Top 10 most beautiful train routes in the world
Top 10 most beautiful train routes in the world

There’s nothing more romantic than a train ride in a foreign country. You don’t have to watch the traffic, you’re not squeezed into a car with your tent-poles & pegs, you don’t have to walk into the bushes with a glamorous roll of toilet paper, all you hear is the uninterrupted, ritmic sound of the wagons, you enjoy top of the notch dinners, sleep in a four-poster bed, while the train takes you through one impressive landscape after the other.

Of course, not all train journeys are created equal, but these will have you staring out the window in awe. Read on fortop 10 most beautiful train routes in the world.

List of top 10 most beautiful train routes in the world

10. Kuranda Scenic Railway

9. The Flåm Line

8. Grand Canyon National Railway

7. Napa Valley Wine Train

6. Hiram Bingham Orient Express

5. The Maharajas’ Express

4. The Rocky Mountaineer

3. The Orient Express

2. Pacific Surfliner

1. Nevada Northern Railway

What are the most beautiful train routes in the world?

10. Kuranda Scenic Railway

Photo: 123RF
Photo: 123RF

Far North Queensland’s World Heritage-Listed rainforest, the Wet Tropics, are amongst the oldest on earth and home to an incredible array of plants and animals. Twelve hundred species of flowering plants, eight hundred different rainforest trees, spectacular orchids, strangler figs, exotic palms and hundreds of unique creatures inhabit this lush green world.

Now imagine all that natural wonder so close that you can almost touch it, your senses alive with the heady organic fragrance and untamed sounds of the dense rainforest. That’s what it’s like aboard Kuranda Scenic Railway, as you unwind your way through a tropical paradise framed by rugged mountains with waterfalls tumbling forever into deep ravines.

Being one with the rainforest as you undertake an unforgettable journey makes Kuranda Scenic Railway a must-do experience.

Rising from sea level to 328m, the journey to Kuranda passes spectacular waterfalls and into the stunning Barron Gorge. Meandering through picturesque scenery, you travel through 15 handmade tunnels and across 37 towering bridges that stand as a monument to the pioneers of the north.

Being one with the rainforest as you undertake an unforgettable journey is what makes Kuranda Scenic Railway such a must-do experience.

9. The Flåm Line

Photo: Fjord Norway
Photo: Fjord Norway

The Flåm Railway has been described as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world and is one of the leading tourist attractions in Norway. The train runs from the end of Aurlandsfjord, a tributary of the Sognefjord, up to the high mountains at Myrdal station.

The train runs from the end of Aurlandsfjord, a tributary of the Sognefjord, up to the high mountains at Myrdal station. The journey features the finest aspects of the stunning scenery of Western Norway.

Over the course of one hour, the train takes you from sea level at the Sognefjord in Flåm to the Myrdal mountain station, situated at 867 metres above sea level. Myrdal is also a station on the Bergen Line, meaning the Flåm Railway connects with trains running between Bergen and Oslo.

The Flåm Railway is one of the steepest standard gauge railway lines in the world, with 80% of the journey running on a gradient of 5.5%. The train runs through spectacular scenery, alongside the Rallar Road, vertiginous mountainsides, foaming waterfalls, through 20 tunnels, and offers so many viewpoints that, for many people, a single trip up and down is not enough.

8. Grand Canyon National Railway

Photo: Grand Canyon Destinations
Photo: Grand Canyon Destinations

The Grand Canyon Railway (reporting mark GCRX), is a heritage railroad which carries passengers between Williams, Arizona and the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

The 64-mile (103-kilometer) railroad, built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, was completed on September 17, 1901. The arrival of trains led increased tourism to the area, and the railway company was instrumental in the creation of the Grand Canyon Village to serve guests. Declining ridership due to the popularity of the automobile led the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway to cease passenger service of the Grand Canyon Railway in July 1968 and freight service on the line ended in 1974.

Private investors purchased the line in 1988, restored the facilities, and started running passenger trains again on September 17, 1989. Today, the railroad carries hundreds of passengers to and from the canyon every day and operates year-round.

The entire Grand Canyon Railway has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, recognizing the contribution the train has made to the history of the United States.

7. Napa Valley Wine Train

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

A luxuriously vintage experience. Elegant 100-year-old railcars. A historic 150-year-old rail corridor. The Wine Train preserves a piece of Napa Valley history and proudly continues railroading traditions that are disappearing from the American landscape. The railroad that once transported visitors to a spa resort in Calistoga now brings guests from around the world on a 36-mile round-trip discovery to St. Helena and back, stopping at celebrated Napa Valley wineries along the way.

6. Hiram Bingham Orient Express

Photo: Belmond
Photo: Belmond

Belmond Hiram Bingham is a luxury train operating day return trips from Poroy station outside Cusco to Aguas Calientes, the station for Machu Picchu in Peru.

