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10 Breathtaking Scenic Railway Routes You Must Experience




must see railway routes worldwide

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Imagine yourself sitting back in a cozy train car, watching as the world whizzes by. The rhythmic clack of the wheels on the tracks fills your ears, and a sense of freedom washes over you.

Get ready to embark on an epic journey through breathtaking landscapes and awe-inspiring vistas. From the Bernina Express to the White Pass & Yukon Route, these 10 scenic railway routes will take you on an adventure you’ll never forget.

So grab your ticket and let the wanderlust take hold.

Key Takeaways

  • The Bernina Express, West Highland Line, Flåm Railway, and Jacobite Steam Train are among the most breathtaking scenic railway routes in Europe, offering stunning views of mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and iconic landmarks.
  • Scenic railway routes such as the Semmering Railway, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Alaska Railroad, Chennai-Rameswaram Route, and Cuzco to Machu Picchu Scenic Railway Route have historical significance and cultural heritage, providing a blend of history, adventure, and beauty.
  • Many of these scenic railway routes have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Semmering Railway, Bernina Express, Flåm Railway, West Highland Line, and Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, highlighting their exceptional engineering, cultural significance, and preservation efforts.
  • Conservation and economic impact are also important aspects of scenic railway routes, with initiatives to protect endangered species, boost local economies, support small businesses, create jobs, and contribute to nature preservation. The Alaska Railroad, Chennai-Rameswaram Route, and Semmering Railway are notable examples of this.

Bernina Express

You must experience the breathtaking Bernina Express, one of the most scenic railway routes in the world. This iconic train journey takes you through the stunning landscapes of the Swiss Alps, offering a unique blend of historical significance and scenic viewpoints.

As you board the Bernina Express, you can’t help but feel the excitement building within you. The train takes you on a mesmerizing journey, winding its way through towering mountains, picturesque valleys, and charming alpine villages. The route itself holds great historical significance, as it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008 for its engineering marvels and cultural value.

As the train chugs along, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and cascading waterfalls. The panoramic windows provide unobstructed views, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the Swiss Alps. Don’t forget to have your camera ready, as every turn reveals a new postcard-worthy scene.

Throughout the journey, the Bernina Express passes through numerous scenic viewpoints, allowing you to marvel at the natural wonders that surround you. The iconic Landwasser Viaduct, with its elegant stone arches, is a sight to behold. The train also crosses the Bernina Pass, the highest point on the route, offering panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountain ranges.

Experience the Bernina Express and let your spirit soar as you traverse this remarkable railway route. It’s a journey that combines history, adventure, and freedom, leaving you with memories that will last a lifetime.

West Highland Line

Continuing the journey through breathtaking scenic railway routes, let’s now explore the West Highland Line and discover its captivating wonders. This iconic railway route in Scotland is a delight for adventurers seeking freedom and natural beauty.

As the train chugs along, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring scenic viewpoints that will take your breath away. From the towering peaks of Ben Nevis to the tranquil beauty of Loch Lomond, the West Highland Line offers a feast for the eyes at every turn.

But the West Highland Line isn’t just famous for its scenic vistas. It has also served as the backdrop for several blockbuster movies and TV shows. Harry Potter fans will be thrilled to know that the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which the Hogwarts Express crosses in the films, is a highlight of this route. As the train gracefully traverses the viaduct, you’ll feel like you’re stepping into a magical world.

Another filming location along the West Highland Line is the Bridge of Orchy, featured in the popular TV series Outlander. This majestic railway bridge, nestled amidst the picturesque Scottish Highlands, adds an extra layer of intrigue and beauty to an already stunning journey.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

As we journey through the breathtaking scenic railway routes, we now arrive at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, where adventure awaits amidst the stunning landscapes. Get ready to embark on a thrilling ride filled with history, scenic views, and the sense of freedom that only a railway journey can provide.

  • Step back in time: The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has a rich history that dates back to 1882. Experience the nostalgia as you board the historic steam-powered train and travel along the same tracks that were used during the mining era.
  • Unparalleled scenic beauty: Brace yourself for awe-inspiring views as the train winds its way through the rugged San Juan Mountains. Marvel at the towering peaks, cascading waterfalls, and lush forests that surround you. Keep your camera handy, as you won’t want to miss capturing the incredible landscapes.
  • A feast for the senses: Feel the rush of cool mountain air against your face as you lean out of the train’s open-air carriages. Listen to the rhythmic chugging of the locomotive and the echoing whistle that signals your journey through this picturesque region. Take in the scent of pine trees and wildflowers that drifts through the air.

