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Because you can't spend all day every day journeying around IgoUgo, editors round up the highlights: members' notable trips, newest reviews, favorite destinations, contests, and more. Have a question or idea? Let us know!

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IgoUgo's Top Ten Train Rides

IgoUgo's Top Ten Train Rides Photo

Photo by raymond longaray

Posted on May 11, 2012 in Best of Travel

All aboard! Tomorrow is National Train Day, and we can't think of a better way to celebrate than to list off our 10 favorite train trips around the world. We love trains here at IgoUgo- you don't have to drive, you can enjoy the scenery, and they connect some of our favorite cities. Train travel is making  a big comeback thanks to a combination of lower prices and romanticized travel-nostalgia and although many infamous lines such as the Orient Express are no longer in service, thousand and thousand of miles are available to travelers. We list below some of our favorite stories of our favorite lines from our members that were lucky enough to ride them.


10.) Trans-Siberian Railway
Russia, Moscow to Vladivostok, 5772 miles + service lines to North Korea, Mongolia, China

Photo by sararevell

"Looking out of the window of our peaceful first class train cabin, it was hard to comprehend how anyone could survive being out in the Siberian wilderness for very long. Even now, towns and homes are few and far between and the environment looked bleak. On the morning of our second day, we began to see patches of snow, which grew in size the closer we got to Irkutsk." -Traveling the Trans-Siberian & Mongolian Railways


9.) Douro Railway Line
Portugal, Ermesinde to Pocinho, 101 miles

Photo by beautysan

"Words and pictures cannot justify the beauty of Duoro Valley. The further east you travel, the more scenic it gets. The train ride starts from Porto, snakes down Duoro Valley by hugging the Duoro river, through the narrow gorge at Tua, to the calm opening towards Pocinho. I would recommend taking the train early in the morning when the valley is still shrouded in the morning fog." -Whirlwind Tour or Portugal


8.) Bullet Train (Shinkansen)
Japan, Tokyo to Shin-Osaka/multiple lines, 241 mile average

Photo by gsingh

"The Japanese bullet train, or shinkansen which means 'new trunk line,' comes in many different types and models, which go at many different speeds.We rode the Nozomi Shinkansen which goes 175 miles per hour! I couldn't even tell that I was actually on a train. It felt more like an airplane ride." -Tokyo, Takamatsu, Kyoto


7.) Empire Builder
USA, Chicago to Seattle or Portland, 2257 miles

Photo by MilwVon

"In the spirit of "the train ride is part of the adventure" and everything else relatively the same, taking the train seems like a no-brainer to me. At the very least, I think everyone owes it to themselves to take at least one Amtrak adventure in their lifetime." -Trains, Planes, or Automobiles??


6.) West Highland Line
Scotland, Mallaig to Glasgow, 164 miles

Photo by drever

"Finally we were off with the engine belching steam and smoke and perhaps occasionally fire. This track notorious for its gradients and tight curves, neither of which are locomotive friendly forced some tremendous demonstrations of the steam engine hard at work – sights and sounds which we enjoyed from the comfort of the train. We had a route map allowing us to follow our progress." -Exploring West Scotland


5.) Flam Railway (Flamsbana)
Norway, Myrdal to Flam, 12.6 miles

Photo by karly07

"All in all, the scenery that you will see both on the way to Mrydal and on the return journey to Flam, (if you select a return ticket) is spectacular and you are continually surrounded by breathtaking views, waterfalls, clifftop farms, zig zag hair pin mountain roads between villages etc. You will not want to take your eyes off the side windows as you climb up through the Flam Valley." -An Independent Tour of Norway on a Modest Budget


4.) Durango and Silverton Railroad
USA, Durango to Silverton, 45 miles

Photo by rufusni

"As we started to climb out the scenery became more spectular with forests, looking down in the river canyon beneath. The mountains rising above. Later we travelled alongside the river level, with its beautiful blue-green colour. It is quite a rocky ride because of the narrow gauge. It was orignally built to bring gold and silver ore down from the mountains...but also carried passengers. It has been used for 128 years. Normally using steam trains ...but if fire risk is high they switch engines. They have to check the track before and after each train to check" -Days in Durango


3.) Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
India, New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling, 53 miles

Photo by koshkha

"Despite my love-hate relationship with toy trains, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was one of the key attractions behind our decision to go to Darjeeling. This railway is so important that it has UNESCO World Heritage Status, an exceptionally rare accolade and a symbol of both the amazing engineering achievement and the railway's historical role in opening up the area to tourism." -Darjeeling- The City in the Clouds


2.) Glacier Express
Switzerland, St. Moritz to Zermatt, 181 miles

Photo by jemery

"From the quaint mountain city of Zermatt, Switzerland, a meter-gauge railroad winds down a steep, narrow river canyon to the Rhone Valley, beginning the trans-Alpine journey of the Glacier Express to St. Moritz. It's far too steep for a conventional locomotive; ours switches to rack-and-cogwheel drive for the more formidable grades. My guidebook says we’ll encounter 291 bridges --- including Europe’s highest --- and 91 tunnels en route." -'Glacier Express' over the Alps


1.) Alaska Railroad
USA, Seward to Fairbanks, 470 miles

Photo by lwrbva

"This was a great trip. It is a well-run operation, and the staff is very nice. They put airlines to shame. Even their baggage handling is amazing. They get the luggage to people’s hotels in Denali, and they get it off the train quickly back in Anchorage. The scenery was beautiful and varied, and we saw moose and birds and salmon from the train. The train passed through thick forests, along streams and rivers, and open areas affording views of mountain ranges. There were clearly drier areas with very different vegetation and other areas of ponds and marshes." -Alaskan Adventure

Posted by jhartmann13 (JJ Hartmann)

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