Around the World in Luxury Trains!

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

People sport all kinds of hobbies. Gardening, Dancing, Cooking etc. are the usual ones. There are, however, some hobbies which are reserved for the elite and intellectual. These include Golfing, Literature, History, Art, Travelling etc. It’s quite true that only a certain section of people in society can afford such hobbies. And if you combine many such elite interests together, the outcome would definitely be one targeted only for a few eyes and of course a few pockets. Today we’ll delve into one such combination which brings together travel, art, history and luxury. It is none other than the luxury trains of the world which are designed to please those who have the eye, taste, time and inclination for such an indulgence!

The concept of luxury trains goes back to as early as 1864 with the introduction of the Pioneer – a train having dining and sleeping carriages. The need for luxury on the move has come a long way since then. Let’s have a look at some of the most remarkable luxury trains in the world.

Venice Simplon-Orient Express

Europe’s “Venice Simplon-Orient Express” also known as the VSOE is one of the most authentic vintage luxury trains. Among others, one of its routes is Paris – Istanbul and the train’s normal capacity is 190 passengers. The cars of this train have a vintage feel to them with white roofs and navy and gold livery. The entire look of the train conjures up a mixed array of emotions including beauty, sophistication, romance and elegance.

Another prized luxury train is the “Palace on Wheels” which is a collaborative venture of the Indian Railways and Rajasthan Tourism. Launched in 1982, this train continues to capture people’s imagination. With its cream colored livery, this train never fails to make its travelers feel that they are enjoying in the lap of pure royalty. With a total capacity of 112 passengers, this train offers sight-seeing of Rajasthan, which in itself is an experience.

Next on our list is the “Rovos Rail Pride of Africa”. As the name suggests, this train offers a unique African odyssey with its teak interiors, exquisite South African wine collection and friendly on-board staff. For photography and nature enthusiasts, there’s even an open-air deck in the rear lounge car which offers a magnificent view of the South African scenery. Intrinsically

Moving on, North America’s “Rocky Mountaineer” is yet another gem of a luxury train. Its GoldLeaf service boasts of custom-built glass dome coaches and has been gaining popularity over the years. This train also supports an outdoor view of the picturesque mountains that pass by during most of the routes of this train through the Canadian Rockies. I think that’s where the train gets its name from!

Inside Luxury Trains

The “Eastern & Oriental Express”, also called the E&O is the Oriental-Express company’s Southeast Asian venture. It covers a journey between Singapore, Malaysia, Bangkok and Thailand and is a huge train with an almost mammoth capacity. Its services include leisurely tea in your compartments, entertaining puppet shows and on-board musicians. The train’s French chef and food service has been applauded on a global scale owing to the seamless blending of Western and Eastern styles and tastes.

Yet another of the jewels is Europe’s “Royal Scotsman”. It is a relatively small venture having a capacity of just 36 passengers but none-the-less is regarded as one of the finest hotel trains. It owes this reputation to the intimate settings, classy wine-collection, five-star level dining and outstanding service. The train has a vintage era feel to it with 1960s equipment adorning its carriages.

The last on our extra-ordinary list is the “Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express” which again belongs to the Europe region. This train is famed to cover the longest single train route in the world extending from Moscow to Vladivostok including special tours of Russia’s Arctic, the Crimea and Silk Road. Premier services offered aboard this train include compartments with attached bathrooms, dressing table and lounge area and even a dedicated butler service for the Imperial Suite. Now that’s what I call luxury!

The motto of all of these exquisitely crafted moving pieces of art is the same – to offer their customers an experience of a lifetime. Come to think of it, definitely sounds worth trying once. Maybe when I retire I’ll plan a luxurious trip aboard one of these marvels – if I manage to accumulate the money of course!

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