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Some "Great Train Rides" of the World

Bill Malchisky  August 10 2014 09:00:00 PM
The Wall Street Journal released an Off Duty Travel section article entitled, "Great Train Rides: Run Away on the Rails", covering six scenic and enjoyable routes on four continents plus the island nation of New Zealand--including input from Mike Smith, The Man in Seat Sixty-One. Although hardly cyclopedic nor meant to be, reader comments do indicate additional favorites. The leadoff permutation limns the joy of the London to Edinburgh run, which I am happy to say I enjoyed -- twice, while presenting at UKLUG in Scotland. It is a wonderful train ride, with much of the last hour or so traveling along the Scottish coastline.

Though not on the list, one of my favorite runs is the Amtrak Adirondack: NYC to Montreal. The first part weaves along the scenic Hudson River Valley, then north of Albany, you travel along the New York - Vermont border, working your way towards the western shore of Lake Champlain creating the eastern border for much of the Adirondack Mountains---the largest state or national park in the continental United States---making for some impressive scenery that few can see any other way. For the best lake views, sit on the right side of the train, when going northbound.

As a side note, Amtrak through the Trails & Rails Program strengthened its relationship with the National Park Service to link rail routes with our national parks, creating an exciting traveling experience. Some routes have descriptive podcasts available as well. The 2014 schedule is located here.

Finally, I am glad the article includes the California Zephyr: Chicago to San Francisco. You can link to this train from New York City as well, making for a three day transcontinental trip. Either way, the route through the Rocky Mountains is particularly breathtaking. Additionally, you will see the Sierra Nevada Mountains, several canyons, the Great Salt Lake's southern shore plus the Utah Bonneville Salt Flats, as this rail route runs nearly parallel to the very scenic I-80 highway after Salt Lake City.

Fortunately, the cited article is included within the free section of the WSJ Online site, so no account is required to read it.

Kindly let me know which line in the piece is your favorite, or if you have another one to share. Enjoy the rails.

Image:Some "Great Train Rides" of the World

1Grant Osborne  8/10/14 10:23:30 PM  Some Great Train Rides of the World

Bill, if you are Downunder, this one's a good'un (The Ghan).

{ Link }

2Bill Malchisky  8/10/14 10:36:36 PM  Some Great Train Rides of the World

Thanks, Grant; excellent selection. I've taken the Sydney to Melbourne run previously. Enjoyed the journey (about 12h, as I recall).

Your suggestion improves upon that rail experience. Did not know you could travel neary Ayers Rock via rail. Nice option to have a quick fly-in from the Alice Springs stop. Had a flight connection in Adelaide, but never left the airport. Will need to stop by and visit.

3Richard Moy  8/10/14 10:50:09 PM  Some Great Train Rides of the World

Empire Express is one of the rides that I am planning take. My great-great grand father worked on building it.

4Bill Malchisky  8/11/14 1:27:04 AM  Some Great Train Rides of the World

That's a wonderful connection, Richard. Thank you for sharing.

Along the same lines, desiring to head north from SLC to Promontory Summit, Utah, to the Golden Spike re-enactment and museum. That story always fascinated me as a kid.

Wishing you well on getting your ride.

5Ian Randall  8/11/14 3:05:14 AM  Some Great Train Rides of the World

The "Blue Train" from Johannesburg to Capetown in South Africa has to be on the list, especially the last 100 km before Capetown. Also the "Orient Express" from London to Venice is an exceptional experience (especially through the Alps)

6Gabriella Davis  8/11/14 5:43:00 AM  Some Great Train Rides of the World

The Glacier Express from St Moritz to Zermatt .. it's 10 hrs but you can also do from Visp to Zermatt which I think beautiful and is only about 90 minutes. Plus you end up in Zermatt.

Years ago I very fondly remember travelling on the Settle and Carlisle route as well...

7Bill Malchisky  8/11/14 5:48:28 AM  Some Great Train Rides of the World

@Ian and @Gab - great exeriences. Thank you both for sharing.

We are building a nice list here. Keep them coming.

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