The train, named after Hiram Bingham, who rediscovered the largely forgotten Inca city of Machu Picchu, travels from the high Andes down the Sacred Valley, and for much of the journey it runs alongside the Urubamba River.

The train consists of two dining cars, a bar car and an observation car with an open deck. Passengers have brunch on the outbound journey and dinner on the return. Passengers can sample the local Peruvian pisco drink in the bar car and there is a live local band on board.

Belmond Hiram Bingham was launched in 1999 by Lorenzo Sousa owner and President of Peru Rail SA jointly with Orient-Express Hotels, when the company began operating PeruRail services in a 50:50 venture with Peruvian Trains and Railways, and three hotels (now increased to six 2017) in Peru.

5. The Maharajas’ Express

Photo: Luxe Digital
Photo: Luxe Digital

India needs no explanation, as the wonderful panoramas, breathtakingly romantic buildings, rich cultures, sites and sounds are known to all. But to travel in the luxury of the Maharajas Express through these beautiful visions evoke a wealth of feelings and delights.

The Maharajas Express takes one back to an elegance of a bygone era, whilst maintaining all the modern comforts that can cater for 88 passengers. The pneumatic and hydraulic suspension systems ensure a smoother train ride.

Along with exquisite, comfortable dining and lounge cars, there are luxurious cabin choices of Deluxe, Junior Suite, Suite, Presidential Suite on the Maharajas Express. They all have large panoramic windows. The 24-hour valet service ensures that passengers have a comfortable experience, from having drinks brought to their cabins through to preparing cabins for the night.

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4. The Rocky Mountaineer

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Rocky Mountaineer offers a variety of Canadian vacation packages with three unique rail routes. This world-renowned, luxury train travels by daylight through the wild beauty of Canada's West and is the best way to experience the majestic Canadian Rockies. Enjoy world-class destinations in British Columbia and Alberta such as Vancouver, Whistler, Jasper, Banff, Lake Louise, and Calgary. Guests travel onboard in a domed rail coach, enjoy impeccable service and storytelling by Hosts, and dine on gourmet hot meals and non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages throughout their rail journey.

3. The Orient Express

Photo: Time Out
Photo: Time Out

On October 4th, 1883, the most luxurious train in the world left the Gare de l’Est. It linked Paris to Constantinople in less than 76 hours, marking the success of an incredible technological challenge. A veritable “rolling palace”, the Orient-Express showed travelers the splendor of its decor: precious wood marquetry, glass panels, fabrics, refined leather and pillows and bedding that guaranteed a good night’s rest. Not to mention a visit to the restaurant for an incredible gastronomic experience.

Today, on board seven fully restored historic cars, Orient Express has brought its legend to life. From tea-time in the lounge car to the grand luxury of the restaurant car, from the refined cuisine to the cocktail piano in the bar car, each on-board evokes all the wonder of the past. Nothing has changed.

2. Pacific Surfliner

Photo: Pacific Surfiner
Photo: Pacific Surfliner

The Pacific Surfliner Amtrak trains travel along the Southern Californian coast, and provide convenient service between between Los Angeles and San Diego. There are stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and stops at many beach and wine communities — you can even bring surfboards and bikes on the train to enjoy the great outdoors at your final destination.

1. Nevada Northern Railway

Photo: Los Angeles Times
Photo: Los Angeles Times

The Nevada Northern Railway (reporting mark NN) was a railroad in the U.S. state of Nevada, built primarily to reach a major copper producing area in White Pine County, Nevada. The railway, constructed in 1905-06, extended northward about 140 miles (230 km) from Ely to connections with the Western Pacific Railroad at Shafter and Southern Pacific Railroad at Cobre. In 1967 NN reported 40 million net ton-miles of revenue freight on 162 miles (261 km) of line.

The remainder of the Nevada Northern has largely been moribund since 1983. In 1987, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power purchased the Cobre-East Ely line, in anticipation of the construction of a coal-fired generating plant along the route, which was never constructed. Meanwhile, the 1990s saw a brief resumption of copper mining near Ruth, this time by Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP). This project saw the construction of additional trackage near Ruth, and the resumption of service from there as far as Shafter by the BHP Nevada Railroad in 1996. Both the mine and railroad shut down again in 1999, and when mining resumed in 2004 concentrates were hauled by truck rather than by rail.

The disused line between Ely and Cobre was acquired by the city of Ely in 2006. Plans near 2008 by Sierra Pacific Resources for the construction of the Ely Energy Center, a 2,500 megawatt coal-fired generating plant in the Ely vicinity rose the possibility that the railroad may have seen another revival, carrying inbound loads of coal to White Pine County. Since then those plans have stalled; however, the Nevada Northern Railway Museum and Ely have considered other options to possibly restore the entire mainline route for heritage use.

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