Train travel may seem old-fashioned, but the specialist brochures still contain plenty of unforgettable rail trips.
The great routes along which classic steam trains once puffed still exist, and grand stations such as New York’s Grand Central or Istanbul’s Sirkeci Terminus – once the final stop for the Orient-Express – are worth a visit for the experience alone.
Still, nothing beats climbing aboard. Below are some great train journeys from Russia, Canada, Europe and Japan.
New York Grand Central, United States
One of the most romantic looking stations in the world, Grand Central Station certainly deserves its name. The setting for many a rendezvous – not to mention a fair few movies this a great place to start a journey, or simply stop for a drink. The spotless concourse sits under a roof painted with stars while outside a Tiffany glass clock facing 42nd street is surrounded by sculptures.
Leave for: New York State and Connecticut mainly, but head to Penn Station to jump on the Amtrak network to any station in America.
Sample product: Explore upstate New York on the Maple Leaf service, a beautiful 13hr train ride to Toronto through the Hudson Valley, Albany, Buffalo (famous for Buffalo wings) and Niagara Falls. Fares from £49 one way through International Rail
Yaroslavsky Rail Terminal, Russia
This tall-roofed Neorussian revival building, which was completed in 1904 and stands facing Komsomolskaya Square, looks like a fairytale castle. It is the busiest of all Moscow stations and is most famous as the start point for the longest train ride in the world.
Leave for:The Trans Siberian Express, of course, but also routes into the Russian Far East, Mongolia, and China.
Sample product: The Golden Eagle Trans Siberian Express, pictured, is one of the most luxurious trains in the world, offering facilities from power showers to LCD DVD TVs as it travels the 5,771 miles from Moscow to Vladivostok in 15 days.
Fares start from £6,795p/p twin-share or £9,595 single in gold class with GW Travel
London St Pancras, England
The main curved roof section of St Pancras railway station dates from 1868 and is fronted by St Pancras Chambers, a spectacular example of Victorian gothic architecture designed by George Gilbert Scott. It’s sandwiched between the British Library Kings Cross, where you can look for Harry Potter’s fictional Platform 9.
Leave for: Europe, when the new Eurostar terminal opens in mid-November and makes Paris a 2hrs 15mins train ride away and Brussels just one hour, 51 minutes from platform to platform.
Sample product: Leave London for Paris on Eurostar then on to Marseilles by TGV, taking in the Burgundy and Rhone Valley wine regions and Provence en route to the Cote d’Azur. Fares start at £109 return per person through Rail Europe.
Contact:Raileurope.co.uk or 08708 304 862.
Tokyo Station, Japan
Almost a mirror image of Amsterdam Centraal, Tokyo Station is one the earliest examples of Japan taking a western style and putting its own spin on it. In this case, the red brick Arts and Crafts exterior gives way to a bewildering array of tunnels and passages, full to bursting with commuters and slightly confused tourists.
Leave for: The rest of Japan, using the famed Shinkansen network, often referred to by its original project nickname, the Bullet Train. These Super Express trains come in many shapes and sizes from the classic 0 series to the bulbous-nosed 700 and sleek long-nosed 500 and are run at speeds of up to 300km/h (186mph), although a test record has seen one reach up to 443km/h (275mph).
Sample product: Tour Japan using both bullet and steam trains with an 18-day trip from Ffestiniog Travel, visiting Hiroshima, Kyoto and the Japanese Alps, from £3,100p/p including flights, transfers, a first-class Japan Rail Pass, B&B, some excursions and the services of a tour guide.
Contact:Festtravel.co.uk, 01766 512 400). Alternatively, book tickets only through International Rail.
Valencia Estacion del Norte, Spain
With its beautiful floral mosaics, this Art Nouveau building stands next to the impressive bull ring and is a perfect gateway for Valencia, a city that is fast becoming a must-see destination of old and new attractions.
Leave for: The rest of Spain, such is the great location of this coastal hub. Barcelona, with its gothic architecture and Gaudi masterpieces, is just three hours away, as is Madrid and its great galleries. The Moorish cities of Cordoba and Granada are further away, but can be reached in seven hours.
Sample product: Fares for Barcelona start at £24.50 one way with Rail Europe while International Rail also offers Madrid, Cordoba or Granada from £30.
Pacific Central Station, Vancouver, CanadaAside from the neon red glow of the lettering on the top of this large building the only thing to get excited about at Pacific Central Station is the prospect of what is to come after you have left.
Leave for: The Rockies on the Rocky Mountaineer, which travels to Banff National Park, or travel to the other side of Canada through the plains and the major cities of Toronto and Montreal on The Canadian.
Sample product: A 16-day trip including two days on Rocky Mountaineer with Gold Leaf service and three days on The Canadian, staying in superior hotels and taking in Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, Toronto and Montreal starts at £2,740 excluding taxes and flights with Rocky Mountaineer Vacations.
This is a community-moderated forum.
All post are the individual views of the respective commenter and are not the expressed views of Travel Weekly.
By posting your comments you agree to accept our Terms & Conditions.