From the steam generating locomotive engine of 1804 to trains like the Shanghai Maglev that run at a speed of 251 mph, a lot has changed in the railway industry.
This evolution in the railway industry has given way to the expansion of trains and routes so mesmerising, they make the legendary Hogwarts Express seem modest in comparison.
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Zooming past countries and cities; personal butlers, teak wood baths, gourmet dining and luxe sleeping suites are just a few of the perks you can expect as you climb on board these whimsical carriers.Don’t agree with us? Scroll through for a peek at what luxury trains around the world look like and the destinations they whiz past.
At the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, adventure and style are intimately bound in journeys that crisscross romantic European cities such as Paris, Venice, Budapest and Bucharest. An icon of true Art Deco, vintage cabins, opulent interiors, polished wood, sparkling crystals and plush fabrics welcome passengers as they step inside the luxurious train. Starting 2018, the luxury express will see the opening of three new suites each designed to reflect the spirit of the city the train travels through, namely; Paris, Venice and Istanbul.
Decorated with classic pieces and style from a time when India was still ruled by royalty, Maharajas’ Express is often referred to as a palace-on-wheels. The train also ranks high on the quality of service they provide, be it the invisible butler that caters to your every whim and fancy or the smiling restaurant staff always eager to serve you. Experience the true beauty of a bygone era as you explore heritage Indian cities of Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur and sites such as the Taj Mahal with the Maharajas’ Express.
Golden Eagle Luxury Trains
The Golden Eagle Luxury Trains promise passengers a private train experience with well-appointed en-suite cabins along with a well-equipped Bar Lounge Car and restaurant cars, lest the need of socialising takes over. Out of its many routes, the Arctic Explorer is what draws the most attention. Explore the beautiful cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg and traverse through the Norwegian Arctic Circle to glimpse the Aurora Borealis, all while enjoying hot gourmet meals in your private train cabin.
The Rocky Mountaineer
Ranked as one of the most spectacular journeys in the world, the Rocky Mountaineer, a Canadian rail tour company, takes its passenger on a dream-like journey through the Canadian Rockies, passing through the very scenic Banff National Park with glittering lakes and untamed wilderness. This luxury train comes with glass dome cars for viewing the best sights, plush seating, impeccable service, gourmet meals (salmon, of course) and even offers passengers the option to hop onboard an Alaskan cruise, for those who wish to take a detour.
Outdoing innovation and luxury in a single stretch, Shiki-Shima, the yet to be launched Japanese luxe train is already booked until April 2018! The train that will traverse through unexplored eastern Japanese countryside will cater to only 34 passengers at a time and is equipped with a Michelin accreditation restaurant, a futuristic observation car and opulent private suites; all packaged neatly in one narrow gauge train with shining golden exteriors.
An African holiday makes a safari visit mandatory, whether you do so from a luxe glamping resort or from the lounge of a Rovos Rail carriage. This South African luxury carrier offers passengers multiple routes to select from including, a 10-day African Golf Safari as the train rumbles from Pretoria to Cape Town. With a maximum speed of 37 mph and classic Victorian style interiors, passengers can take in the sprawling vistas of Africa’s wetlands and wildlife in a leisurely manner from the open observation deck made just for this purpose.
The Belmond Andean Explorer
Inviting, indulgent and refined; the Belmond Andean Explorer, which is also one of the highest train routes in the world, is the ultimate way to explore the Peruvian Andes. This luxury train that caters to only 48 passengers at a time comes with a piano car, a boutique, a library and even a spa car for that last-minute facial or a rejuvenating massage. All this and with itineraries that take passengers through Peruvian highlands, Andean plains and the stunning Lake Titicaca, the Belmond Andean Explorer is the perfect way to make your South American journey an unforgettable one.
If these luxury rides are not enough, here's a glimpse of trains in France operating from Paris to Versailles that look like the opulent palace of Louis XVI.