Golden Eagle

Europe
Luxury

No question about it: there is no better way to see Siberia. The Golden Eagle was launched in 2007 to much fanfare in Moscow. The UK operators of this train have made a huge push to up the ante with the Imperial Suite, as well as Gold and Silver Class accommodations, all with en-suite bathroom. The train also has two dining cars and a lounge car. It plies the famous Trans-Siberian route between Moscow and Vladivostok, as well as special tours of the Silk Road, Russia’s Arctic, Iran and the Caspian region.

Two Imperial Suites are available on all Golden Eagle departures. This type of compartment, the most spacious at 120 square feet, has been a huge success for luxury travelers. It offers a fixed king-sized bed, a dedicated dressing table, and lounge area. All passengers will enjoy the upgraded service, presence of a quality control manager and improved food and beverage service throughout the Golden Eagle.

Latest News: Click here for owner Owen Hardy’s blog on improvements in 2012 on the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express.

 

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE)

Europe
Luxury

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE), with its restored, 1920s vintage cars, is the world’s most authentic luxury train. Made famous in the Agatha Christie story, the train still runs on the legendary route from Paris to Istanbul. Many other itineraries are also available. They include Istanbul to Venice, and many itineraries including Venice, Krakow, Dresden, Prague and Paris.

Golden Eagle Danube Express

Europe
Luxury

The newly dubbed Golden Eagle Danube Express has a capacity of 56 passengers and comprises five sleeping cars, a lounge car and two dining cars.  Four of the sleeping cars contain Deluxe cabins; one car carries Heritage class cabins. Deluxe cabins are spacious and offer some of the best sleeping accommodations in mainland Europe.

Well-planned itineraries on the Golden Eagle Danube Express take in highlights of Eastern and Western Europe, such as Budapest, Prague and Sarajevo.  The train also ventures to Turkey and Iran on the fasicnating Jewels of Persia Heart of Persia tours.

Tours on the Golden Eagle Danube Express are fully inclusive (food, drinks, gratuties, touring, transfers), making it a truly worry-free adventure.

Belmond Royal Scotsman

Europe
Luxury

The Royal Scotsman is a standout train and one of our favorites in the world.

A small venue—just 40 passengers—it’s great for those who wish for a more intimate, luxury setting with gourmet, five-star dining, wine-pairing and superior service.

All the train’s cars, save the 1928-era diner, are of 1960s vintage equipment, but they have been recast into an Edwardian confection of varnished woods, polished brass and fine fabrics.

Simply put, it is one of our favorite hotel trains.

Latest News: Click here to see our video of Society President Eleanor Hardy’s May, 2012 trip on the Royal Scotsman.

El Transcantábrico

Europe
Luxury

The 52-passenger Clásico El Transcantábrico train, which traverses Northern Spain, started in 1983.  Its launching was one of the first stories in The International Railway Traveler, founded the same year. The train set has six sleepers, each with four double compartments with ensuite facilities.

In May, 2011, a new luxury service, called Gran Lujo, was inaugurated. It features all Preferente Suites, which are each half a train car. These cabins are about 129 square feet. This will make a huge difference to some travelers who require more space and private lounge area.

The Preferente Suites have a double bed, long sofa, flat-screen DVD, computer for your private use (wifi when in stations) and lots of storage in closets, under the bed, and under the sofa. The Gran Lujo train will only take 28 passengers, and thereby be able to offer a much more intimate travel experience for discriminating travelers. However, these cabins can also accommodate three persons.

Belmond Grand Hibernian

Europe
Luxury

The company that brings you the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and the Royal Scotsman has built another of its “Grand Hotels’ on wheels: the Belmond Grand Hibernian.

Debuting August 2016, the Belmond Grand Hibernian will be the first luxury overnight rail experience of its kind in Ireland.

The train “will tour the magnificent open countryside, dramatic coastal scenery and fascinating cities of both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland,” Belmond says.

Al-Andalus

Europe
Luxury

Southern Spain’s opulent, broad-gauge Al-Andalus returned to the rails May, 2012, with its 1920s-era cars newly renovated. The Al-Andalus includes bar, lounge and two dining cars, as well as all-en suite cabins. The train combines stellar service, exquisite Art Deco styling and excellent cuisine for a unique tour of Andalusia.  Maximum occupancy is 64 passengers. Please see IRT’s review of Al-Andalus in our Track 25 blog from spring, 2012.

Glacier Express

Europe
First-class

The Swiss proudly hail the Glacier Express as the world’s slowest express. The train takes almost eight hours and the services of two private, narrow-gauge railroads to traverse the 168 mountainous miles between two posh resorts—Zermatt and St. Moritz. The Alpine route of the Glacier Express is what makes this train so marvelous. A serious quibble: we long for the old, second-class equipment which allowed us to open windows and photograph the fantastic scenery.

Bergen Railway

Europe
First-class

The complete Oslo-Bergen line was opened in 1909 as the only year-round land transport between Norway’s two largest cities. The 300-mile length of track passes through 200 tunnels and 18 miles of snowsheds in addition to crossing more than 300 bridges. The scenery on the 7-hour Bergen Railway trip across the Hardanger plateau, the largest wilderness area in Europe, is breathtaking.

Bernina Express

Europe
Luxury

The spectacular Bernina line was completed in 1910 and is run by Rhaetian Railways. Beginning in Chur, St. Moritz or Davos, it passes the glaciers of Piz Bernina, making this the highest railway crossing in all of the Alps. It travels over 38 miles, climbing grades of up to 7%––without rack and pinion––to more than 7,391 feet at the Bernina Pass summit, and drops down to just 1,408 feet at Tirano, Italy.

Golden Pass Panoramic Express

Europe
First-class

Switzerland’s Panoramic Express trains boast vista-dome cars for maximum viewing of the spectacular mountain scenery between Montreux and Zweisimmen. Super Panoramic Express trains also have a special, eight-passenger viewing area in the front of the train, above the driver, for the ultimate in ringside seats.

Belmond British Pullman

Europe
Luxury

The British Pullman is a luxury, vintage day train that completes the British leg of Orient-Express journeys between Paris and London. Passengers from the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express debark in Calais, France, and board a special bus for the short “piggyback” train ride through the Eurotunnel to Folkestone. There, they board the British Pullman for the ride to London’s Victoria station. What’s not to love about this experience? Fabulous food, lovely scenery and riding on such a gorgeous and historic train.

 

Flam Railway

Europe
First-class

With the Flåm Railway, it’s what you see outside that counts. In about an hour, the line climbs some 2,833 feet from Flåm station, nestled in the innermost corner of the Aurlandfjord, to the mountain station at Myrdal on the Bergen Railway. On the 12.4-mile-long ride, you’ll see rivers that cut through deep ravines, waterfalls cascading down the sides of steep, snow-capped mountains and farms clinging dizzily to sheer slopes.

The Flåm Railway is one of the world’s steepest standard-gauge railways, with a gradient of 5.5%. The railway recently underwent a facelift; its new fleet of trains, in forest green livery, comprises five engines and 12 cars. It also boasts new interiors and a unique guide and loudspeaker service.