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Three Great Train Journeys of the World

Updated on December 20, 2014

Travel in Luxury by Train

You just can't beat a train holiday.

The romance and sheer relaxation of it all is superb. Why go through the hassles involved with driving your car around when you can sit back in comfort and gaze out the window at the scenery unfolding before you?

Return to the opulent days of deluxe rail travel aboard a sumptuous air-conditioned compartment through India, be a little more adventurous and steam across the Russian continent, or steep yourself in the romantic past of the iconic Orient Express.

Here are three Great Train Journeys you must experience in your lifetime

The Birth of the Luxury Train

A Revolution in Travel

George Mortimer Pullman created a luxury train in Britain, featuring the ultimate in nineteenth century technology and opulence. With sleeping carriages, parlour cars and meals served on board, the Pullman Limited Express began operating in 1881.

The train ran from London to Brighton and was the first to be illuminated by the new electricity.

Shortly afterwards, by connecting trains to ferries, Pullman made safe and comfortable train travel between London and Paris a reality.

The Orient Express

A Legend is Born

Then in 1883, Georges Nagelmackers ran the first Orient-Express train service.

The initial route ran from Paris to Giurgi in Romania, via Strasbourg, Vienna, Budapest and Bucharest.

The Simplon Tunnel was built in 1906, cutting the trip from Paris to Venice significantly and by 1921 the Orient Express ran to Istanbul.

The 1920s and 1930s were the heyday of the legendary train, the elaborate meals, decadent company and fine wines characterised this era of luxury rail travel. Royalty, celebrities, courtesans, conmen and spies traveled together, rolling across Europe in opulence.

The Magnificent Orient Express

The Return of the Orient Express

The Legend is Reborn

In 1982 the new restored Venice Simplon-Orient-Express made its maiden run from London to Venice.

Today, the gleaming carriages of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express carry passengers across Europe in exquisite surroundings on one of the most romantic journeys in the world.

Murder on the Orient Express

Agatha Christie's Classic Poirot Mystery

Murder on the Orient Express is a classic. An entralling book, it's also an enthralling film and one of the Great Movies You Must See in Your Lifetime.

The Plot

Agatha Christie's fussy sleuth Hercule Poirot books passage on the famed Orient Express only to find himself at the centre of a murder investigation.

The mysterious Mr. Ratchett is found murdered in his cabin, and it's up to Poirot to discover the murderer. With no forensic science as we know it, no polygraphs, no chemical analyses, Poirot gets to the heart of the mystery with only his impeccable logic to guide him.

Through polite, yet assertive, questioning of the other passengers, Poirot uses his little gray cells to develop a startling theory that he will ultimately share with everyone aboard.

Aboard the Deccan Odyssey

The Deccan Odyssey

A mobile hotel

Europe has the Orient Express and India has the Deccan Odyssey. Both have that 19th century appeal although the Deccan is a recent addition to the list of romantic train journeys.

India's unique blend of history, culture and scenery have intoxicated western travellers for centuries. Life on the subcontinent is more vibrant and colourful than almost anywhere else, as spellbinding today as when the East India Company set up outposts in the 17th Century. The railway arrived in India in 1853, and now there are almost 40,000 miles of the biggest and busiest railway networks in the world.

It is said that more than anything else, trains created modern India. What is certain is that today's India couldn't exist without it.

In the Deccan Odyssey, you travel through time and cultures in the kingdom of the Marathas - Maharashtra. It's called a hotel train and it operates a seven-day circuit of Maharashtra. So you're basically staying in a mobile hotel, with excursions arranged for you daily.

Deccan Odyssey Locomotive

The Trans Siberian Express

The world's longest continuous rail line

Stretching almost 10,000 kms from Moscow to Vladivostok, the very name of this engineering marvel evokes images of exotic, adventurous, travel.

The Trans Siberian is the longest continuous rail line on earth, each run clattering along in an epic journey over one third of the globe, an experience of almost continuous movement, seven days or more of unabated train travel through the vast expanse of Russia.

The world's longest train journey is no longer an endurance test thanks to this new 21-car train that provides comfort unknown since Tsarist times.

Route of the Trans Siberian - Across the endless steppes

Fabulous Journey across Russia

Intriguing, delightful, beautiful, mysterious Russia, a vast land stretching from the shores of the Baltic to the Sea of Japan and to within sight of Alaska.

