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
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.