Railway Children: Travel On The World’s Essential Train Journeys

Train journeys are adventures that belong to another time. Taking the whole ‘slow travel’ thing to a new level, train trips help us to see the world anew, escaping our impossibly paced bubbles for a matter of hours to sit back and simply drink in the view around us. Disconnected from the surrounding world, the train is often a world unto itself, giving the traveler permission to stop thinking, quit working, and just exist in the moment. Across the world, there are countless train trajectories that one simply must see to believe. These railway journeys are one of a kind, cutting through parts of the world that you might not have known existed. After all, sometimes the journey is the most important part of the trip.

If long mountain stretches are your kind of thing, it pays to head somewhere in which glacial views are guaranteed. While you might have your sights set on the celebrated Glacier Express, the journey can cost a great deal of money, potentially slimming down your travel options when you get to the other side. If you’re on the hunt for stunning European views at a fraction of the price, opting for the Golden Pass Route through Switzerland can provide everything that you could possibly want in a railway journey. Lakes, mountain passes, and glaciers all pop up throughout the trip, giving you an impossibly close glance into what might seem like another world.

Setting your sights on Europe can serve you very well indeed; with so much diversity in the geography, the place can uncover any kind of landscape, giving you the chance to see a great deal in one journey. Opting for the Cuneo-Ventimiglia-Nice line will show you vast stretches of Italy and parts of France, presenting the very best of each country. The mountains slowly give way to the ocean, as the landscape becomes ever so slightly more open. The views on the trip are so changeable that you’re guaranteed to be entertained for hours, no matter how long you decide to stay on the train.

Heading east will always serve you well. Japan is a country marked by differences, giving way to a number of diverse, changeable landscapes. While getting up close and personal with the place will give you a one of a kind experience, it works just as well when viewed from afar, showing off its gradually changing landscapes. Hop on the train at Tokyo and follow the railway as it weaves and winds its way towards Sapporo. The trajectory is best viewed during the winter months, during which time the dramatic environmental changes and the differing landscapes can be best seen.

Russia is a country practically made for the railway, and large stretches of its mammoth landscape are best viewed from any number of the train trajectories that make their way through the place. While the trans-Siberian and Mongolian railways get a lot of attention, there are alternative journeys that are just as worth seeing as their famous counterparts. The Baikal-Amur Mainline is something of a hidden gem, sometimes overlooked in travel circles. Taking in the remote Baikal and Amur regions, the railway shows a side of the country practically void of human intervention, bringing you up close and personal with the definition of wilderness.

The African Savannah is another vast stretch of land that works well with the concept of rail travel. The train from Tanzania to Zambia offers a great opportunity to see the stretch of land from an alternative viewpoint, showing you details that you might not otherwise get a chance to see. The entire journey takes between four and five days in total, taking you to the forefront of some of the wildest places on earth. Book a month in advance to ensure your seat and sit back to watch the show.

Train travel offers a sort of adventure that you might be hard pressed to find elsewhere. Shining a light on forgotten areas of the earth’s surface, the journeys give an overview of the world at large, collecting snapshots of vast spaces along the way.

Hannah Lamarque
Hannah is a freelance writer and copy editor living in Europe. She writes about travel, art, design and culture and loves discovering hidden places in the cities that she visits.