Long cloaked in mystery, Russia is only now revealing its magnificent treasures to outside eyes: from the monumental buildings of Moscow to the magnificent Ural mountains, the endless Steppes and the clear waters of Lake Baikal, largest freshwater lake in the world.

Steeped in history and with an incredible legacy of art, music and literature, this is the land of Catherine the Great, of Tchaikovsky, Tolstoy and Lenin. Today's Russia wears its history with pride.

Across this great country the Trans-Siberian Railway runs like a steel ribbon connecting east and west. Opened in stages between 1891 and 1916, this extraordinary engineering achievement is a vital national asset - and by far the best way to experience the grandeur of Russia's rarely visited interior.

How about you?

Have you ever traveled by luxury train?

See results

© 2008 Susanna Duffy

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    • FlorenceBlake LM profile image

      FlorenceBlake LM 

      5 years ago

      I'm hoping to travel the Trans Siberian route this year! But from St. Petersburg to Beijing instead of Vladivostok.

    • Sky Breeze profile image

      May Matthew 

      5 years ago

      Yes, and the West Highland Line! Travelling in trains to see Scotland was a great experience!

    • Sky Breeze profile image

      May Matthew 

      5 years ago

      I would like to go for the Trans Siberian!

    • PaulaMorgan profile image

      Paula Morgan 

      5 years ago from Sydney Australia

      Any of these would be great - I would choose the Trans Siberian first.

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 

      5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      I travelled on the Flying Scotsman in the days when it was a Pullman. It is a fantastic experience!

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 

      5 years ago from Somewhere in England

      I can see why you made these choices but the West Highland Line in Scotland is officially a great railway journey - and not just because it was a Harry Potter location.

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 

      5 years ago from Kent, UK

      We had planned to travel the Trans-Siberian Railway this year. India was a contender too. It's all so romantic. :)

    • molsfisher profile image

      molsfisher 

      5 years ago

      Love these train holidays.

    • profile image

      Lindrus 

      6 years ago

      I love train travel, though I've never tried the luxury trains. I actually prefer the authentic more rustic train travel experience.

    • tcorbs profile image

      tcorbs 

      6 years ago

      There's no better way to travel!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      We went Eurorail for our 25th anniversary visiting England, Scotland, France, Belgium, Germany, and Austria. So much more to see and do! We must return!

    • PaulaMorgan profile image

      Paula Morgan 

      7 years ago from Sydney Australia

      What a great page.. I really enjoyed reading this... I have taken so long train journeys in Europe and even half the Indian Pacific Route (Syd- Adel) but hope to do some Swiss journeys one day.

    • profile image

      ShamanicShift 

      7 years ago

      I traveled by train from Paris to northern Italy on the Artesia night train. I have traveled from Chicago to San Francisco by train, but that was far from luxurious. Trains are fun -- great lens to get me dreaming -- blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • profile image

      seegreen 

      7 years ago

      It is one of my dreams to travel all of the great train journeys including these three. I'm amazed I haven't been on any yet, but I haven't given up hope. Lets hope they stay around for a while longer.

    • tourism-india profile image

      tourism-india 

      7 years ago

      in India, you also have the palace on wheels, the royal rajasthan on wheels that take you on royoal sojourn of Rajasthan region. The Golden Chariot train tour lets you explore south India in luxury

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 

      8 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      I've always wanted to travel on the TransSiberian Express. I believe that you can get a train from Victoria Station in London that will connect, maybe with a couple of changes on mainland Europe, to the TS Express. This has been an ambition of mine for about 30 years.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Oh Me! This is so wonderful. I have always been fascinated by trains and these Three Great Train Journeys of the World really sound appealing. Excellent!

    • profile image

      Quirina 

      8 years ago

      Susanna, I could not agree more!

      ... Did you read the books of the great train traveller Paul Theroux? He is contemporary and does not always take a luxury train. But it is simply not possible to travel from Boston to Patagonia by luxury train.. That is what he describes in 'The old Patagonian Express' which I just finished.

    • profile image

      biggly 

      9 years ago

      Lovely lens. I recently did the trans-Mongolian journey, which links up with the trans-Siberian. Great journey.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      9 years ago

      Good job, it is now in my favs.

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