Magnificent 7 websites for……great train journeys

The allure of train journeys is undeniable. There’s something intoxicating about speeding through landscapes as life unfolds outside the window. In today’s frenzied world, rail journeys bring to mind the romance and sense of adventure of a bygone era, whether you travel on a luxury line or opt for a less expensive route

Whether notable for their dramatic views, luxurious surroundings or sheer speed, we’ve highlighted what NMTBP consider to be the Magnificent 7 of the most exciting train journeys in the world

Trans-Siberian Railway: Russia

The fabled Trans-Siberian Railway, once hailed as the “fairest jewel  in the crown of the Tsars”, is one of the world’s most famous train journeys. There are various routes, including the Trans-Manchurian or Trans-Mongolian, both of which take you from Moscow to Beijing. Or you can travel from Moscow to the stunning Pacific port of Vladivostok, an epic journey that crosses seven time zones and spans about a third of the globe. All routes take you through some of Russia’s most spectacular scenery including soaring mountains, picturesque villages and, of course, the Siberian tundra

The Canadian: Canada

The Canadian is renowned for being one of the world’s legendary railway journeys. Over five days it winds its way between Canada’s largest city, Toronto, and the lovely Pacific city of Vancouver. This trans-continental journey encompasses the lake-studded forests of western Ontario, the flat and seemingly endless wheat belt of the great Canadian Prairies and the breathtaking splendour of the Rocky Mountains

This is a journey for those who like to relax, socialise with their fellow passengers, read and fully appreciate the sheer size and scale of  this diverse country. A variety of compact cabins are available on board with all meals included. The Canadian also has a bar and a domed observation lounge for the best views of the breathtaking scenery

Old Patagonia Express: Argentina

The Old Patagonian Express, in southern Argentina, gives travellers  the sense of being at the end of the world. Better known as “La Trochita”, the historic rambler travels at only 45 km/hr from the majestic city of Esquel to Ingeniero, passing through towns and villages so small they are not even a dot on the map. Peer through the small wooden windows of your cabin (circa 1920) to take in the valleys and plateaus of mystic Patagonia and the Chilean Andes.

The Blue Train is so yesterday - for REAL luxury, Rovos Rail offers old-world comfort and elegance on a number of routes in Africa. The two night trip from Pretoria to Cape Town starts at Rovos’ private station where passengers enjoy champagne and canapés while the owner Mr Rohan Vos introduces himself and explains the history and concept behind this captivating company. On-board, the beautifully restored carriages, lounges, restaurant cars and en suite cabins hark back to the 1920s and just ooze sophistication. The food served is sublime and the observation carriages, which include an open-air version at the rear of the train, provide excellent opportunities for enjoying the passing scenery.

Sweeping out of the city the train meanders across the semi-desert Karoo before reaching the beautiful Winelands, stopping at Kimberley’s Hole, where the diamond rush started, and Matjiesfontein, a town which appears frozen in time. From the opulent surroundings and fabulous hospitality on-board, to the incredible scenery in parts of the country that most people miss, this trip will leave you with many happy memories

The Chronicles of Southeast Asia: Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand

The Eastern & Oriental Express has added four unique rail journeys dubbed ‘The Chronicles of Southeast Asia’ to its schedule. Two six night journeys make their way between Singapore and Bangkok via the Andaman
Sea in southern Thailand and the enigmatic Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. Another six night journey starts and ends in Bangkok and explores the remote Isaan region of Thailand from Bangkok ending in Chiang Mai, whilst a fourth, three night journey heads north from Bangkok across the majestic Mekong River into Laos

The Chronicles take guests on journeys of discovery and provide a fascinating insight into the region. All of the journeys include stops which allow for experiences such as exploring villages, speaking to locals, taking guided hikes and even participating in ceremonies. The experience starts as soon as you arrive at the station and are shown on board by your personal steward. Exquisite food, aperitifs in the bar whilst listening to the resident pianist, and cabins styled in wood panelling and burnished brass encapsulate a bygone era of train travel at its most luxurious

Palace on Wheels: India

The Palace on Wheels is a unique and memorable experience reminiscent of  travel during the days of the Raj. Over seven days this luxurious train  winds it way through Rajasthan visiting highlights such as Jaipur, also  known as the ‘Pink City’, famous for its magnificent Amber Palace; Jaisalmer, the golden city in the desert, Ranthambhore National Park, one of the best places to view tigers in the wild, and Udaipur, finishing its journey at the renowned Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world. A ”Khidmatgar’ or personal attendant is present in each of the luxury carriages to attend to your every need and there are two lavish restaurants serving continental and Indian specialities, with an emphasis on the cuisine of Rajasthan

The Ghan: Australia

The Ghan completed its first journey from Adelaide through the ruggedly beautiful Red Centre to Darwin in 2003, reviving a dream born in the colonial era. It follows the trail blazed by the early explorers and Afghan ‘cameleers’ who tirelessly supplied the Overland Telegraph stations ensuring that the remote Outback and Red Centre kept in touch with the rest of the world

The 1,850 mile two-night journey through the heart of Australia begins in Adelaide and proceeds to the Flinders Ranges before crossing the Simpson Desert and reaching Alice Springs in the Red Centre. The newest stretch of line heads across Australia’s arid heartland to Katherine, famous for its stunning gorges, before tracking through the lush tropical scenery of the Top End

A twice weekly service operates the overnight journey between Adelaide and Darwin, while Adelaide to Alice Springs runs weekly. Guests  boarding in Adelaide can connect with incoming train services from both Sydney and Melbourne

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