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The BEST Train Trips in the World 7 April 2016

I've been fortunate enough to have done some splendid train trips during the course of my 30+ years of travelling. The best train trips I've ever done are these (in no particular order and subject to change at a moment's notice) :

Trip  Region  Notes 
Cusco-Machu Picchu  Peru The only way to reach Machu Picchu, the legendary lost city of the Incas, is on foot or by train. The rail route runs alongside the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley, high up in the Andes mountains and through thick forests with splendid scenery visible from the windows on one side (the side next to the river ; on the other side of the train there is a sheer cliff).
George-Knysna  Western Cape, South Africa Often steam-hauled, the "Outeniqua Choo-Choo" passes through coastal forest, over rivers and lakes and next to the sea. The Kaaimans River bridge, reputed to be the most-photographed rail bridge in the world, is on the route. Unfortunately the train was suspended in 2006 when severe rain caused flooding that damaged sections of the track ; there is no indication as to when (or if) operations will commence again.
Cairns-Kuranda  Queensland, Australia A spectacular ride on a vintage train through tropical rain forest, deep ravines and gorges, over countless bridges, 15 tunnels and 2 stunning waterfalls, to the tiny forest village of Kuranda.
Myrdal-Flam  Norway The Flamsbana is a stunning trip from the high altitude of Myrdal down to sea-level at Flam. The train negotiates the steep mountain sides via "hairpin tunnels", with the line looping round in spirals as it descends. There are no less than 20 "rock" tunnels, 5 "water" tunnels and one bridge, with an altitude difference from top to bottom of 863 metres. The scenery on the trip is unrelentingly spectacular. Of the many waterfalls that the train passes, the Kjosfossen Waterfall is probably the most scenic ; all trains stop here so that passengers can get out for a closer look.
Cape Town-Simon's Town  Western Cape, South Africa The commuter train trip to the southern terminus of the Western Cape MetroRail system at Simon's Town is a delight. From Muizenberg south the railway line hugs the coastline, so close that sea spray sometimes hits the windows. When the sea is rough it has been known for waves to break directly against the train and wash through the windows! From July to November whales are often spotted in False Bay.
Kanchanaburi-Nam Tok  Thailand The remaining section of the "Death Railway" to Burma that was built by Allied prisoners-of-war during World War II passes over the famous River Kwai bridge, through thick forest and alongside the River Kwai. In many places the original rough wooden viaducts built by the prisoners by hand are still in place. These days the trip ends at Nam Tok in Thailand - the rails westwards into Myanmar (formerly Burma) were lifted several years ago.
Ostersund-Gallivare  Sweden Called the Inlandsbanan, this is the inland route through Sweden and into Lapland, north of the Arctic Circle. It traverses miles of forests, lakes and tiny villages, with a very good chance of seeing reindeer next to (or even on) the tracks.
Lauterbrunnen-Jungfraujoch  Switzerland A truly staggering engineering achievement, this railway goes up to the Jungfraujoch in the Alps, the last section actually INSIDE the mountain! The line from Lauterbrunnen goes up to Kleine Scheidegg, then enters a tunnel which goes behind the north face of the Eiger and continues up to Jungfraujoch (which is known as the "Top of Europe", although it isn't actually a peak and nor is it the highest point in the Alps - that honour belongs to Mont Blanc on the France-Italy border). There are a couple of windows in the tunnel along the way, allowing passengers to take in the stupendous views.
La Spezia-Cannes  Italy/France The rail line along the Mediterranean Sea coast of Italy (Liguria) and France (the Cote d'Azur) is breathtaking in parts. Sections of it hug the coastline next to the sea, quite often it disappears into tunnels and all of it traverses the scenic and thickly-touristed summer holiday region of Western Europe. Despite the crowds and rampant over-development along the Riviera, it is still a gorgeous trip to take on a sunny day.

Please let me know if you agree with the above selection.

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