On Track: Some Of The Great Rail Journeys Around The World

people riding the South Africa Blue Train enjoying its fancy interior with wooden tables and chairs

2.72min read

Published 11 October 2015


Getting from A to B has never been easier. The emergence of low-cost carriers and discounted airfares guarantees it. But sometimes, it's not about the cheapest ticket or fastest route. Often, the journey is the destination.

The Golden Age of Rail may have been in the 1920s, but the glamour of rail travel is still alive and well today. These great journeys prove it, whisking guests away on romantic escapes in style through eclectic cultures and cinematic landscapes right across the world.

The Blue Train, South Africa

 people riding the South Africa Blue Train enjoying its fancy interior with wooden tables and chairs
Floor-to-ceiling views from the Blue Train

The Blue Train was born out of the steam locomotives that travelled between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Today, the revered train transports passengers 1,600 kilometres from The Rainbow City to Pretoria and vice-versa through the Karoo plains on a 27-hour journey.

Step aboard and be transported back in time, but with all the mod-cons associated with 21st century travel. If the bathtubs with panoramic views in some 'lead-in' De Luxe cabins are any indication of what to expect, not to mention complimentary butler service in Luxury Cabins, you're in for a treat.

Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia to Asia

 The interiro of the Russia trans train is carpeted and has wooden chairs and tables
Take your tea and supper in the elegant dining cart

A rite of passage for train buffs and pleasure seekers alike, many say a journey along the Trans-Siberian Railway is one of the greatest travel experiences of our time. The Trans-Siberian line is a confluence of west meets east, with continent-crossing routes from Moscow to Vladivostok, Beijing, Mongolia or Manchuria.

Many locomotives use this network, though the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express is one of the most coveted. This extravagant train spoils with ensuite cabins with panoramic picture windows. Onboard, you'll have enough at your fingertips to keep you occupied for a journey that travels approximately the fifth of the Earth's circumference!

More of the world's great rail journeys

You'll never forget your rail travel essentials with our guide

Rocky Mountaineer, Canada

 Tourists taking photos of the wonderful nature view outside the glass windows of the Goldleaf train
Don't forget your camera on the Rocky Mountaineer!

Canada's legendary Rocky Mountaineer navigates milky-aqua glacial lakes, snow-dusted peaks and lush, undulating forests to offer travellers one of the finest ways to see the country. Routes such as the First Passage to the West (Vancouver to Calgary, Lake Louise or Banff) and Journey through the Clouds (Vancouver to Jasper) are two of the most popular.

GoldLeaf Service is beyond compare. This first-class experience features a wrap-around glass-domed ceiling and windows for unparalleled views of the never-ending natural beauty, combined with 5-star service and fine Canadian fare.

Venice Simplon Orient-Express, Europe

Couple having a fun conversation inside the coach of the Venice Simplon orient express
It's 5-star service all the way on the Venice Simplon Orient-Express

You'll enter a timeless world of whimsy and utter splendour onboard the Venice Simplon Orient-Express. Roll through countless European cities and awe-inspiring scenery in absolute style, from overnight journeys between London and Paris or Italy, or extended voyages to Istanbul or Budapest.

Cabins are outfitted in classic 1920s period furnishings, harking back to the Golden Age of Travel era. By day, your private abode offers banquette seating to enjoy the views and transforms into a peaceful and restful space at night. When it comes to dining, Chef Christian Bodiguel and his team crafts an exquisite set menu from fresh, regional ingredients, which can be enjoyed in one of three beautifully restored dining carts. Magnifique!

Glacier Express, Switzerland

 The image of the snowy pointy mountain is reflected on the water
Enjoy commanding views of the Matterhorn from your seat on the Glacier Express

If you haven't the time or budget to enjoy a multi-night rail journey, Switzerland's Glacier Express could be the just the ticket. In seven hours, you'll travel from Zermatt to Davos or St. Moritz through picture-perfect fields and stunning valleys.

You'll roll right through the clouds across 91 tunnels and 291 bridges and the impressive landscape sparkles no matter what season you travel. See the fields of flowers bloom beneath the warm summer sun or when rolling hills are blanketed in snow.

TranzAlpine Train, New Zealand

Closer to home, the fertile lands of the Canterbury Plains, thrilling vistas along Waimakaririr River and Southern Alps await onboard New Zealand's TranzAlpine. This trip of a lifetime will take your breath away as you travel from Christchurch to Greymouth, being wowed at every turn through thick native forests and chiselled mountain peaks. Travel one-way and connect to Franz Josef Glacier by bus or combine your experience with accommodation and activities.

The Ghan, Australia

 The Ghan train in Australia in the middle of Alice Spring
Virgin Atlantic Flight

The Ghan is synonymous with Outback Australia. The 2,979-kilometre track stretches through the heart of our great land, from Adelaide right to the Top End in the Northern Territory. While the crimson red plains outside your window may be desolate and rugged, the interiors are anything but.

Whether you choose the lead-in Red Service or first-class Platinum Service, you can guarantee your journey will be a relaxing and memorable one, complete with comfortable accommodation and tantalising dining options.

Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest rail deals.


adelaide asia australia canada europe new zealand northern territory russia south africa switzerland

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