Railway Romance: Five Spectacular Journeys by Train

Pimsleur Approach • December 14, 2012 • Travel tipsComments (0)

If you ever need to be reminded of the most romantic form of transport, look no further than the golden age of Hollywood. Here, estranged lovers are reunited on station platforms, villains are tackled atop moving rail cars, and aristocrats sip fine wines whilst admiring the glamorous vistas sweeping by. In a tribute to trains, we’ve picked our five favorite rail routes of all time.

Railway Romance: Glacier Express bei Preda
Glacier Express bei Preda – Image via Wikipedia

Glacier Express, Switzerland

Covering just 180 miles in eight hours may not sound like the most thrilling prospect, yet the Glacier Express is proof that speed isn’t everything. Linking the Swiss mountain resorts of St. Moritz and Zermatt, the Express (and yes, the irony of its moniker has been duly noted) climbs to altitudes of 2,033 m (6,670 ft), crossing 291 bridges and passing through 91 tunnels. One such bridge is the World Heritage-listed Landwasser Viaduct, a striking limestone structure built at the beginning of the 20thcentury. When it’s snow season you’ll feel like you’re on the Polar Express.

New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling, India

Railway Romance: Darjeeling Train
Rolling Through a Fruit Stand – Image via Wikipedia

Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited saw three brothers battle and bicker their way across India by rail, but with any luck, you’ll have time to sit back and enjoy the breath-taking scenery go past. Nicknamed the “toy train”, this cute little tank engine puffs its way past tea plantations, flower-filled meadows and the icy slopes of the Himalayas. At points, the train literally brushes past rail-side stalls, and if you’re quick enough you might be able to buy a refreshing sweetsop fruit while on the move. How much for all this?
A second class ticket will set you back as little as 70 cents.

 

Railway Romance: PeruRail

PeruRail - Image via Wikipedia

Cuzco to Machu Picchu, Peru

It’s the journey that matters, but a stunning arrival destination doesn’t hurt either. Hands down winner in this category is the Cuzco to Machu Picchu train, which pulls up at the famous cliff-top ruins. The trip itself isn’t half bad; an awe-inspiring roller coaster on which you ascend and plunge through the lush peaks and valleys of the Andes. Gourmet food is served on-board (and well it should be for the $588 round-trip), and there’s a cocktail party on the return leg. Utterly splendid.

 

Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia and Neighboring Countries

Railway Romance: Trans-Siberian Railway
Trans-Siberian Railway – Image via Wikipedia

At almost 6,000 miles in length, the Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest train journey in the world, but what was once a test of one’s traveling mettle is now a decidedly more comfortable affair. Inaugurated in 1890, this ambitious feat of engineering stretches from Moscow in the west to Vladivostok in the east, taking in along the way, the Urals, the Volga River and the oldest lake in the world, Lake Baikal. Typically, passengers were forced to endure extreme climates for prolonged periods, but today the plush Golden Eagle train takes just 15 days to reach its destination, including stop-offs at significant sites.

Railway Romance: Shinkansen Trains
Shinkansen Trains – Image via Wikipedia

 Shinkansen, Japan

It may not be the most nostalgic of train journeys, but it is does herald the future of rail travel, and it’s a pretty neat ride too. Japan’s network of Shinkansen trains links all of its major cities, hurtling passengers along at speeds reaching 186 mph. Whether or not you can make sense of any of the blurred paddy fields, cherry blossoms and high tech metropolises whizzing past the window is another matter. But if you’ve an important business meeting to attend, you’ve nothing to worry about; the average arrival time is within six seconds of scheduled arrival.

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