Top 10 train journeys

The World Today Published 8 February 2013 Updated 7 December 2018 1 minute READ
Photo: Getty Images/Age Fotostock RM

Photo: Getty Images/Age Fotostock RM

Davos, Switzerland – Tirano, Italy

At 20km per hour, the Bernina Express navigates 196 bridges, 55 mountain tunnels and climbs to 2253 metres over the Albula pass to St. Moritz.

Journey time: 4 hours

From £56 one way

Pretoria – Cape Town, South Africa

The Blue Train, with its marble-tiled, gold-plumbed bathrooms and personal butlers, goes past sunflower farms, waterfalls, desert and diamond mines

Journey time: 27 hours

From £886 one way

Adelaide – Darwin, Australia

Named after the Afghan camel trains that pioneered routes through the outback, the Ghan travels 2,980 kilometres across desert, vineyards, mountains and gorges.

Journey time: 50 hours

From £1,020

Cuzco – Machu Picchu, Peru

Along the 80km route you plunge from one of the world’s highest cities into the sacred valley and then follow the Urubamba river along the canyon. You can slum it on the backpacker train, or take the Hiram Bingham, a copy of the 1920s Pullman carriages with fine dining.

Backpacker journey time: 80 minutes. From £22.50

Hiram Bingham journey time: 12 hours. From £240 one way

Seattle – Los Angeles, USA

The double-decker Coast Starlight offers views across the West Coast’s spectacular scenery, while dishing up gourmet meals.

Journey time: 35 hours

From £80

Beijing – Lhasa, Tibet

The Lhasa Express climbs 5,000 metres on its 4,064-km trek, and temperatures plummet so drastically that the water in the lavatories is heated to stop it freezing. The world’s highest track, with much of it lain over permafrost.

Journey time: 47 hours

From £30

Glasgow – Mallaig, Scotland

The train goes along Loch Lomond’s banks and Ben Nevis before crossing the 30-metre high viaduct that the Hogwart’s Express made famous anew. Rannoch Moor is so inhospitable that no roads cross it and track had to be balanced on tree roots, earth and ashes.

Journey time: 5 hours 15 minutes

From £15.70 one way

Siliguri – Darjeeling, India

The steam train chugs along this line that is now a World Heritage Site. Views en route are of the Himalayas, tea gardens, teak forests and the world’s third highest peak, Kanchenjunga.

Journey time: 7 hours

From £40 1st class

Bangkok, Thailand – Singapore

The Eastern & Oriental Express travels through Bangkok to Malaysia before crossing the causeway over the Straits of Johor to Singapore. The train has cherry wood-panelled cabins with a veranda-style observation deck.

Journey time: 3 nights

From £1,560

Rocky Mountains, Canada

There are three routes: Kicking Horse, Yellowhead and Fraser Discovery. Dome-car day trains, hotels at night.

Journey time: 11 days

From £570