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.
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