Australia’s transcontinental Indian Pacific offers a twice-weekly service in both directions between Perth and Sydney, via Adelaide, across more than 2,704 miles. Almost 300 miles of it is across the longest straight track in the world, the Nullarbor Plain. The journey takes three nights, and our travelers report it’s frequently a very jolly departure, with many Aussies traveling the route, especially around holiday periods.
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The Ghan’s wild history started in 1878. That year, construction began on a line from Port Augusta. For about 50 years, until 1929, the last leg to Alice Springs was on Afghan camels, and that’s where today’s train gets it name. The Alice to Darwin “Top End” route, dreamed of for more than a century, started construction in 2001. The first train arrived Darwin in 2004. The service has been swamped with travelers. It takes 48 hours—two nights on board—to travel from Adelaide to Darwin over 1,852 miles of track. The Ghan has added Platinum luxury-class service. Currently it runs twice a week from April to October – but just once a week year round. Urgent to know: do not book your international air until we have confirmed your space on the trains! Schedules subject to change.
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.
The most luxurious train in North America is now offered exclusively as a whole-train charter. Up to 30 persons can pretend to be royalty and come aboard to sample this train’s five-star dining, open-platform observation areas, several small salons, and large compartments with private, ensuite shower, toilet and sink. The train and its superb staff combine outstanding scenery, exclusive visits and elegant musical events with the top-notch service and cuisine. It all results in one word: “Wow!” The total RCP package is matched by just a few trains in the world. It’s tops in the Western Hemisphere.
Many of the cars for the Royal Canadian Pacific (RCP) train were built between 1917 and 1931 and were used as business cars for the Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR).