The most awe-inspiring train journeys you can take

How many of these train journeys have you taken?

Awe-inspiring train journeys

Never has the saying ‘always take the scenic route’ been so true as when it comes to train travel. As the magic and prestige of airline travel continue to diminish, travelling by train looks more and more appealing.

With airports often far away from cities and increasingly precious time wasters, travelling by train allows you to see parts of the countryside or world you wouldn’t otherwise experience. There’s proof that the journey is as important as the destination, with the following 10 of the most spectacular journeys in the world:

  1. The Trans-Siberian Railway, Moscow to China
  2. The Rocky Mountaineer, Vancouver to Banff
  3. Tokyo Shinkansen, Tokyo to Kyoto
  4. The Indian Pacific, Sydney to Perth
  5. Belmond Hiram Bingham, Cusco to Machu Picchu (image credit:
  6. Rovos Rail’s Namibia Safari, Pretoria to Namibia
  7. Glacier Express, Zermatt to St Mortiz
  8. Thailand’s Death Railway, Bangkok to Nam Tok (image credit:
  9. Tren a las Nubes (Train to the Clouds), Salta to Polvorilla, Argentina (image credit: Opportunities Today)
  10.  Maharajas Express, Delhi to Jaipur (image credit:

How many of these train trips have you been on? Do you have another one to add to the list?



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    29th Apr 2017
    I made the journey from Adelaide to Merredin on the Indian Pacific in 2002. We had flown there for a family event, and decided to try the train for the experience. In my opinion it was the most awful travel experience I have ever had. Long, tedious, no way of knowing where we were in that long journey. Being put into sidings for an hour or more to allow freight trains to pass. Broken seat tables. Broken locks on toilets. Uncomfortable seats. Rude staff. "Entertainment" was provided sometimes, in the form of black and white pre-1940 films. Generally just grubby. I could go on, and on, but then it would be like that journey - tedious. (I was in "sit ups", not in the cabins - they might be more comfortable).
    29th Apr 2017
    I travelled on the Indian Pacific in the late 1990s and early 2000s and thoroughly enjoyed the trip and the scenery. I treated myself to first class each time, as I hadn't had a holiday for well over 20 years, the food was excellent and the cabins were clean and well maintained. I wish I could make the trip again but it isn't possible at this time.
    I haven't tried long distance travel in sit up seats, except one trip to Melbourne and was most uncomfortable especially when having to get out of the train at Albury and switch to a bus for some reason.
    29th Apr 2017
    I'm sorry you had such a terrible trip on the Indian Pacific. Perhaps you would have been more comfortable in a cabin. It's a long trip to be sitting up all the way.

    We are planning on doing the Ghan journey in a year or two. It runs from Adelaide to Darwin or vice versa and sounds pretty good.
    29th Apr 2017
    We enjoyed an excellent train journey along the west coast of California. The Surfliner travels from San Diego to Los Angeles and then the Coast Starlight goes from LA to Seattle. We did two trips, one from LA to San Diego, and the other from LA to San Francisco. Both trips were very scenic following the coast for the majority of the way. The trains were clean and comfortable. I would recommend them both.
    29th Apr 2017
    Indian Pacific BORING, TIRESOME and DULL. Ghan. Great with off train experiences and goof food. The Sunlander in Queensland GREAT with superb meals and extremely comfortable accommodation until a few years ago when our brilliant guvvy updated all the carriages and promptly withdrew the entire train from service never to be seen again. Replaced by a tarted up tilt train Bris to Cairns. Horrible food, extraordinarily uncomfortable 'railbeds' that converted seats designed for people with extraordinary bodily proportions into just passable sofa style sleeping accommodation with NO PRIVACY not even a curtain to shut you off from your neighbours. They turned rail travel into a joke. Just like we saw in 'Some Like it Hot'; if you are old enough to recall that particular movie. If you want a tourist train in Qld you are now stuck with the Longreach overnighter. Funny but comfortable sleepers grade two food but cheerful service and superb views from all windows.Otherwise ... try flying, it's all over in an hour or two.
    29th Apr 2017
    The California Zephyr is a fantastic trip with Amtrak. The sleeper was very comfortable and the food and company great. It runs from San Fransisco to Chicago through the Donner Pass and down onto the plains following the Colorado River. I spent 4th of July in San Fransisco and it was terrific. Would have been too busy for a first trip there though. The four day trip put me in Chicago for the Taste of Chicago Food and Music festival in Grant Park. This is a brilliant City. Stay at the Hotel Chicago for free entry into The House of Blues. Taste of Chicago starts around the 9th July each year.

    I've taken sleeper trains from Chicago to New Orleans then onto San Antonio, St Louis and Albuquerque. From there you can drive Santa Fe and the Canyons.

    Amtrak trips are very good. The cabins are a bit bigger than Southern Rail.

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