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Vietnam’s Reunification Express train: Rolling with the locals

Riding the Reunification Express from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh. Photo: Getty Images It’s dark outside, the Vietnamese city of Nha Trang is quiet for a Sunday, but the train station is a picture of chaos.  Plastic tartan bags, cheap suitcases and boxes reinforced with masking tape have been dumped unceremoniously on the platform. Waiting […]

Train tours, south-east Asia: On board the Eastern and Oriental Express from Singapore to Thailand

The Eastern & Oriental Express passing over the Bridge on the River Kwai. Passengers enjoy the views. Photo: Alamy The bar on board the Eastern and Oriental Express train. Photo: Alamy A steward welcomes guests on board. Photo: Alamy Eastern & Oriental Express train passes workers in a rice field. Eastern & Orient Express. Enjoying […]

Belmond Grand Hibernian: A luxury train journey with a distinctly Irish touch

Blarney Castle, near Cork. Photo: Alamy Ireland’s Belmond Grand Hibernian new luxury train. Photo: Richard James Taylor Old stone tower in Ireland Belmond Grand Hibernian’s luxury cabins. Winter Sunrise over a still lake in Connemara, in the West of Ireland. Pedestrian zone in Galway City. Photo: Alamy Travelling in style. Photo: Richard James Taylor Kylemore […]

Poland to Ukraine by Lwow Express sleeper train: What it’s like

Overnight train carriage in Lviv, Ukraine. Photo: Alamy According to old movies, there were two types of European long-distance train.  One was the sexy, luxurious sleeper such as the Orient Express, carrying exiled duchesses and dapper gents in tuxedos to elegant cities like Paris. The other was a shabby dimly lit train packed with foreign […]

Postal Museum, London: What it’s like to ride London’s hidden underground railway

The Rail Mail network sits 21 metres below the streets of London and stretches a distance of 10 kilometres. Visitors can ride a section of the Rail Mail route at London’s Postal Museum. Photo: Supplied The Rail Mail network sits 21 metres below the streets of London stretching over 10 kilometres. Photo: Annie Dang The […]

A slow train to Strahan: West Coast Wilderness Railway Tasmania

The beaten track: The West Coast Wilderness Railway. Photo: Nick Osborne Strahan is not a place you arrive at by accident. Even today, getting to this tranquil harbourside village on Tasmania’s west coast requires something of a journey: a drive of about four hours if you are coming from Launceston, five from Hobart. And that’s […]

Rocky Mountaineer, Canada: Is this the world’s tastiest rail journey?

The Rocky Mountaineer’s glass viewing dome offers spectacular viewing. Travelling through Canada’s magnificent landscape on board the Rocky Mountaineer. The Rocky Mountaineer’s glass viewing dome offers spectacular viewing. Travelling through Canada’s magnificent landscape on board the Rocky Mountaineer. Travelling through Canada’s magnificent landscape on board the Rocky Mountaineer. Travelling through Canada’s magnificent landscape on board […]

Rocky Mountaineer, Canada, food: How to run a restaurant on rails

The Rocky Mountaineer’s glass viewing dome offers spectacular viewing. Travelling through Canada’s magnificent landscape on board the Rocky Mountaineer. The Rocky Mountaineer’s glass viewing dome offers spectacular viewing. Travelling through Canada’s magnificent landscape on board the Rocky Mountaineer. Travelling through Canada’s magnificent landscape on board the Rocky Mountaineer. Travelling through Canada’s magnificent landscape on board […]

Train travel through Canada: Rolling through the Rockies on the Rocky Mountaineer

View of Canada’s stunning landscape from The Rocky Mountaineer. The human eye, explains a fellow passenger on the Rocky Mountaineer train as we chug through British Columbia, can perceive more hues of green than any other colour. This is just as well as there’s an awful lot of the stuff outside. Trouble is, most of […]

Rovos Rail Pride of Africa train journey, South Africa: ‘The most luxurious train in the world’

The observation lounge. The Pride of Africa passes wildlife. The Pride of Africa is the self-styled ‘most luxurious train in the world’. The Pride of Africa is the self-styled ‘most luxurious train in the world’. A deluxe suite. The Pride of Africa is the self-styled ‘most luxurious train in the world’. A deluxe suite on […]

Royal Windsor Steam Express: A summer sightseeing train service from London to Windsor Castle

Steam Dreams champagne breakfast. Photo: Ellie Mitchell There can’t be many travel experiences that were more comfortable 65 years ago than they are today. Train travel – at least in the UK – is one of them. Our journey on a modern commuter train from the south coast of England to London’s Waterloo is a […]

The Trans-Siberian Railway in winter: The world’s longest train route is also the most extreme

