For most people, taking the train is seen as a more practical and faster way to get to and from work or any other destination or activity. But for the rich and famous, they board certain trains not just to get to their intended destination, but also to have leisure. Yes, luxurious private trains — many of them antiquated — are updated and fitted with elegant furniture, and oftentimes combined with the modern conveniences and even the latest gadgetry. Many of these deluxe trains have an onboard bar and restaurant that serves haute cuisine. Some of them even have a smoking lounge and an amazing view deck!
It is true that the journey matters more than the destination… especially when you can afford to ride inside one of those lavish coaches! Most of us mere mortals can only dream of riding in a luxury train and having a romance on the rails…
Here are some of the luxurious trains that are still in operation:
1. Rovos Rail
Rovos Rail is a private railroad company based in Pretoria, South Africa. It serves several routes including Cape Town, Duban and Victoria Falls. Entering in one of the coaches, it feels like you’re stepping back in the Victorian era with elegant wood furniture and panelings. Of course, Rovos Rail won’t be left out in the present era because it is also equipped with the most modern conveniences that make your journey a comfortable and pleasurable one.
It has an ultra-elegant dining car, where you can enjoy the best of the local South African cuisine — only made a bit more grandiose. Enjoy the flawless hotel service as you’re having your scenic ride.
You will also feel more secure as your personal and most important belongings are kept inside in the train’s safety vaults.
2. Rocky Mountaineer
This award-winning Canadian rail service is ideal for tourists who wish to experience the breathtaking natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains. It offers tour packages that will specifically cater to the tourist’s preferences and budget.
Rocky Mountaineer offers three types of service: the Gold Leaf Service, the Silver Leaf Service, and the Red Leaf Service. Among the three, the Gold Leaf Service is obviously the most deluxe, featuring custom-designed, bi-level, glass-domed coaches, which allow you to enjoy near-full views of the Rocky Mountain scenery as you’re having your gourmet lunch on the rails. Other accommodations include a dining room as well as complimentary drinks and snacks. The seats can be rotated to accommodate dining.
3. Palace on Wheels
Palace on Wheels was launched in 1982 and became India’s first luxury train with a hotel service. For the whole week, Palace on Wheels gives tourists the chance to explore the most attractive spots in Rajasthan — the state is a popular tourist destination for its historical buildings as well as its vibrant local arts and culture.
Palace on Wheels pampers its patrons like royalty as it offers a host of excellent services such as fine dining, a lounge, bar, saloons, and first-class suites. The railroad journey ends in Agra where visitors will get to gasp at the sight of the iconic Taj Mahal.
4. Venice Simplon Orient Express
Got a hankering for traveling Europe by train? You will get to do so by boarding the Venice Simplon Orient Express, one of the most authentic trains on the planet. As you step inside the car, you feel as if you’ve gone into a time warp as the decor and the atmosphere of the train evoke of the Roaring Twenties.
From March through November, the Venice Simplon Orient Express takes you to eleven major European cities, from London to Paris to Istanbul. The service down to the food are simply indisputable. An evening ride there will set you back at around $1,900… so really, this train is only for those who can afford it. But visiting those picturesque European cities alone is already worth the golden train ticket!
5. Royal Scotsman
If you really want an exclusive railroad journey while pining for a Scottish holiday, get aboard the Royal Scotsman and feel like you’re the most elite train commuter in the world.
The Royal Scotsman accommodates only 36 passengers, and an evening stay there would cost you $2,216. But the fact that the train is not crowded, plus it has private bathrooms, a library, a top-rated cuisine and an open-air view deck at the rear end of the train, they will be worth all the exorbitant fare.