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The World’s Top 25 Trains via [irtsociety.com]

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Pride of Africa

Region: Africa

Train Type: Luxury

Rovos Rail’s Pride of Africa offers an old-world elegance and
luxury to a degree that was never equaled in the 1920s. Many seasoned
IRT Society travelers consider it the world’s finest train. Celebrated
not only for its fabulous equipment, the train is rightfully proud of
its stellar dining and on-board service. In short, the entire
experience is consistent in meeting the highest luxury standards.

Pride of  <br/>Africa

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Region: Europe

Train Type: Luxury

The Venice Simplon Orient Express (VSOE), with its restored,
1920s vintage cars, is the world’s most authentic luxury train. Made
famous in the Agatha Christie story, the train still runs on the
legendary route from Paris to Istanbul. Other itineraries are also
available.


Venice  <br/>Simplon-Orient-Express

Royal Scotsman

Region: Europe

Train Type: Luxury

The Royal Scotsman is a standout train. A small venue—just 36
passengers—it’s great for those who wish for a more intimate, luxury
setting with gourmet, five-star dining, wine-pairing and superior
service. Simply put, it is one of our favorite hotel trains. All the
train’s cars, save the 1928-era diner, are of 1960s vintage equipment,
but they have been recast into an Edwardian confection of varnished
woods, polished brass and fine fabrics.

Special Offers:
Book by June 24 for special discounts, with savings up to $3,280!

Royal<br/>  Scotsman

Royal Canadian Pacific

Region: North
America

Train Type: Luxury

Many of the cars for the Royal
Canadian Pacific (RCP) train were built between 1917 and 1931 and were
used as business cars for the Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR). Just 32
persons can pretend to be royalty and come aboard to sample the
train’s five-star dining, open-platform observation areas, several
small salons, and large compartments with private, ensuite shower,
toilet and sink. The train and its superb staff combine outstanding
scenery, exclusive visits and elegant musical events with the top-notch
service and cuisine.

Royal Canadian <br/> Pacific

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express

Region: Europe

Train Type: First-Class

The new, all-ensuite Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express launched
in April, 2007 to much fanfare in Moscow. The train has Gold and
Silver Class accommodations, both with en-suite bathroom, as well as
two dining cars and a lounge car. The train plies the famous
Trans-Siberian route between Moscow and Vladivostok.

Golden  <br/>Eagle Trans-Siberian Express

Danube Express

Region: Europe

Train Type: First-Class

The new Danube Express private train began service in 2008 on
routes in central Europe. The train has brand-new deluxe carriages
which offer the best train accommodations in Europe. In 2009, the
Danube Express will take about 80 passengers in both classic and deluxe
compartments.

Danube  <br/>Express

Deccan Odyssey

Region: Asia

Train Type: Luxury

The Deccan Odyssey is one of the subcontinent’s most luxurious
trains; its cars, built in 2003, have been upgraded with new carpet and
bedspreads recently, according to our ground suppliers. These
improvements, which we recommended last year, bring this train up to
“luxury” status, because its staff, service, amenities and food were
already superb.

Deccan Odyssey

Shangri-La Express

Region: Asia

Train Type: First-Class

The private Shangri-La Express (formerly China Orient Express) is
at this writing still the most modern hotel train in China and far
surpasses regular train service in every aspect. It is not a luxury
train, despite its name, but it is comfortable and convenient. Combined
with a Three Gorges cruise, the Shangri-La Express is definitely the
best way to see China.

Shangri-La  <br/>Express

Eastern & Oriental Express

Region: Asia

Train Type: Luxury

In 1991, the Orient-Express company acquired New Zealand’s famed
Silver Star, transported it to Southeast Asia and, following
refurbishment, re-christened it the Eastern & Oriental Express
(E&O). The train runs 1,262 miles between Singapore, Malaysia and
Bangkok, Thailand.

Eastern  <br/>& Oriental Express

Glacier Express

Region: Europe

Train Type: First-Class

The Swiss proudly hail the Glacier Express as the world’s slowest
express. The train takes almost eight hours and the services of two
private, narrow-gauge railroads to traverse the 168 mountainous miles
between two posh resorts—Zermatt and St. Moritz. The Alpine route of
the Glacier Express is what makes this train so marvelous.

