5+ of the World's Most Impressive Train Journeys

Train journeys are not something you only have to do to get to work. Some of them can actually be a very pleasurable experience.
Christopher McFadden

Are you something of a trainspotter in your spare time? Do you love to travel in style? Then these impressive train journeys really need to go on to your bucket list. 

Here we explore some of the greatest, and most expensive trains around the world and highlight five of the most widely recognized "best" train services anywhere on the globe.


Which is the most luxurious train in the world?

There are many luxurious trains around the world, but some are simply leagues ahead of the others. According to sites like travelandleisure.com, Japan's Cruise Train Seven Stars is widely considered to be one of, if not the most luxurious trains in the world. 

This train combines old-school luxury with some of the latest in railway technology. It first ran in 2013 and is claimed to be Japan's first luxury sleeper/excursion train.

The train's name is derived from the seven prefectures of Kyushu, as well as the fact that the train is made up of seven cars (plus locomotive). Seven Stars is pulled by a dedicated diesel locomotive DF200-7000 built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Kobe.

most impressive trains seven stars
Seven Stars luxury cruise train at Aso Station. Source: RSA/Wikimedia Commons

Its design was based on the JR Freight Class DF200 locomotive which was modified for use in Kyushu and finished in a livery of deep maroon. The train's coaches design is based on the 817 series EMU body mounted on 787 series EMU bogies. 

Of the coaches, five are sleeper cars, one is a lounge car and the last a dining car.

"The rear car of the train features two deluxe suites with observation windows at the end." - Wikipedia

"With two- and four-day tours around the island of Kyushu, riders onboard the Seven Stars will get up close to both mountains and the seaside. But be warned: Booking this trip is not as simple as just putting in your credit card info.

The train can only carry up to 28 passengers at a time and demand is so high that prospective riders must enter a lottery. Winners are then invited to purchase their place on an upcoming itinerary." -  travelandleisure.com.

Where are the worlds most expensive train rides?

You might think your daily commute fees by train are expensive, but "you ain't seen nothing yet". Luxury and comfort don't, after all, come for free.

According to sites like railway-technology.com, the most expensive train ride in the world (in 2013) is the Maharajas' Express in India. This hyper-luxurious train service can costs up to $3,385 a night!

But, this eye-watering cost per night is for the service's Presidential Suite.

For other passengers, prices start from: -

  • $3,850 per person – 3 Nights / 4 Days
  • $5,980 per person – 6 Nights / 7 Days

This train ride travels between North-Western and Central India.

The Maharajas Express is operated by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and it features 23 coaches in total. The train can accommodate around 88 guests per journey and the service won the WTA World's Leading Luxury Train award in 2018.

"A traveler gets an amazing opportunity to Experience royalty but running on wheels. Indian Luxury Train has four cabins Deluxe Cabin, Presidential Suite, Suite, and Junior Suite. It also has a Lounge Bar and Restaurants. All cabins are designed so beautifully that if one sees through the window, one can enjoy beautiful landscapes. Indian Luxury Train has allover red carpet and interiors are designed keeping in mind the Indian Royal Heritage." - Maharajas' Express.

Who has the best trains in the world?

There are some countries around the world that are widely considered to have the best trains. But how would you classify "best" when it comes to trains?

For some it's efficiency, others comfort, perhaps for you, a scenic train route is most important? 

When it comes to efficiency, most people consider the Japanese train network to be the best. Japan's Shinkansen regularly tops charts for train transport efficiency and moves around 420 million passengers each year.

Switzerland tends to come in second. They are also some of the most scenic journeys you'll ever have the pleasure of experiencing by train. 

For comfort, apart from the luxury trains we have already featured, Switzerland could be considered to have the best trains. 

Swiss trains are also widely considered to have the best scenic trips.

"Getting from anywhere to anywhere else in Switzerland will take you past beautiful forests, soaring mountains, and quaint hamlets." - Quora

Of course, we'll let you decide which country has the best train service in your opinion. 

What is the best train journey in the world?

Apart from the trains already mentioned, here are 5 more of the best train journeys in the world. This list is far from exhaustive and is no particular order.

1. The Rocky Mountaineer's First Passage to the West, Canada

The Rocky Mountaineer's First Passage to the West is one of the most popular train journeys through the Canadian Rockies.

"Travel through the legendary Spiral Tunnels and pass by Craigellachie, the spot where the last spike on the Canadian Pacific Railway was driven. This is the only passenger rail service on this historic route, celebrated for connecting Canada from East to West.

Traverse the Continental Divide and be inspired by spectacular mountains and dramatic canyons. If you’re a history buff, this route is for you." - Rocky Mountaineer

2. West Highland Line, Scotland

most impressive trains west higland
Source: Alan Mitchell/Wikimedia Commons

The West Highland Line in Scotland, UK is another of the world's most breathtaking train journeys. It links the ports of Mallaig and Oban in the Scottish Highlands and was voted the top rail journey in the world by readers of the Wanderlust magazine in 2009. 

It is also regularly voted as one of the topmost scenic railway lines in the world. 

3. The Ghan, Australia

most impressive trains the ghan
Source: Bahnfrend/Wikimedia Commons

The Ghan aka Afghan Express is another of the world's best train journeys. The line links Adelaide with Alice Springs and Darwin in Australia. 

The service is operated by Journey Beyond Rail Expeditions and takes 54 hours to travel the almost 3,000 km between start and finish. This train service first began operations in 1924 and has weekly services today. 

4. Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia

The Trans-Siberian Railway is one of the most famous train journeys in the world, and one of its most impressive. This network of tracks connects Moscow with the Russian Far East. 

In total it has just over 9,200 km of railway tracks which makes it one of the longest railway lines in the world. 

"It was built between 1891 and 1916 under the supervision of Russian government ministers personally appointed by Tsar Alexander III and his son, the Tsarevich Nicholas (later Tsar Nicholas II). Even before it had been completed, it attracted travelers who wrote of their adventures." - Wikipedia. 

5. Belmond Hiram Bingham, Peru

The Belmond Hiram Bingham train service is another of the world's most impressive trains. It runs from Cusco in Peru and terminates at Machu Picchu. 

This train service is named after Hiram Bingham who was the first person to discover Machu Picchu since it was abandoned centuries ago. 

The entire journey takes you through the magnificent scenery of Peru and is widely considered one of the most romantic train journeys in the world.  

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