Mesmerize yourself with the view of stunningly beautiful railway tracks around the world
Travelling by train has its own charm. With constantly rising fuel prices and the premium cost of air travel, travelling by train is a preferred alternative for many. Not only it is an eco-friendly way of travelling and cheaper than flying, but the rail journeys also allow you to travel across several countries and experience many cultures, enjoy amazing views with ample time to soak up the atmosphere. Perhaps the most frightening railway lines in the world today are the 574.8Km/hr French TGV or the Chinese 430Km/hr Shanghai Maglev, that swoosh across the level countryside. But their speed negates the tingling roller coaster experience and the dizzying heights, when trains move along spindly bridges, across narrow railroad trestles, over the thunder of pounding surf or splashed through the mist of a waterfall and wound along the curves of a zigzag railway tracks helix to climb mountains.
Below are some of the most amazing train rides around the world. Several of these unique railway tracks are fully operating lines, while others operate today only as tourist attractions.
Maeklong’s food market on railway tracks
The food market in Maeklong, Thailand is located on top of the railway tracks. Several times a day, shopkeepers swiftly pack up their food stalls and pull back their canopies to let the trains pass. Once the trains have rumbled through, the crates of vegetables, fish and eggs are placed back into position and shoppers return to the railway tracks, which serve as a path through the market. This is one of the most interesting market place in the world.
Ukraine’s Tunnel of love
This gorgeous long, leafy tunnel looks like a green dream or a scene from a film. Rather unromantically, the tunnel is actually a 3Km section of private railway tracks. Located in the enchanting forest of Ukraine, near the town of Klevan, this luscious green tunnel provides passage for a private train, providing woods to a local factory. However, the trees make a green corridor, which attracts many couples as well as photographers, for its eye catching avenue. It is said that couples can come here to make a wish and if they are sincere in their love, it comes true.
Switzerland’s Landwasser Viaduct
Most of us might have seen something like this in the famous Harry Potter movies. Possibly one of the most famous railway viaduct in the world – this can be seen in most of the Swiss travel holiday brochures. With its 65m high pillars, tapering towards the top, the viaduct is one of the most elegant bridge constructions in Graubünden.
Romantic train journey under the cherry blossoms
If you like to enjoy cherry blossoms in Korea in an unique way, with some adventure and fun, you should go to the Gyeonghwa station. Railway services in and out of Gyeonghwa Station have been discontinued since 2006, but the station has been reborn as a popular tourist attraction for its picturesque cherry blossoms.
Gisborne, an airport with the railway track crossing
A 1939 steam train in the middle of an airport runway isn’t exactly a common sight! The Napier-Gisborne Railway Line is unique in that; it crosses the main runway of the Gisborne Airport. Often trains have to stop and seek clearance from the air traffic control tower to cross the runway.
Tren a las Nubes – Train to the Clouds (Argentina)
The Tren a las Nubes (Train to/of the Clouds) is a touristic train service in Salta Province, Argentina. At over 4,220 meters above the sea level, it’s the third highest railway track in the world. Originally built for economic and social reasons, it is now primarily a tourist attraction as a heritage railway. The railway track has 29 bridges, 21 tunnels, 13 viaducts, 2 spirals and 2 zigzags. The zigzags allow the train to climb, travelling back and forth parallel to the slope of the mountain.
Georgetown Loop Railroad (USA)
Completed in 1884, this spectacular stretch of three-foot narrow gauge railway track was considered an engineering marvel of its time. The thriving mining towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume lie two miles apart in a steep, narrow mountain canyon. To connect them, the railroad’s builders designed a ‘corkscrew’ route that travelled twice the distance, slowly gaining more than 600 feet in elevation. It included horseshoe curves, grades of up to 4% and four bridges across Clear Creek, including the massive Devil’s Gate High Bridge. The Colorado & Southern Railway operated the line for passengers and freight from 1899 to 1938, when it was abandoned. In 1973, the Colorado Historical Society began restoring the railroad as part of its 978-acre Georgetown Loop Historic Mining & Railroad Park. A replica of the High Bridge was completed in 1984 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its original construction.
The Glacier Express, Switzerland
A leisurely and visually delightful way to reach your ski resort or simply to enjoy the views, Switzerland’s Glacier Express railway is possibly the best scenic train route. For those looking for a quick-fix dose of Swiss magic, this one train ride is suitable; which spans almost the whole of Southern Switzerland and checks numerous boxes off the sightseeing list; crossing both the Rhone and the Rhine rivers, the towering Matterhorn mountain, the deep ravines of Gotthard Pass and climbing to 2033m over the Oberalp Pass. Winter is the best time to travel, when the snowfall leaves the countryside drenched in white, but the picturesque landscapes and quaint villages hold their own at any time of the year.
The Flåm Railway, Norway
Winding through the wild mountains of Myrdal in Western Norway, the Flåm railway is a tourist spectacle. Famed for both its scenic vistas and innovative engineering, the railway tunnels down the precipitous mountain slope into the Flåm Valley. The 20 Km descent is amongst the steepest in the world; twisting through yawning ravines, cascading waterfalls, remote Nordic farmhouses and snow-dusted mountain peaks.