Glacier Express

Bergen Railway

Region: Europe

Train Type: First-Class

The complete Oslo-Bergen line was opened in 1909 as the only
year-round land transport between Norway’s two largest cities. The
300-mile length of track passes through 200 tunnels and 18 miles of
snowsheds in addition to crossing more than 300 bridges. The scenery on
the 7-hour Bergen Railway trip across the Hardanger plateau, the
largest wilderness area in Europe, is breathtaking.

Bergen  <br/>Railway

Flam Railway

Region: Europe

Train Type: First-Class

With the Flåm Railway, it’s what you see outside that counts. In
about an hour, the line climbs some 2,833 feet from Flåm station,
nestled in the innermost corner of the Aurlandfjord, to the mountain
station at Myrdal on the Bergen Railway. On the 12.4-mile-long ride,
you’ll see rivers that cut through deep ravines, waterfalls cascading
down the sides of steep, snowcapped mountains and farms clinging
dizzily to sheer slopes.

Flam  <br/>Railway

Bernina Express

Region: Europe

Train Type: First-Class

The spectacular Bernina line was started more than 100 years ago
and was completed in 1910. It is run by Rhaetian Railways. Beginning in
Chur, St. Moritz or Davos, it passes the glaciers of Piz Bernina,
making this the highest railway crossing in all of the Alps. It travels
over 38 miles, climbing grades of up to 7%––without rack and
pinion––to more than 7,391 feet at the Bernina Pass summit, and drops
down to just 1,408 feet at Tirano, Italy.

Bernina  <br/>Express

Hiram Bingham

Region: South
America

Train Type: Luxury

The gleaming blue-and-gold
cars of the Hiram Bingham makes the three-hour trip between Cusco and
Machu Picchu every day but Sunday. The train has two 42-seat dining
cars serving excellent Peruvian specialties for brunch on the journey
to Machu Picchu, and for dinner on the evening return to Cusco. The
train also has a gorgeous bar/observation car.

Hiram  <br/>Bingham

Andean Explorer

Region: South
America

Train Type: First-Class

The Andean Explorer makes
the 10-hour trek from Cusco to Puno and Lake Titicaca. This addition
covers one of the highest standard-gauge rail routes in the world,
reaching altitudes up to 14,150 feet. A highlight is riding at sunset
the few miles before Puno alongside Lake Titicaca.

Andean  <br/>Explorer

El Transcantábrico

Region: Europe

Train Type: Luxury

The 52-passenger El Transcantábrico train, which traverses
Northern Spain, started in 1983.  Its launching was one of the first
stories in The International Railway Traveler, also founded in 1983.
Each train set has six sleepers, each with four double compartments.
The train is operated by Ferrocarriles Españoles de Vía Estrecha
(FEVE), which means Narrow-Gauge Spanish Railways.

Special
group departure Sept.
18-25 Santiago
de Compostela-San Sebastian with Owen & Eleanor Hardy, owners, The
Society of International Railway Travelers®

El  <br/>Transcantábrico

Blue Train

Region: Africa

Train Type: Luxury

The Blue Train is one of the world’s great luxury trains, and
runs several times a month between Pretoria and Capetown. The route is a
27-hour journey of 994 miles and includes a sightseeing stop in each
direction. The Blue Train is operated by the state-run Spoornet.

Blue Train

British Pullman

Region: Europe

Train Type: Luxury

The British Pullman is a luxury, vintage day train that completes
the British leg of Orient-Express journeys between Paris and London.
Passengers from the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express debark in Calais,
France, and board a special Orient-Express bus for the short
“piggyback” train ride through the Eurotunnel to Folkestone. There, they
board the British Pullman for the ride to London’s Victoria station.

British <br/> Pullman

Rocky Mountaineer

Region: North
America

Train Type: First-Class

The Rocky Mountaineer
explores Western Canada in comfort and class. The train’s luxury
GoldLeaf Service, with its custom-built glass dome coaches, offers fine
dining on the lower level, plus wind-in-the-face, outdoor viewing at
the rear platform. Travel between Vancouver, Banff, Jasper and Calgary.