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad offers a truly unforgettable experience, blending history, adventure, and breathtaking beauty. So hop on board and let your spirit of freedom soar as you traverse this remarkable railway route.

Flåm Railway

After experiencing the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, prepare to be amazed by the breathtaking Flåm Railway. As you embark on this scenic journey, get ready to be captivated by the awe-inspiring views of the Norwegian fjords.

The Flåm Railway, also known as Flåmsbana, offers an adventure that combines natural beauty with incredible engineering prowess. As the train winds its way through the majestic landscape, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of snow-capped mountains, sparkling waterfalls, and lush green valleys.

The route takes you from the tiny village of Flåm to the mountain station of Myrdal, offering a truly immersive experience in the heart of Norway’s stunning countryside. But it’s not just the scenery that makes the Flåm Railway remarkable.

This railway is an engineering marvel, with its steep gradients, sharp curves, and numerous tunnels. Built over a century ago, it showcases the ingenuity and determination of those who dared to conquer the challenging terrain.

Jacobite Steam Train

Hop aboard the Jacobite Steam Train and journey through the stunning Scottish Highlands. Brace yourself for an exhilarating adventure as you traverse the picturesque landscape of the scenic Scottish countryside.

Here are three reasons why this experience is a must for those seeking freedom and breathtaking views:

  • Unforgettable Views: As the Jacobite Steam Train chugs along its route, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas of rolling hills, majestic mountains, and shimmering lochs. The train takes you through magnificent locations like Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest peak, and Glenfinnan Viaduct, famously featured in the Harry Potter films.
  • Nostalgic Atmosphere: Step back in time as you step onto the Jacobite Steam Train. The vintage carriages, adorned with polished wood and brass fittings, transport you to an era of old-world charm and elegance. The rhythmic chugging of the steam engine and the billowing clouds of steam add to the nostalgic ambiance.
  • Historical Significance: The Jacobite Steam Train follows the historic West Highland Line, which was originally built in the late 19th century. This railway played a vital role in connecting remote areas of Scotland and is steeped in history and heritage.

Get ready to embark on a journey that will ignite your sense of adventure and leave you in awe of the spectacular Scottish scenery. The Jacobite Steam Train promises an unforgettable experience that captures the spirit of freedom and exploration.

Alaska Railroad

Get ready for an unforgettable adventure as you embark on the Alaska Railroad. Brace yourself for stunning Alaskan landscapes that will take your breath away, from snow-capped mountains to pristine lakes.

As you journey along the tracks, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife sightings, as this railway cuts through some of the most untouched wilderness in the world.

And don’t forget the historical significance of the Alaska Railroad, which played a crucial role in the development of the state.

Get ready to experience the best of Alaska on this epic railway journey.

Stunning Alaskan Landscapes

Embark on a mesmerizing journey through the breathtaking landscapes of Alaska onboard the Alaska Railroad. Brace yourself for an unforgettable adventure as you traverse the stunning Alaskan landscapes, where every turn reveals nature’s majestic beauty.

  • Marvel at the towering snow-capped mountains, their peaks reaching towards the sky.
  • Witness the awe-inspiring glaciers, their sparkling blue ice glistening in the sunlight.
  • Immerse yourself in the lush green forests, home to a diverse array of wildlife.

Not only will this journey leave you in awe of the natural wonders, but it also plays a crucial role in wildlife conservation efforts and has a positive impact on local communities. By supporting the Alaska Railroad, you contribute to the preservation of these extraordinary landscapes and the sustainable development of the region.

Wildlife Sightings Along Tracks

As you travel along the Alaska Railroad, you’ll be amazed by the abundant wildlife sightings along the tracks. The railway journey offers a unique opportunity to witness Alaska’s diverse wildlife in their natural habitats. Look out for majestic moose grazing by the water’s edge or bald eagles soaring overhead.

Keep your eyes peeled for playful otters and curious seals frolicking in the coastal waters. The railway’s impact on local ecosystems has been carefully considered, with wildlife conservation efforts at the forefront. The tracks are designed to minimize disruption to animal habitats, ensuring their safety and protection.

Historical Significance of Railway

Discover the rich historical significance of the Alaska Railroad as you journey through its scenic routes.

