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The world’s top 25 trains?

According to The Society of International Railway Travelers, the best 25 trains in the world are as follows:
  • North America 1) Canadian (Canada) 2) GrandLuxe Express (US) 3) Canadian Rockies Steam Express (Canada) 4) Rocky Mountaineer (Canada) 5) Royal Canadian Pacific (Canada) 6) Sierra Madre Express (Mexico)
  • South America 7) Andean Explorer (Peru) 8) Hiram Bingham (Peru)
  • Africa: 9) Blue Train (South Africa) 10) Pride of Africa (Rovos Rail) (South Africa)
  • Asia/Indian Subcontinent 11) Palace on Wheels (India) 12) Eastern & Oriental Express (SE Asia) 13) Shangri-La Express (China/Tibet) 14) Toy Train (India) 15) Viceroy of India (India)
  • Europe 16) Northern Belle (United Kingdom) 17) Royal Scotsman (Scotland) 18) Bernina Express (Switzerland) 19) Glacier Express (Switzerland) 20) El Transcantabrico (Spain) 21) Trans-Siberian Express (Russia, Ukraine) 22) Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (Europe)
  • “Down Under” 23) Ghan (Australia) 24) Indian Pacific (Australia) 25) Sunlander (Australia)
The IRT Society has just published “Best-Loved Railway Journeys – 2007” which  includes complete descriptions of each of the ‘top 25’ trains: their compartments and public spaces, equipment used and preferred routes.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. Dear Eduardo: you are so right about the Al-Andalus. Maybe next time it will make our list because it is back in operation this year! Please email for our IRT Society’s Best-Loved Railway Journeys 2008. Thank you.

  2. Hmm, I think it depends on how you define ‘best’. I’ve been on some fantastic train journeys which aren’t on the list. Admittedly, not all of them were luxurious but the trip was well worth doing. I always think that a train trip often lets you glimpse into a nation’s back yards, and you see things you might never otherwise see.

    A few journeys I’ve done which I’d recommend to people are:

    India – The Fairy Queen trip from Delhi to Alwar. Not exactly luxury but certainly not roughing it either. Wonderful!

    Kenya – Nairobi to Mobassa. Comfortable enough and quite a lot of fun.

    Vietnam – Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh. Now we’re roughing it! Do this one in stages to give you time to explore all the places en route.

    Bangladesh – Dhaka to Srimangal. We went as a group of colleagues and hired an entire private carriage for our group, so we were probably more comfortable than most people who would just get a compartment.

  3. I am surprised that none of the spectacular train journeys in New Zealand are included like the Tranz Alpine from Christchurch to Greymouth. The scenary is just awsome.

  4. Heard some great stories from my sister about the trains in Ecuador when she was teaching there, the students took her out and she said they were all riding on the roof… a whole new rail experience and lots of fun apparently!

    I really fancy the glass topped train in Canada, would be a fantastic and relaxing way to see the scenery I imagine!

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