Take the world’s top trains

From the frozen wastes of Siberia to our own back­yard, there are plenty of ad­ven­ture train jour­neys to sat­isfy even the most jaded trav­eller, writes Brian May

Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - ALL ABOARD -

MARK Smith is a Bri­tish train buff and travel writer known as ‘The Man in Seat 61’ who has trav­elled the world’s finest trains, al­ways in seat 61.

“A great train ride is that triple com­bi­na­tion of the scenery out­side the train, the ex­pe­ri­ence in­side the train and the people you meet and things that hap­pen on that spe­cific trip which make it mem­o­rable,” Mark Smith says.

“Fly­ing has lost its glam­our. It’s time to re­dis­cover real travel by train where the jour­ney it­self is an ad­ven­ture.”

So don’t just watch the train go past, jump on and go on an ad­ven­ture to re­mem­ber. cof­fee and soft drinks and large re­clin­ing seats. Sil­ver Leaf Ser­vice in­cludes break­fast and lunch with free al­co­hol and glass view­ing domes. Pre­mium Gold Leaf Ser­vice has a dou­bledeck dome car and meals served in a 36-seat din­ing car, with crys­tal glass­ware . Four-day/three-night First Pas­sage To The West jour­neys from $1296 (rock­y­moun­taineer.com). Air Canada has busi­ness class one-way fares Van­cou­ver to Cal­gary from $1158. Ori­en­tal Ex­press from Sin­ga­pore through Malaysia to Bangkok.

The old-world ex­pe­ri­ence starts at Sin­ga­pore’s Art Deco rail­way sta­tion, built in 1932, and continues with the el­e­gant lounges and suites, the haute cui­sine and su­perb ser­vice that were so much a part of that era.

The four pri­vate cabin cat­e­gories are Pull­man Sin­gle, Pull­man, State Cabin and Pres­i­den­tial Cabin. Most of­fer twin-share ac­com­mo­da­tion; all are fully aircon­di­tioned with en­suite shower and toi­let.

Get an un­ob­structed view of the pass­ing scenery from the ob­ser­va­tion car, with has teak floor­ing, rat­tan fur­ni­ture and

Smith says there’s al­ways a cheaper way to mimic the Ori­en­tal Ex­press’s trip.

“There are reg­u­lar sched­uled daily trains which cost about $90 for the same jour­ney,” Smith says. “You don’t get the deluxe bar cars with pianos, but you do get to meet the lo­cals.” pot­ted plants cre­at­ing the feel of a colo­nial ve­randa. Three-night trips from Sin­ga­pore to Bangkok start from $2860 a per­son ($5710 pp in­clud­ing all meals), en­ter­tain­ment and sight­see­ing (belmond.com, ph (freecall) 1800 000 395). Sin­ga­pore Air­lines has one-way busi­ness class fares from Sin­ga­pore to Bangkok from $890.

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