The Alaska Railroad has played a vital role in shaping the history of Alaska, leaving a lasting impact on local economies.

Since its establishment in 1914, the railroad has been a crucial mode of transportation for goods and people, connecting remote communities and opening up new opportunities for trade and commerce.

During World War II, the railroad played a significant role in transporting troops and supplies to and from military bases, contributing to the defense efforts in the region.

The construction of the railroad itself was an engineering marvel, overcoming challenging terrain and harsh weather conditions to connect the vast wilderness of Alaska.

As you embark on your journey, marvel at the historical significance of the Alaska Railroad and appreciate its enduring impact on the local communities and economies it serves.

Chennai-Rameswaram Route

Experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the Chennai-Rameswaram Route as you journey through breathtaking landscapes and picturesque coastal views. This railway route isn’t only a testament to engineering brilliance but also holds immense historical and cultural significance.

As you embark on this adventure, be prepared to witness magnificent historical landmarks that will transport you back in time.

One such landmark is the Pamban Bridge, an architectural marvel that connects Rameswaram Island to the mainland. This 2.3-kilometer-long bridge, built in 1914, is renowned for its unique design and structural grandeur. As the train traverses this bridge, you can marvel at the stunning views of the turquoise blue waters of the Bay of Bengal, creating a truly mesmerizing experience.

The Chennai-Rameswaram Route is also steeped in cultural significance. Rameswaram, known as the ‘Varanasi of the South,’ is one of the holiest places for Hindus. It’s believed to be the place where Lord Rama built a bridge to Lanka and is home to the revered Ramanathaswamy Temple. This temple attracts millions of devotees who come to seek blessings and immerse themselves in the spiritual ambiance.

As you continue your journey on this remarkable railway route, you’ll be captivated by the stunning coastal landscapes, golden sandy beaches, and the soothing sound of the waves. The Chennai-Rameswaram Route promises an adventure filled with historical marvels and cultural richness, making it a must-experience for those seeking freedom and a deeper connection with the past.

Semmering Railway

Get ready to embark on a journey through history and nature as you experience the Semmering Railway. This historic engineering marvel will take you through stunning alpine landscapes, offering breathtaking views at every turn.

It’s no wonder that this railway has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, making it a must-visit for every adventure seeker.

Historic Engineering Marvel

As you journey along the Semmering Railway, you’ll be immersed in the awe-inspiring beauty of this historic engineering marvel. The Semmering Railway, with its historical importance and architectural brilliance, offers a truly remarkable experience.

Here’s why:

  • Spectacular Scenery: From lush green landscapes to breathtaking mountain views, the Semmering Railway takes you on a journey through some of the most stunning scenery in Europe.
  • Ingenious Construction: Built in the mid-19th century, this railway line showcases the ingenuity of its engineers. The viaducts, tunnels, and bridges that make up the railway are a testament to human innovation and skill.
  • Rich History: The Semmering Railway has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, preserving its historical significance. As you traverse the tracks, you’ll be transported back in time, experiencing a piece of railway history firsthand.

Embark on this adventure and let the Semmering Railway captivate you with its beauty, engineering marvels, and fascinating past. Get ready to be amazed!

Stunning Alpine Landscapes

Immerse yourself in the stunning alpine landscapes of the Semmering Railway as you journey through its historic engineering marvel. As the train winds its way through the majestic Austrian Alps, you’ll be captivated by the breathtaking beauty that surrounds you. Towering snow-capped peaks, lush green valleys, and crystal-clear lakes create a picture-perfect backdrop for your adventure.

But the Semmering Railway is more than just a scenic route. It has also played a crucial role in wildlife conservation efforts and the local economy. The railway passes through protected areas, providing a safe haven for endangered species such as lynx and chamois. Additionally, the influx of tourists attracted by the railway has boosted the local economies of the towns and villages along the route, supporting small businesses and creating jobs.

So as you embark on this unforgettable journey, not only will you be treated to awe-inspiring vistas, but you’ll also be contributing to the preservation of nature and the prosperity of local communities.

Get ready to experience freedom in its purest form amidst the stunning alpine landscapes of the Semmering Railway.

UNESCO World Heritage

Continue your journey through the stunning alpine landscapes of the Semmering Railway as it takes you on a UNESCO World Heritage adventure.

This historic railway, located in Austria, has been recognized by UNESCO for its exceptional engineering and cultural significance.