The Tran-Siberian is 9288 kilometres in length, from Moscow to Vladivostok. Photo: Getty Images Siberia’s cold is unfathomable. It wraps its savage fingers around my neck and crushes the tips of my fingers. It grates my lungs with every razor-sharp intake of breath. It freezes my brain so I can no longer comprehend what the […]

Six of the best: Railway hotels

HOTEL GRANVIA KYOTO, JAPAN: Major railway terminals in Japan are not only invariably centrally located but near small towns in their own right. The gargantuan main Japan Rail (JR) station in Kyoto, full of department stores, shops, restaurants, is an exemplar. Doubling as a terminal for shinkansen, or bullet trains, the building also houses the […]

Sleeper train safari in Zimbabwe: On the ‘fun train’ – a different way to do safari in Africa

Dining by candlelight on the eclectically furnished Stimela Star. Photo: Supplied I’ve hitched rides before – a mate’s Kombi, a stranger’s Vespa – but never have I sipped a gin and tonic while hitching an overnight ride with an African commuter train. It is almost dark when we board the Stimela Star for her inaugural […]

South Korea KTX trains: On board the 305 km/h train from Seoul to Busan

South Korea’s high-speed bullet trains (KTX) and Korail trains at the Seoul station. Photo: Shutterstock As I enter Seoul Station, I have half an eye out for zombies. A week before flying to the South Korean capital I watched Train to Busan, the excellent 2016 movie about a train journey overtaken by a plague of […]

Not just a tourist attraction: Riding San Francisco’s vintage street cars

A street tram in downtown San Francisco. Photo: Shutterstock It’s a funny thing when you start to call a city home; those things that make that city iconic are invariably the same things one tends to ignore while living there. Having now lived in San Francisco for more than six months, I’ve watched the antique […]

Q Train, Drysdale to Queenscliff brings glamour back to rail travel in Victoria

The Q Train runs from Drysdale to the coastal town of Queenscliff and back. The 1970s hit Old Time Rock and Roll is rocking the Q Train’s bar as we board at Drysdale, east of Geelong. And this is no ordinary bar car. As well as stools it contains a small square of dance floor, […]

Switzerland: Geneva to Montreux by public train – breathtaking and affordable

The Suedostbahn (SOB) along the Thur river near Neu St. Johann in the Toggenburg valley. Photo: Christof Sonderegger I’m a regular visitor to Geneva, where I grew up, but often fly into Zurich a three-hour train ride away. I’d rather ride the rails than transfer to a domestic flight. The scenery keeps me awake. If […]

Mount Rigi train, Switzerland: One of the country’s most spectacular rides (and it’s only 40 minutes)

Riding the train from Vitznau to the summit of RigI. The train lurches forward from its lakeside station, and soon I’m pressed against my seatback as it claws its way upwards, cogs grinding. We pass snowbound chalets, shutters closed. As we climb higher, the train swings around tight bends, giving new vistas over an increasingly […]

The Pacific Surfliner train along the Pacific Coast from Los Angeles to San Diego

The Pacific Surfliner has seen passenger numbers grow significantly as more people become aware of the pleasures of the picturesque seaside route, with the Surfliner emerging as Amtrak’s third busiest route. San Diego might have been our final destination, but after a long flight from Sydney, we just wanted an easy escape from LA. Planning […]

The Indian Pacific: An epic train journey across Australia, from Perth to Sydney

The Indian Pacific. The Nullarbor Plain is a great slab of infinity fallen to earth, a spirit-level mirage of trees and camels that probably aren’t there, and crows that well may, as the locals say, fly backwards. It is also a place of subtle fascination. Which is perhaps too easily said when you’re scanning its […]

The Maharajas’ Express: The luxury train that’s totally unreal

The Maharajas’ Express: India’s premier train trip. The Maharajas’ Express: India’s premier train trip. The Maharajas’ Express: India’s premier train trip. The Maharajas’ Express: India’s premier train trip. The Maharajas’ Express: India’s premier train trip. The Maharajas’ Express: India’s premier train trip. The Maharajas’ Express: India’s premier train trip. The Maharajas’ Express: India’s premier train […]

The new Great Southern train service links Adelaide and Brisbane

Great Southern is Australia’s newest passenger rail service. It runs between Adelaide and Brisbane. Photo: Russell Millard The departure of any long distance train is arguably more stirring than its arrival, jammed as it is, more often than not, with the expectations and excitement of the places that lie scattered in the imagination along the […]

The top 10 most beautiful metro train transport systems in the world

Stockholm, Sweden: Many of Stockholm’s stations look like elaborately painted caves, and the Swedish capital’s one giddily bills itself as the world’s longest art exhibit, with 110km of tunnels. Almost all of the subway stations have sculptures, mosaics, paintings, reliefs and installations, with the Kungsträdgården station looking like an archaeological excavation. Meanwhile, Östermalmstorg is ablaze […]

