Top 10 Train Journeys
Chris’ personal picks from places in the world that he has visited.
Silverton & Durango Narrow Gauge Railway, Colorado: In the 1800’s gold and silver were hauled on the narrow-gauge tracks of this authentically restored 1880 train which sweeps past abandoned gold mines, wild forests and the untamed Animas River up into the San Juan Mountains, to the old gold mining town of Silverton.
Orient Express: This is the epitome of romantic and luxurious train travel, the stuff of Hollywood films and intrigue - the Orient Express was the name of a long-distance passenger train originally operated by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. Its route has changed many times, but today’s train still radiate opulence on rails.
Rocky Mountaineer: With four World Travel Awards for the “World’s Leading Travel Experience by Train,” this two-day, all daylight rail journey through Canada’s West and the Canadian Rockies deserves all its accolades – especially for its luxurious GoldLeaf service with its epicurean delights.
Eurostar: For the first time since the Ice Age, the Channel Tunnel joins Britain to the rest of Europe and the modern high speed Eurostar trains race between London and Paris through this 50km engineering marvel which has the longest undersea portion of any tunnel in the world. Nod off in Kent and forty winks later wake up in France!
Jungfraubahn: This rack railway runs from Kleine Scheidegg in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland to the highest station in Europe at Jungfraujoch, 11,333 feet high atop the Alps. It runs almost entirely within a tunnel built into the North Face of the Eiger and Mönch mountains and allows a summit vista otherwise reserved for serious mountaineers.
Ecuadorian Railways: Known as "the most difficult train in the world", only three sections of track remain of this incomparable, hair-raising rail system in the Andes, but the full day Quito-Cotopaxi excursion trip still serves up stunning scenery that culminates with the towering, perfectly symmetrical Cotopaxi volcano. The cost? Just $5.
VIA Rail’s “The Ocean”: Canada was made for long train journeys and “The Ocean” is a perfect example. Travel in Sleeper Touring Class and gently rock to sleep on Quebec’s south shore of the St Lawrence and wake to Chaleur Bay in all its misty, early-morning glory, crossing the Maritimes to Halifax on the Atlantic.
White Pass & Yukon Railway: History and breathtaking scenery are perfectly fused in this rail journey from Skagway, Alaska to Carcross, Yukon. The WP&YR was built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush and climbs almost 3000 feet in just 32kms, featuring steep grades, cliff-hanging turns of 16 degrees, tunnels, bridges and trestles.
Machu Picchu, Peru: Unless you hike the Inca Trail, the train from Cusco is the only way to reach mysterious Machu Picchu; the sense of anticipation on this train is palpable as you approach The Lost City of the Incas perched atop a mountain saddle above the Urubamba River.
The London Underground: Its history dates back to 1863 when the world's first underground railway opened. Today, around three and a half million journeys are made daily, on 11 lines serving 270 stations over 400kms of lines; the Tube is the iconic and most efficient way of getting around the UK capital city. Mind the doors!