Rocky  <br/>Mountaineer

Canadian

Region: North
America

Train Type: First-Class

The Canadian is VIA Rail
Canada’s flagship train. It runs between Toronto and Vancouver three
times a week, traveling 4,500 miles. IRT recommends Silver & Blue
Class so you can have a private bedroom on board the overnight train
and the many perks that come with it—from a special waiting room at the
main stations, to priority boarding, “welcome aboard” reception, and
all delicious meals included. The main delight is exclusive access to
the great dome cars for seeing the sites day or night. The schedule for
the Canadian has recently changed: Now the trip from Toronto to Jasper
allows three nights on board (evening departure, early arrival Jasper
is two days, 17 hours later.) All the way to Vancouver is four nights
(three days, 14 hours and 42 minutes!) Arrival in Vancouver is
scheduled for mid-morning.

Canadian

Palace on Wheels

Region: Asia

Train Type: First-Class

The Palace on Wheels, with its cream-colored livery, is a joint
venture of Indian Railways and the state of Rajasthan’s tourism office.
Starting service in 1982, it was India’s first hotel train and has
been gaining in popularity ever since.

Palace on Wheels

Darjeeling Himalayan Toy Train

Region: Asia

Train Type: Steam/Railfan

The tiny, two-foot-gauge “Toy Train” runs in West Bengal from
Siliguri, 400 feet above sea level, to Darjeeling, 7,200 feet above sea
level. It was built by the British between 1879 and 1881 to escape the
brutal heat of the plains below. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage
Site in 1999. Its myriad loops, corkscrews and switchbacks offer
passengers incredible views of the Himalayas. Ancient locomotives, the
oldest built in 1889, climb through zigzags and loops to gain height.

For other great steam train tours around the world, please click here.

Darjeeling Himalayan Toy Train

Sunlander

Region: Australia/New
Zealand

Train Type: First-Class

The Sunlander train
offers an overnight service crossing 1,045 miles on the east coast of
Queensland, Australia, from Brisbane to Cairns. The scenery is
spectacular. It takes 32 hours; the Sunlander with high-end
“Queenslander Class” travels twice a week, Sunday and Thursday from
Brisbane; it runs Tuesday and Saturday from Cairns.

Sunlander

Indian Pacific

Region: Australia/New
Zealand

Train Type: First-Class

Australia’s
transcontinental Indian Pacific offers a twice-weekly service in both
directions, from Perth to Sydney via Adelaide across more than 2,704
miles. Almost 300 miles of it is across the longest straight track in
the world, the Nullarbor Plain. The journey takes three nights, and our
travelers report it’s frequently a very jolly departure, with many
Aussies traveling the route, especially around holiday periods.

Indian  <br/>Pacific

Ghan

Region: Australia/New
Zealand

Train Type: First-Class

The Ghan has a long and
wild history, starting in 1878 when construction began on a line from
Port Augusta. Until 1929, the last part of the journey to Alice Springs
was was accomplished by Afghan camel train, and that’s where today’s
train gets it name. The Alice to Darwin “Top End” route, dreamed of for
more than a century, was started in 2001. The first train arrive in
Darwin in 2004. The service has been swamped with travelers. It takes
48 hours—two nights on board—to travel from Adelaide to Darwin over
1,852 miles of track.

Ghan




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4 Comments»

  Luxury Trains wrote @

Good selection of trains here. I think my favourite would be the Orient Express – it has to be the most iconic luxury train in the world.

  Orbe wrote @

It’s like a paradise!!!

i’d like to go there someday

Awsome

  Tempo wrote @

I would hardly call the Bernina Express a luxury train. It is a fabulous journey to be sure, but just a regular train over the hills from Pontresina to Tirano. I see you mention Danube Express. Sadly, they have not managed to get going on their raft of central European routes that they offered. Last year their whole programme was canceled, but pleased to see them running a few trips this year, all between Istanbul and Budapest. But their Rhine tours, trips through Austria and Budapest to Berlin trips have been scrapped.

  Owen C. Hardy wrote @

Thank you for featuring our World’s Top 25 Trains list from The Society of International Railway Travelers.® and linking to our web site. We have reviewed all of the trains featured, and they’re not all luxury trains — far from it. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a tiny blue, poky steam train. Our clients say WOW! when they get to take it. Also, please note we have a NEW list for 2011! Please see http://www.irtsociety.com for the new list! Sincerely, Owen Hardy, CEO, The Society of International Railway Travelers®


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