Madrid to Barcelona by fast train: Up to 300km per hour on Spain’s high-speed train

High-speed trains at Madrid’s Atocha station. Photo: iStock It has taken some time to convince my children that we should travel between Spain’s two major cities – Madrid and Barcelona – on a train. They think of trains as slow local transport, like they are in Australia, but when we arrive at Madrid’s Atocha station […]

Train travel in Europe tips: 10 things you need to know

1 TRAVEL LIGHT, SANS WHEELS Travelling on Europe’s rail network will be a breeze when you have a bag you can pick up. Not only will it be easier to carry it up and down the stairs in many European stations, you’ll be able to lift your bag into the overhead racks to keep an […]

The world’s greatest train journeys: The 20 best rail trips

Passengers can enjoy the sights of Switzerland’s Alpine terrain by train. Photo: Shutterstock There’s something magical about a journey by train. Sometimes the magic is inside – in a restaurant car with white tablecloths, in a private compartment between crisp, clean sheets. Sometimes the magic is outside, in the landscape the train traverses – an […]

Train from London, England to Madrid, Spain: Three countries in one day

Eurostar trains at St Pancras International station in London. Photo: Getty Images Eurostar train locomotive at St. Pancras station in London, UK. Photo: 123.com The Ritz Hotel, Madrid, Spain. Photo: ruthduncan@fairfaxmedia.com.au Tapas menu board, Madrid. Photo: iStock Ritz hotel, Madrid. Photo: iStock Old fashioned restaurant at Gare de Lyon in Paris. Photo: iStock Eurostar trains […]

Train ride around Yangon: Riding the rails of Myanmar

The interior of the Yangon train is hardly luxurious. Photo: Guy Wilkinson It’s not that I’m plagued by a sense of danger, yet somehow it’s always there; that inherent sense that if I’d been doing this only a few years ago, I would likely have been tossed in jail or even shot.  Until 2010, Myanmar didn’t […]

Jose Cuervo Express train ride to Tequila: The real story behind Mexico’s famous drink

The Jose Cuervo Express. My foray into tequila appreciation began on a train with 400 drunken Rabbit Gods and ended with a headache as throbbing as a Mexican hat dance. And that was just the first day. It’s 8.30am when we board the luxurious Jose Cuervo Express in Guadalajara for the two-hour journey to Tequila […]

Train station architecture: Europe’s 10 coolest railway stations

St Pancras International features Europe’s longest champagne bar. ST PANCRAS INTERNATIONAL, LONDON The pseudo-Gothic exterior of this majestic Victorian-era masterpiece looks like a mad baron’s castle in red brick, presided over by a soaring clock tower. It was once the world’s largest enclosed space. A late 20th-century overhaul has wonderfully restored the original and added […]

Train travel in Europe: 10 of the best slow train journeys

The Glacier Express is billed as the “slowest express train in the world”. It runs between St. Moritz and Zermatt in Switzerland. The day before our holiday in France, I asked my three children what they were most looking forward to. Was it the swimming, the sunshine, the beach or – and I would have […]

Train travel in Europe: Why this is the best way to travel in Europe

Training in Switzerland. Photo: Getty Images If convenience, reliability and cost aren’t enough to make you take to the rails in Europe, the passing scenery will surely win you over. Picture the scene: you loll in a comfortable seat, legs outstretched, a glass of Rioja to hand as you hurtle through Spain on an AVE […]

Trains versus planes: In the era of ‘flight shame’ there’s even more reason to travel by rail

There’s nothing like a little public shaming to change travellers’ bad habits. And right now, it’s the good people of Sweden leading the way. This year’s Scandinavian word-of-the-moment, taking the baton from the cuddly likes of “hygge” (cosy) and “lykke” (happiness), is the Swedish mouthful “flygskam”, which means, literally, “flight shame”. It’s a word, and […]

Trans-Mongolian train trip: A rail journey like no other

Trans Mongoian railway: Approaching Ulan Baator. Photo: Jane Sweeney The wind whistles across the Mongolian steppe, stinging cold noses, making prayer flags rustle and snap, as we prepare to take part in an ancient ritual. It doesn’t matter that we’re non-believers in this strange land, far from home – we still scratch around in the […]

Trans-Siberian train ride: On the world’s longest train journey

The Golden Eagle luxury train travels along the world’s longest railway. goldeneagleluxurytrains.com Photo: goldeneagleluxurytrains.com The Bar Lounge Car on a Golden Eagle luxury train. Photo: goldeneagleluxurytrains.com Dinner service in the Restaurant Car on a Golden Eagle luxury train. Photo: goldeneagleluxurytrains.com Service staff on the Golden Eagle luxury train. Photo: goldeneagleluxurytrains.com A Golden Eagle luxury train. […]

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