Although there are faster ways to get places, train travel is as much about the voyage as the destination.
“People who take the train aren’t only interested in getting from point A to point B,” said Charles Schmidt, an agent at Classic Travel Service in Manhattan. “There’s scenery you couldn’t see if you were driving.” These routes will satisfy your wanderlust and transport you to a simpler time.
See the majesty of the Rockies up close
Sit back and watch the view on a VIA Rail Canada train from Toronto to Vancouver, which travels through the Canadian Rockies. “It’s not a luxury train,” Schmidt said. “You go for the road itself.” The trip takes three and a half days and offers excellent views of the mountains and valleys.
Cost: Sleeper cabins start at $1,500
For more info: viarail.ca/en
Travel by rail for an epic trip Down Under
Australia’s Great Southern Rail offers trips that span the country and spectacular views of the landscapes Down Under. “Now that’s an awesome train,” Schmidt said. The Indian Pacific travels more than 2,700 miles from Sydney to Perth via Adelaide. Over the course of the three-day trip, travelers can expect to see the Outback, farming country and the mountains of Australia.
Cost: Sleeper cabins start at $1,350
For more info: gsr.com.au
Transverse South Africa in style
Billed as “a window to the soul of South Africa,” passengers on the Blue Train travel in luxury cars between Cape Town, Pretoria and coastal Durban. En route, the train passes through deserts, mountains and tropical scenery.
Cost: Rates start at $1,550, which includes meals and drinks
For more info: www.bluetrain.co.za
Splurge on a first-class ticket
The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express winds its way through Europe in 1920s and 1930s train cars, offering white-glove service at every turn. “The train is virtually a museum piece and a ride on it is like a ride back in time,” Ann-Rebecca Laschever, a spokeswoman for the company, wrote in an e-mail. The train follows the full route of the original Orient Express, from Paris to Istanbul, once a year in the fall (prices start at $9,180). Another option is The Splendors of Europe route, which includes stops in Budapest and Venice.
Cost: Splendors of Europe tickets start at $5,352
For more info: orient-express.com
Cross Copper Canyon aboard El Chepe
Take a trip through Mexico’s Copper Canyon via El Chepe, officially known as the Chihuahua-Pacific Railway. The route itself is considered a feat of engineering, and the views are spectacular. The train leaves once a day from Chihuahua.
Cost: $77 for the day trip
For more info: chepe.com.mx
Scenic routes that start here
- Climb aboard Amtrak’s Adirondack for a trip through the mountains and valleys of New York and Vermont. With the fall colors about to pop, the views will be exquisite. Round-trip tickets start at $130. Visit amtrak.com for more information.
- The Hudson Line on Metro-North takes passengers as far as Poughkeepsie, traveling next to the river the entire way — that’s two and a half hours of picturesque views. A round-trip off-peak ticket is $29. Find schedules at mta.info/mnr.