Rail jour­neys

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DU­RANGO & SIL­VER­TON NAR­ROW GAUGE RAIL­ROAD

built to haul gold and sil­ver ore from mines high up in colorado’s san Juan moun­tains, this ven­er­a­ble nar­row gauge rail­way has op­er­ated be­tween Du­rango and the min­ing town of sil­ver­ton since 1882. the breath­tak­ing route fol­lows the an­i­mas river, skirt­ing canyon walls and sheer drops. steam en­gines run the 90-mile round-trip in sum­mer while diesel-pow­ered trains take to the track in win­ter. look out for wildlife such as black bears, moun­tain lions and moose.

GRAND CANYON RAIL­WAY

opened in 1901, this his­toric 65-mile ari­zona train ex­cur­sion from Williams to the Grand canyon’s south rim takes two hours and 15 min­utes each way, trav­el­ling through high desert and pine for­est land­scapes. re­opened in 1989 af­ter a 21-year clo­sure, its re­stored car­riages in­clude vin­tage Pull­man cars, ob­ser­va­tion cars and two new lux­ury dome cars. they are pulled by diesel lo­co­mo­tives, al­though steam en­gines op­er­ate on the first satur­day of the month dur­ing sum­mer.

COAST STARLIGHT

this spec­tac­u­lar 36-hour am­trak train cov­ers al­most 1,400 miles be­tween seat­tle and los an­ge­les, hug­ging the Pa­cific coast­line for long stretches and pass­ing the cas­cade moun­tains, mount rainier and Puget sound. It also takes in santa bar­bara, san Fran­cisco, sacramento and Port­land. Watch spec­tac­u­lar vis­tas un­fold from the sight­seer lounge car or the Pa­cific Par­lour car, with its comfy couches and free Wi-Fi. the train fea­tures sleep­ing and din­ing cars and also of­fers busi­ness class.

CASS SCENIC RAIL­ROAD

this veteran line in West vir­ginia’s moun­tains be­gan in 1901 to trans­port felled trees to a sawmill in cass. re­stored orig­i­nal log­ging lo­co­mo­tives have di­rect gear­ing, help­ing each wheel cope with the steep slopes. they pull pas­sen­ger cars – many of them con­verted log­ging flat-cars – up switch­backs through a forested state park for more than four hours to the sum­mit of bald knob, the third­high­est point in West vir­ginia. en­joy glo­ri­ous views from the peak.

MOUNT WASHINGTON COG RAIL­WAY

no trip to new Hamp­shire would be com­plete with­out vis­it­ing mount Washington, new eng­land’s high­est peak. reach the top aboard the world’s first moun­tain­climb­ing cog rail­way, dat­ing from 1869. three-hour round-trip jour­neys in replica coaches of­fer un­ri­valled panora­mas of the White moun­tains and be­yond. ex­cur­sions run from late april to novem­ber, and daily in sum­mer. biodiesel lo­co­mo­tives op­er­ate most trips but vin­tage coal­fired steam trains run early-morn­ing trips daily dur­ing the high sea­son.

NAPA VAL­LEY WINE TRAIN

travel in style through one of the world’s top wine­grow­ing re­gions aboard el­e­gant, re­stored 100-year-old Pull­man car­riages on a 36-mile round-trip jour­ney be­tween napa and st He­lena in north­ern cal­i­for­nia. Dur­ing the three-hour jour­ney guests en­joy gourmet meals pre­pared in three on-board kitchens, with an ex­ten­sive list of napa val­ley wines to ac­com­pany them.

PIC­TURED main im­age: am­trak's scenic coastal starlight route; Inset: the Du­rango & sil­ver­ton nar­row Gauge rail­road

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