample sumptuous meals and impeccable personalized service to make you feel like royalty. A wonderful seven day journey that transports you to a majestic era gone by, a trip on the Palace on Wheels is sure to make you feel like a king if only for those seven days!

Blue Train,South Africa
The name Blue Train is synonymous with luxury on wheels and is a veritable five star experience. The Blue Train runs on the Pretoria - Cape Town route and has extremely comfortable suites equipped with all modern amenities, elegant lounges, fine dining restaurants aboard and a highly personalized service which is the hallmark of this journey. It is a 27 hour long journey and takes you through some of the most stunning scenic beauty of the country. A journey of a lifetime, awaits you on the Blue Train!

The Glacier Express, Switzerland
Ride the Glacier Express in Switzerland from St Moritz to Zermatt, cross 91 tunnels and 291 bridges amidst stunning sceneries, snow capped mountains rolling green meadows and a profusion of flowers. It is a day journey in coaches that are almost all glass, so as to afford you glorious panoramic views and takes a little over seven hours. Though there are faster means of doing this trip between the two resorts, you would be wise not to let an opportunity to take Glacier express pass you by. And yes, though it is known as an express train, it is the slowest express train there is. A trip on the Glacier Express is all about the journey!

Venice Simplon Orient Express, London to Venice
As the website of the Venice Simplon Orient Express puts it – ‘a journey on the Venice Simplon Orient Express is a journey into another world’. And how true that is. When you step aboard this train you enter a world of romance, adventure and excitement. The train runs the route from London to Venice and offers untold luxurious cabins and gastronomic feats in Lalique decorated dining cars transporting you into the world of Hercule Poirot. But today there are no plots here to unfold, just a journey that promises a very fine travel experience.

Rocky Mountaineer, Canada
A journey aboard the Rocky Mountaineer is a feast for your eyes. Following the route into the Canadian Rockies from Vancouver to Banff and Calgary and another that takes a diversion into Jasper, the train criss-crosses the land affording magnificent views of soaring pine clad mountains and pristine lakes. The last word in comfort, the train is equipped with all modern amenities, has a Gold Leaf service and provides gastronomic cuisines. Definitely, the way to experience the awesome Canadian Rockies!

Tran Siberian Russia to China
The Golden Eagle Train is arguably an epic one. Starting at Moscow and traversing the Urals and crossing the Russian steppes, stopping at Yekaterinburg and Irkutsk, skirting the world largest fresh water Lake Baikal before taking a detour into Mongolia. The train continues to Vladivostok before returning to Moscow, taking a full two weeks to complete this very interesting itinerary. It’s a once in lifetime journey and will stay with you long after the trip is over.

Royal Scotsmen, Scotland
Traverse the Scottish Highlands, pass by shimmering still lochs, cross the Tay Bridge to Edinburgh, Dundee and Inverness. Choose from a variety of itineraries and experience extremely high standards of service aboard this luxuriously furnished train that carries a maximum of 36 passengers on each journey. And along the way take a tour of whiskey distillery or a tour conducted by a local laird to an authentic Scottish castle. A trip on the Royal Scotsmen is indeed a journey unequalled.

Rovos Rail, Pride of Africa, South Africa
Touted as the most luxurious train journey in the world Rovos Rail’s Pride of Africa certainly puts the romance back into travel. Carrying only 72 passengers in 36 impeccably furnished suites in the Edwardian style takes you back into another era. A 14-day trip between Cape Town and Dar es Salaam spanning Zimbabwe and the Victoria Falls, traversing the diamond mines at Kimberley and through the Great Rift Valley, it is surely a journey of a lifetime – with every day bringing a new experience.

Lhasa Express,China – Tibet
Journey to Tibet on the highest railway line in the world. The rail track of the Lhasa Express runs at 13,000 ft above sea level for 80% of the trip from Tibet to Beijing via Xining and passes through rugged mountains, deep valleys and unforgiving terrain that you would never have viewed before. The rail track is a marvelous feat of engineering and the 48 hour journey, a thrilling one. On the steep climb to Lhasa oxygen is released in the cabins and if you are still a little light headed personal oxygen canisters are provided. The journey on the Lhasa Express to the Roof of the World is indeed a unique and a once in lifetime experience!

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