As you traverse the tracks, you’ll be transported back in time, witnessing the incredible preservation efforts that have kept this railway intact for over 160 years.

The Semmering Railway is a testament to human ingenuity, with its impressive viaducts, tunnels, and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

Step aboard and experience the thrill of riding on a piece of history, as you soak in the freedom of the open air and marvel at the remarkable feat of engineering that has earned this railway its prestigious UNESCO World Heritage status.

Cuzco to Machu Picchu

Take the breathtaking scenic railway route from Cuzco to Machu Picchu and experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the Peruvian landscape. This journey isn’t only a feast for the eyes but also holds immense historical significance and cultural heritage. As the train snakes through the rugged Andean mountains, you’ll be transported back in time to the ancient Inca civilization.

The route starts in Cuzco, the former capital of the Inca Empire. As you leave the city behind, you’ll be greeted by breathtaking views of the Sacred Valley, with its terraced fields and quaint villages. The train then follows the Urubamba River, carving its way through deep canyons and lush green forests.

Arriving at Machu Picchu, you’ll be in awe of the majestic ruins perched high on a mountain ridge. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a testament to the engineering skills of the Incas, who built this citadel without the use of mortar. As you explore the ancient ruins, you’ll feel a deep connection to the past, marveling at the intricate stonework and the ingenuity of the Inca people.

The Cuzco to Machu Picchu railway route isn’t just a scenic journey, but also a voyage through history and culture. So, hop on board and let the wonders of Peru unfold before your eyes.

White Pass & Yukon Route

As you journey further along the breathtaking scenic railway routes, you’ll find yourself immersed in the captivating beauty of the White Pass & Yukon Route. This historic railway takes you on a thrilling adventure through rugged landscapes and majestic mountains, offering an experience that’s both awe-inspiring and enlightening.

  • Scenic Beauty: Prepare to be mesmerized by the awe-inspiring vistas that unfold before your eyes. From snow-capped peaks to lush forests, the White Pass & Yukon Route offers a visual feast at every turn. As the train winds its way through narrow valleys and alongside crystal-clear lakes, you’ll feel a sense of freedom and wonder that can only be found in the great outdoors.
  • Historical Significance: Step back in time as you traverse the same route that thousands of prospectors took during the Klondike Gold Rush. Learn about the hardships and triumphs of those who sought their fortune in the Yukon, and gain a deeper appreciation for the resilience of the human spirit. The White Pass & Yukon Route isn’t just a railway, but a living testament to the indomitable spirit of exploration.
  • Unforgettable Adventure: Brace yourself for an exhilarating ride filled with twists, turns, and jaw-dropping vistas. As the train climbs steep grades and navigates through narrow mountain passes, you’ll feel a rush of adrenaline like never before. This isn’t just a train journey, but an unforgettable adventure that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Embark on the White Pass & Yukon Route and let the scenic beauty and historical significance transport you to a world where freedom and adventure know no bounds.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Average Speed of the Bernina Express?

The average speed of the Bernina Express is around 35 km/h. It’s best to ride during the summer months when the weather is clear and you can fully enjoy the stunning views of the Swiss Alps.

Are There Any Dining Options Available on the West Highland Line?

There are plenty of dining options available on the West Highland Line, allowing you to indulge in delicious meals while taking in the stunning scenery. Make sure to check out the best scenic spots along the way!

How Long Does the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Ride Typically Take?

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad ride typically takes around 3.5 to 4 hours. As you chug along the scenic route, you’ll be captivated by the breathtaking views of the Colorado mountains. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

Can You Bring Bicycles on the Flåm Railway?

Yes, you can bring bicycles on the Flåm Railway! Experience the thrill of biking through stunning landscapes and picturesque views as you explore the beauty of the scenic railway routes. Embrace the freedom of adventure!

What Is the Highest Elevation Point Reached by the Jacobite Steam Train?

The highest elevation point reached by the Jacobite steam train offers breathtaking scenic views. You’ll be captivated by the majestic mountains and sweeping landscapes as you journey through this adventurous railway route.


So hop aboard one of these breathtaking scenic railway routes and prepare to be transported to a world of awe-inspiring vistas.

Whether you’re traversing the majestic Swiss Alps on the Bernina Express or journeying through the rugged Scottish Highlands on the West Highland Line, each route offers its own unique charm and adventure.

So grab your ticket, sit back, and let these railways take you on a journey of a lifetime.

All aboard the time-traveling train to unforgettable experiences!

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