Four fabulous train trips

It has been over two centuries since British engineer Richard Trevithick did work for the first time on a steam locomotive. Since then the railways have evolved so much that some have lost that magic that was the train ride in their origins and how well it was described in the novels and stories of Graham Greene, Agatha Christie or Paul Theroux. However, there are still many miles of rails loaded with the same romance of those early trips. For example eurostar still retains its greatness. Here goes a list of some of the most fabulous tours that can be done by train.

1 – Bergensbanen

Not coincidentally, it appears first in this list. Considered by many as the world’s most beautiful train, Bergensbanen links the cities of Oslo and Bergen in one of the highest railway routes in Europe. The beautiful landscape along the 500 km route is brutal: rivers, glaciers, mountains, torrents of water, snow and even fjords. An ecstasy that reaches its peak when passing through the Hardangervidda National Park point, the highest plateau in Europe and a true spectacle of nature to be observed from the passenger window of the train. This is just as lovely a trip in winter as it is in summer, but maybe the spring is the ideal time to do so.

Bergensbanen

Bergensbanen

2 – Transiberian

This is the most extraordinary journey to do by train today. From Moscow to Vladivostok across the world’s largest country, 9,289 miles across the Russian steppe in a journey that takes about seven days and occurring in up to eight different time zones. The Siberian is the best way to soak up the Russian culture. Although officially the train#1 is the one who makes the journey directly, what matters in this trip is not the train but the route, it is even advisable to make stops in cities like Novosibirsk and Irkutsk with corresponding visit to Lake Baikal.

3 – Nouadhibou – Zouérat “The longest train in the world”

From the sandy Noadhibou ramshackle town on the northern coast of Mauritania, part a freight train towards the Zouérat mining town in the eastern part of the country. this is considered the “longest train in the world” by convoy length, not route. It is one of the best kept secrets in Africa. Comprised of over 200 cars that extend over four kilometers, it is one of the most intrepid travel trains that can be done today but not the most comfortable. Anyone who ventures to make this fascinating course must be provided with warm clothes for chilly Saharan nights and a handkerchief to protect from the sun and sand clouds that occasionally wind up in Mauritania. However, any suffering is justified by the joy and magic of the Sahara in the starry desert nights and the wonderful people you meet along the way. In the real world there are still things, this trip is one of them.

Train of the Clouds

Train of the Clouds

4 – Train to the Clouds

From the General Belgrano station in Salta Argentina, this is one of the highest railway journeys of the world: The train to the clouds. Hard to believe as in the early 30’s, the American engineer Richard Maury managed to design it in such a bizarre way, without making use of the rack system. Passing by the Andean mountains, crossing nearly 3,000 meters between 1,187 initial meters from the city of Salta with 4,200 as the highest point, this is truly a train among the clouds at some point. The answer is shelling along unfit for travelers with vertigo, in which case the train makes risky jogs and zig-zags. The journey is slow, as the train does not exceed 35 km/h, so it covering the 217 miles between the Viaduct Skip Polvorilla takes about sixteen hours.

Amazing train photos: Uncornered Market, NSB.

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