Train Travel: 5 Luxury Locomotives to Hop Aboard

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Travel can feel rushed nowadays. If you’re looking to slow down and revisit old world elegance when traveling, Anne Morgan Scully—president of McCabe World Travel—recommends doing so by train. “Train travel is really on the up,” she says. She adds that this form of travel provides guests with a “deep dive” into one area, allowing them to explore a certain region more. Tour groups are also smaller, creating a sense of community, which Scully notes may be idea for solo travelers. Hop aboard one of these five luxury trains and see a country in a new way.

Scully says the Belmond Royal Scotsman doesn’t move at night, providing guests with a good night’s rest. Courtesy of Belmond.

Belmond Royal Scotsman

Discover the best of Scotland, whether it be on the Scotch Malt Whisky Trail or the Grand Western Scenic Wonders trip, on the Belmond Royal Scotsman. Scully spent four nights exploring the Highlands on the train, and says the trip provided her with “extraordinary access” on tours—such as meeting the owners of a castle and having other one-on-one interactions. The train also offers local produce, featuring “rich game, seasonal seafood and wild salmon” frequently on the menu, according to the company. Scully described the dinners as “elegant” and worthy of a “five star” rating. Travelers can also relax at the spa, where Scully says she received one of the best facials she’s ever had—pretty impressive for a moving train. However, the train doesn’t move at night, according to Scully, allowing travelers to get a restful sleep.

On the Rocky Mountaineer, you can see land that would otherwise be inaccessible. Courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer.

Rocky Mountaineer

Explore the Canadian Rockies—usually considered inaccessible—in the Rocky Mountaineer. “With oversized domed windows, guests don’t miss a moment of the lush green forests, turquoise glacier-fed lakes, towering mountains and local wildlife,” says Alison Stewart, senior director of guest experience. The trip offers an array of activities, including a Victoria and whale watching excursion, a summit helicopter tour, a Banff to Calgary sightseeing adventure and a Jasper National Park tour. Travelers can even add an Alaska cruise to their trip. Onboard amenities include indulging in locally sourced ingredients inspired by the surrounding lands and diverse landscapes. “Throughout the journey, our guests dine on top-notch regionally inspired meals, and enjoy impeccable service and engaging storytelling from our team of hosts,” Stewart adds. Scully says traveling by train is a great way for guests to meet other travelers on board, which Stewart says is prominent on the Rocky Mountaineer.

The Piano Bar on board the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Courtesy of Belmond.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Want to see the best of what Europe has to offer? Scully recommends embarking on a journey in the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, where you’ll travel in style in restored 1920s cabins. Travel options include adventuring from Venice to Paris or Verona to London, allowing guests to see various landscapes—plus sample an assortment of local ingredients. Travelers can even begin their day with a celebration breakfast—and perhaps celebrate more later at the Champagne bar.

Belmond Grand Hibernian offers different tours across Ireland. Courtesy of Belmond.

Belmond Grand Hibernian

Boasting carriages named after Irish counties and inspired by Dublin’s traditional Georgian architecture, the Belmond Grand Hibernian takes guests on a journey throughout Ireland. Take your pick of how you want to explore the country—the Grand Tour of Ireland offers highlights of the entire country while the Legends and Loughs trip features “hidden gems of the Emerald Isle,” according to the company. Guests can relax in the Observation cart, which the company says “offers all the warmth of a classic saloon, with live musicians and animated storytelling.” This type of old-world elegance is why Scully recommends traveling by train.

The club lounge on the Rovos Rail.

Rovos Rail

Explore Cape Town, the Victoria Falls and much more of Africa onboard Rovos Rail. The train boasts air conditioning in all service and lounge cars, yet the windows remain open so guests can discover the sounds, sights and scents of Africa, according to the company. Guests are also provided with a host/ess who is available for room service at any time. Scully says train travel provides guests to go “in-depth in one area.” On Rovos Rails, this is made possible.

Courtesy Forbes

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