5 World-Class Train Journeys

Written by Arpan Ghosh

There is an unmatched sense of majesty to a train ride - we refer of course, not to the crowded city trains that ferry commuters to and fro all hours of the day, but the more traditional locomotive. Spacious cabins, an unhurried pace and staff in brightly embroidered livery transport travelers to a different era and offer a more socially distanced alternative to the packed cabins of commercial air travel, especially when you have the option to rent your own cabin. If you want to experience a cross-country trip (or even a cross-continent one) in truly luxurious fashion, then here are five train rides to consider.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Image credit: Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

The original Orient Express started its services in 1883 and since then, there have been several trains and routes that have taken on the name. Perhaps one of the most well-known versions of the Orient Express (and the one that was the setting for the famous Agatha Christie novel) is the Simplon-Orient-Express. This particular route began running in 1919 and was especially popular in the following two decades, forever linking it with the era of Art Deco. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE) is a relatively modern iteration, featuring carriages that have been purposefully designed to evoke period charm. The journey takes you from London to Vienna (with stopovers in Paris and Verona) in three magnificently outfitted carriages themed after a different region of Europe. In 2021, the VSOE will be adding in three more themed carriages, each with a marble paneled bathroom, a spacious living area, a double bed and distinct individual details. A steward will be on hand 24 hours to attend to the needs and wishes of travellers.

Caledonian Sleeper

Image credit: Caledonian Sleeper

Once frequented by hunting parties heading from London to Scotland, the Caledonian Sleeper is now an elegant overnight experience that takes you to the most popular destinations in Scotland, such as Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as remote towns in the Highlands. Typically, you are treated to exquisite Scottish delicacies along the way, though dining options are understandably no longer part of the package. Breakfast is still an option, however - what sleeper would be complete without one? - so you can arrive at your destination full and content, ready to explore the enchanting countryside.

Vietage

Image credit: The Vietage

Operated by Anantara, Vietage is a luxury train service that runs through Central Vietnam and lets you soak in the country’s magnificent natural beauty at a relaxed pace. The Vietage line runs between the Anantara resorts at Hoi An and Quy Nhon, limited to just 12 seats for a truly exclusive ride. Along the way, you will be treated to a five-star array of Vietnamese culinary delights and will also have access to a small spa area for massage treatments, in the event that you need to relieve some stress during your journey, or you really want to hit every note of relaxation possible.

America's Trains

Image credit: American Train Vacations

America’s Trains is a luxury train concept that is set to launch in the US, using refitted carriages from the middle of the 20th century including a select number of private carriages. Several different routes will be offered as part of the service, including Southern Comfort (covering Texas and New Orleans), California Coast, Breathtaking Beauty (along the southwestern region of the US), Atlantic Coast (along the eastern seaboard from New York to Florida) and International East (from New York into Canada). The first car, called the Sunflower, is a high-level car, meaning that it has two decks and features four bedrooms. Its inaugural journey will be along the Southern comfort route.

Canada Coast to Coast Rail Adventure

Image credit: Mark Jinks Photography

This immersive 21-day journey is no mere train ride - the entire experience includes Air Canada flights to and from London, hotel stays in several major Canadian cities and sightseeing at some of the country’s greatest natural attractions such as Niagara Falls and Banff National Park. One of the most exciting parts of the trip is a trip on a car known as the Rocky Mountaineer, where you will travel ‘Gold Leaf’ class through stunning scenery while benefiting from exceptional service and a fantastic menu. There is perhaps no better way to explore Canada and to soak in its unique culture.