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World 10 Best Train Journeys
Train journeys through the ages have been the most luxurious and extravagant way to see the world. The golden age of train travel may have passed, but some spectacular journeys remain in the most scenic parts of the world.
The benchmark by which all other journeys are measured is the Orient Express, viewed as the standard for luxury travel. The Venice Simplon journey is the best of the range available on the famous trains, travelling through the French, Swiss, and Austrian countryside in the lap of luxury.
While the Orient Express demands guests are well-heeled and smart, the 1,200 mile Magic of the Orient can be done in luxury without having to dress up for it. The train meanders its way through tropical countryside between Singapore and Bangkok, and treats guests to fine cuisine, piano-side sing-alongs, and top-class service.
Another classic train ride is the Trans-Siberian Railway, a 6,000 mile trundle through Russia which crosses seven time zones. This is a vintage train journey with well-fitted first class carriages, a dining cart, and on-board private chef.
The Royal Scotsman is perhaps another favourite from the bucket list, an exclusive journey in private mahogany Edwardian state cabins. Each of the 36 passengers enjoy armchairs and sofas, and the dining room can resemble a moving gentleman’s club. The four-night tour of the Scottish Highlands takes in spectacular views of lochs, waterfalls, mountains, and glens, with stops at a castle, a smokehouse, a distillery and a trip to Skye.
If luxury is your choice, consider the Palace on Wheels in Rajasthan, India, in a train resplendently decked out and lavishly furnished. Guests are treated to an elephant welcome in Jaipur, and treats along the way include lunch at the Lake Palace in Udaipur, a camel safari near Jaisalmer and an afternoon at the TajMahal.
The Glacier Express in Switzerland is another luxury option, pulling its guests up to the ski resort of St Moritz. The journey is an adventure through bridges, rivers, and gorges, all in lavishly upholstered surroundings. On the flip side, the Copper Canyon Railway in Mexico has none of the pampering and luxury. It is however a journey like no other through stunning scenery along the Pacific coast, the Sierra Madre and the Sonora Desert.
One of the newest on the list is the Great South Pacific Express, zipping between Sydney and Cairns with an overnight stay in Brisbane. This is more than a train ride though, including a helicopter trip to the Barrier Reef and snorkelling with marine life in the deep blue sea.
The Shinkansen in Japan is an unashamedly modern experience on a Silver Bullet train, shooting between Tokyo and Kyoto in just two hours and 10 minutes. This train used to stake a claim as the fastest in the world, and the sheer exhilaration of being on board makers it worthwhile.
Finally, the Blue Train in South Africa is the peak of indulgence, with ultra-modern facilities and 27 for just 84 passengers. The train takes in stunning scenery between Pretoria and Cape Town, including spectacular views of Table Mountain.