Travelling 5 Lesser Known Rail Journeys

The chances are we can all name five, possibly ten tried and tested rail journeys that have acquired global fame and that feature highly on personal must do lists.

More often than not the memorable favourites are rail experiences of high-end distinction and renown for a mystique that has built up around them, as much as the journey itself.  The Orient Express, Rocky Mountaineer, The Ghan, Indian-Pacific, Trans-Siberian Express.  Well that is five – how many more can you conjure up?

Unsurprisingly, there is a myriad of rail journeys that are well worth enjoying in distant destinations that can often be woven seamlessly into a holiday itinerary.  So here’s five that you possibly haven’t heard of, but maybe one day would like to try.   And it goes without saying that when you get to the point of looking to book, your friends here at LOCO Journeys will be more than happy to help you out.

Kandy to Ella Train – Sri Lanka

Promoted by some as the world’s most beautiful train trip,  this is certainly a very scenic and enjoyable journey. You can travel in either direction on one of three trains per day, mixing with locals and also the tourists who are travelling for the same reason as you –  clamouring for views which are simply breathtaking. The green carpet of tea bushes hug the hillsides whilst colourful sari-dressed tea pickers polka dot the sea of green.  Is it the most beautiful train journey in the world – well that’s for you to decide.

The BAM – Siberia, Russia

The Baikal-Amur Magistral mainline stretches for 3,140km crossing the remoter reaches of Siberia to the terminus port of Sovetskaya Gavan.  Very much the train less taken compared to its more southerly cousin, the BAM line runs parallel to the Trans-Siberian railway but 400km further north.  The BAM can often seem like a world away.  Its towns and villages remain seemingly untouched by the rapid changes transforming the rest of the country, its passengers are predominantly locals, and foreign travellers are practically unknown.  If you’re looking for a more intrepid trans-siberian experience, maybe this is it.

Madaraka Express – Kenya

Opened as recently as May 2017, the new Mombasa to Nairobi standard gauge railway has revolutionised rail travel from the capital to coast.  Due to the terrain, large portions of the new line travels on viaducts, cuttings and embankments – many of which help the local wildlife pass beneath the line without crossing the tracks.  The Madaraka Express has cut the journey time from the colonial built railway from anything up to 24 hours (at its worst) to 4.5 hours.  Experience a holiday by rail from the city to the beach in no time at all.

The Little Yellow Train – Pyranees, France

For a quirky rail journey, the trains of the Pyrenees certainly fit the bill. The Yellow Train makes its journey across suspension bridges, burrowing under hills and tunnels. Some carriages are open air, making it an excellent way to enjoy the scenery of the Pyrenees. The line rises through dramatic scenery from an altitude of 427 metres at its lower terminus at Villefranche de Conflent, to a summit at Bolquère Eyne, France’s highest railway station, lying at an altitude of 1592 metres (5226 ft) above sea level. It then drops down to a high Pyrenean valley, to its terminus at Latour de Carol. 

The Seasider – New Zealand

Often left in the shadow of it’s more illustrious sibling the Taeiri Gorge Railway, The Seasider is a train journey of outstanding character in its own right.  Travelling from the world renown Dunedin Railway Station, this rail journey will take you to alongside the beautiful bays of the Otago Harbour and coastline to historic yet funky Oamaru, the Moeraki Boulders or as far as wonderful Waitati.

For more information on these trips, do contact us on 03 441 4735 or email hello@locojourneys.co.nz

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