TRAINS are the most comfortable and relaxing of any form of long distance travel. There is something magical about taking a long distance train trip. Whether you are seeking spectacular scenery, luxurious carriages, heritage steam trains or epic long-distance journeys, perhaps aboard a sleeper, there is no better perspective on the world than from a railway carriage.
New high-speed lines continue to open across the world but it is the slow trains that are at the heart of the most delightful rail travel. Travel on such trains is about deceleration rather than speed. The journey becomes a time to relax rather than a stressful interlude between home and destination. On a train distances are amplified, time slows down as the scenery crosses your field of vision in slow motion. In an age of packed itineraries and instant gratification the change in pace aboard a train is inspirational, evoking days gone by when the pace of travel was much more leisurely.
Think of a seat on the Rocky Mountaineer as it rolls gently through untamed wilderness in the Canadian Rockies scaling the sides of mountains or weaving alongside steep canyons. Or viewing the beauty of the Blue Mountains and the vastness of the Australian desert from your berth on The Indian Pacific, one of the world’s great long-distance sleepers. Or a sumptuous silver-service meal aboard South Africa’s Blue Train. And then there is the Belmond, South America’s first Luxury sleeper train and one of the highest train trips in the world which travels from Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire across the Andean plains to the white city of Arequipa.
As the essayist A. P. Herbert once said: “Slow travel by train is almost the only restful experience left to us”.