The right track

Dis­cover the world’s most ro­man­tic rail jour­neys, from the An­des to the Cana­dian Rock­ies. By Alex Greig.

Qantas - - Qnews. -


Bears may stop honey-seek­ing (or what­ever it is bears do in their down­time) to idly watch the Rocky Moun­taineer (rock­y­moun­taineer. com) as it carves through the Cana­dian Rock­ies on its jour­ney from Van­cou­ver to Banff. This is the only rail ser­vice tak­ing pas­sen­gers on the First Pas­sage to the West, a his­toric route con­nect­ing the east and west of Canada.


The seven-day trip from Moscow to Vladi­vos­tok – aboard the time­lessly glam­orous Tran­sSiberian Rail­way (tran­ssiberian. – is one of the long­est rail jour­neys but we guar­an­tee time will fly as you zip from one ex­otic Rus­sian town to an­other.


South Amer­ica’s first lux­ury sleeper train tra­verses the var­ied ter­rain of the An­des, across jagged moun­tains dot­ted with al­pacas and through tra­di­tional vil­lages, with a con­nec­tion to Peru’s pin­na­cle, Machu Pic­chu. On one of the high­est rail routes in the world, the Bel­mond An­dean Ex­plorer (bel­ plots a ver­tig­i­nous course from Are­quipa to Cuzco (both World Her­itage-listed cities) on one- and two-night itin­er­ar­ies.


Ja­pan is known for its su­per-fast trains but Shiki-shima ( is an en­tirely dif­fer­ent beast, en­cour­ag­ing you to savour the jour­ney rather than speed­ily ar­rive at your des­ti­na­tion. Es­chew­ing olde-worlde looks and go­ing fu­tur­is­tic, the bou­tique sleeper train un­der­takes two- to four-day trips, in­clud­ing one from Tokyo to the is­land of Hokkaido in the north.


Mur­der mys­ter­ies, fur stoles and flap­per types clutch­ing over­flow­ing coupes of cham­pagne – the Ori­en­tEx­press is syn­ony­mous with in­trigue and glam­our. The orig­i­nal Ori­en­tEx­press ceased op­er­a­tions in 2009; now Bel­mond (bel­ runs sev­eral high-end ser­vices along the line, in­clud­ing the orig­i­nal Paris-toIs­tan­bul route. The five-night trip de­parts just once a year and is as op­u­lent as it was in its 1930s hey­day. For the 14 great­est rail jour­neys in the world, go to trav­elin­sider.qan­

(Clock­wise from top) The Bel­mond An­dean Ex­plorer; the Art Deco in­te­rior of the Venice Sim­plon- Ori­ent-Ex­press; the Rocky Moun­taineer

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