The romance of the train journey is as alive today as ever. Whether reading about ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ or watching Indian heroes belting out songs like ‘Meray sapnon ki rani’ along railway tracks, we grew up imagining running away on one. Trains conjure up images of magical adventures. Here are some getaways that can transport you to happiness.
1. The domed windows of Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer Train offer views of absolutely stunning scenery – mountains, rivers, canyons – from Banff to Vancouver. You even catch glimpses of wildlife like bighorn sheep, elk and bears. The Gold Leaf service includes drinks, gourmet meals and private viewing cars.
2. India’s Maharajas’ Express, introduced in 2010, is a week-long Delhi to Mumbai journey. Lodging in the Raj-inspired carriages, you’ll travel in a style as opulent as the name suggests, stopping on the way to see the Taj Mahal, Jodhpur, the Ajanta Caves and Amber Fort.
3. Russia’s Golden Eagle Train is the rich cousin of the Trans-Siberian Express, giving you a much more luxurious travel experience, which is rather like a cruise on wheels, as you’ll be stopping for daily excursions on the two-week journey from Moscow to Vladivostok. On board the restaurant carriage, you’ll be feasting on black sturgeon and red pacific salmon caviar.
4. The Blue Train takes you on a 1600 km round-trip, lasting 27 hours, from Pretoria to Cape Town and back, cutting a diagonal across South Africa. Traveling in old-world style luxury and deluxe carriages, you’ll visit the Kimberley diamond mines on the south-bound, and the Matjiesfontein colonial outpost on the northbound leg of your journey.
5. Seven carriages, 30 passengers and 14 suites – that’s the luxury train journey that is Japan’s ‘Seven Stars to Kyushi’. You can choose either the two or four day option. The carriages are a work of art – rosewood and maple walls, walnut floors, fine shoji paper window shades and etched glass sliding doors.
6. Lasting only a night, the Venice Simplon Orient Express journey will take you from Venice to London showcasing some of Europe’s most captivating landscapes. Meals are prepared from fresh produce picked up on route – lobsters from Brittany, fresh veggies from Provence and saltmarsh lamb from Mont St. Michel.