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In these days of immediacy, where jet travel is king and the car our own private cocoon, rail travel is often overlooked or seen as the domain of the commuter. 

In certain parts of the world, however, taking the train enables you to experience a country from a whole new angle.

Whether it’s marvelling at the unrivalled efficiency of Japan’s bullet train network, indulging in the opulence of a journey on Rajasthan’s Palace on Wheels, or sharing a white-knuckle ride with some Ecuadorians around the switchback hairpins of the Devil’s Nose, travelling by train will certainly enhance your appreciation of the indigenous culture.

Our favourite train journeys

Indian Pacific Train, Perth

Indian Pacific - Australia

As the name implies, The Indian Pacific links two oceans in one of the world’s longest and greatest train journeys. Travelling from Sydney to Perth, or vice versa, it covers a distance of 2,720 miles over three nights.

The TranzAlpine Train, New Zealand

TranzAlpine Railway - New Zealand

Making the great traverse of the Southern Alps, the TranzAlpine train links Christchurch on the Pacific with Greymouth on the Tasman Sea, in a spectacular journey lasting four and a half hours.

The Skeena, Totem Deluxe

Skeena Train - Canada

Plunging deep into the wilds of British Columbia, the Skeena takes you on a 1,160 kilometre journey past the highest peaks of the Rockies, countless lakes, waterfalls, frontier settlements and forested mountain slopes.

Belmond Andean Explorer Sleeper Train

Andean Explorer - Peru

Puno is the place to board the Andean Explorer train to Cuzco. This spectacular rail journey, on a comfortable train with restaurant, bar and viewing carriage, takes about 10 hours.

Shinkansen

Japan’s bullet trains: an all-you-need-to-know guide

Japan has long been celebrated for its high-speed train innovations. Japan specialist Phil explains why, for him, Japan’s bullet trains are an ideal way to see the country. He shares his experiences riding the trains through Japan and how to incorporate them into your trip.