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10 luxury train rides in the us that are worth splurging on.

W hen you think of luxury train rides, you probably imagine something along the lines of the famed Orient Express (the most expensive train ride in the world), or South Africa’s iconic Blue train , or even Switzerland’s GoldenPass Express . But you don’t have to go all the way to Europe or Africa for luxury trains — luxury train travel in the USA is alive and well.

Luxury trains in Colorado

Luxury new england trains, luxury trains to us national parks, luxury trains in california, luxury alaska trains, are there sleeper trains in the usa, what is the longest sleeper train in the us, what is the most luxurious train in the us, rocky mountaineer: rockies to the red rocks.

  • Route: Between Denver, Colorado, and Moab, Utah
  • Distance: 355 miles
  • Duration of the ride: Two days
  • What makes it luxurious: Glass-dome cars, gourmet cuisine, excellent service, and luxury hotels

Often believed to be the best option for luxury train travel in the US, the Rocky Mountaineer’s Rockies to the Red Rocks route is meant for those who want to take in the Southwestern scenery in extreme comfort. Passengers can choose between two classes of service: SilverLeaf or SilverLeaf Plus, both of which offer a spacious car with oversized glass-dome windows, reclining seats, and seat-side service. SilverLeaf Plus, however, offers a little more: exclusive access to the lounge car and to a small outdoor viewing area, as well as elevated dining experience with wine pairings, premium alcoholic beverages, and signature cocktails. While the classic journey takes you between Denver and Moab, special packages allow travelers to start or end their journey in Las Vegas or Salt Lake City. The Rockies to the Red Rocks route is a two-day trip, but the Rocky Mountaineer is not a sleeper train. Instead, passengers disembark in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, where they stay in a luxury hotel for the night before getting back on the train the next morning.

Royal Gorge Train

  • Route: Starts and ends in Cañon City, Colorado
  • Duration of the ride: Between 1.5 to three hours, depending on the trip chosen
  • What makes it luxurious: Panoramic windows cars, award-wining dining experience, Champagne.

The Royal Gorge Train runs daily throughout the year, taking passengers on a short but scenic journey along the Arkansas River, through the narrow 1,200-foot-deep Royal Gorge. You can make your trip on board the Royal Gorge Train as casual or as luxurious as you want by choosing the class of service that suits you best. The fanciest way to ride this route is by booking the First Class Dinner Train in Vista Dome which lasts 2.5 hours. You’ll be served Champagne and an award-winning three-course meal while looking at the surrounding views from the huge panoramic windows. Fist Class Dinner Train passengers also have access to a private open-air car.

Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad

Luxury train travel USA: Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad

Photo: PT Hamilton /Shutterstock

  • Route: Between Chama, New Mexico, and Antonito, Colorado
  • Distance: 64 miles
  • Duration of the ride: From 4.5 to eight hours, depending on the trip chosen
  • What makes it luxurious: Restored Victorian Parlor Cars, great service, comfortable seats, snack and beverages served on board.

The steam train of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad runs from early June to late October, six days per week. The most luxurious way to ride the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad is by booking a seat in the adult-only, historic Parlor Car, where you’ll be served pastries, hot and cold beverages, and snacks by thoughtful train attendants. The Parlor Car is designed to provide the best views during the long train trip, with strategically placed seats and panoramic windows. Parlor Car passengers, alongside every other passenger on the train, have access to the open-air car. Note that the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad runs the single trip between Chama and Antonito once per day only. You can opt to take a luxury motorcoach back to the departing station or stay overnight in the arrival town and ride the train again the next day to get back to where you came from.

Cape Cod Dinner Train

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Cape Cod Central Railroad (@capecodcentralrailroad)
  • Route: Departs from and ends in Hyannis, Buzzards Bay, or Falmouth, depending on the date.
  • Duration of the ride: Three hours
  • What makes it luxurious: Candlelight five-course gourmet meal served at a private table, formal attire required, full bar, vintage club car with lounge chairs

The Cape Cod Central Railroad’s most luxurious train ride offering is the Cape Cod Dinner Train , a three-hour ride during which passengers are served a candlelight five-course meal while traveling through the peninsula’s charming small towns. To make the most of your train ride, book the Platinum Class: You’ll benefit from a private table, you’ll be served one alcoholic beverage, and all taxes and gratuities will be included. The Cape Cod Dinner Train is only available for travelers aged 12 or older, but if you’d rather have an adult-only train journey, book Cape Cod Central Railroad’s Gourmet Wine Tasting Train in Platinum Class. The Cape Cod Dinner Train operates multiple times per week from May until October.

Green Mountain Railroad

  • Route: Roundtrip from Burlington to Charlotte
  • What makes it luxurious: 1930s train cars with comfortable leather seats, adult-only experience, delicious finger foods and cocktails, limited capacity to 18 passengers

The Green Mountain Railroad, also known as the Vermont Rail System, offers a Cocktails on the Rails ride every Saturday from late June to late October. This adult-only luxury experience takes place in a 1930s train car with plush leather seats and a full bar. The ride includes finger foods and snacks, and passengers can purchase drinks from the bar while listening to live music. The ride only allows for 18 passengers, making for a special evening.

If it’s a fancy dinner aboard a train you’re looking for, the Green Mountain Railroad can do that, too. Every weekend between late June and late October, you can book the Champlain Valley Dinner Train , a three-hour roundtrip ride between Burlington and Charlotte that includes a three-course meal and all gratuities. Make sure you book a private table if you don’t want to share the space with your fellow passengers. (Note that the Champlain Valley Dinner Train is not an adult-only experience, it welcomes all passengers aged five and up.)

The Empire Builder to Glacier National Park

  • Route: Between Chicago, Illinois, and Seattle, Washington
  • Distance: 2,200 miles
  • Duration of the ride: The full ride takes 46 hours
  • What makes it luxurious: Large accommodation with two in-room sinks, toilets, and showers, complimentary meals, dedicated train attendant

What makes Amtrak’s Empire Builder route unique is that from mid-April to mid-October, it serves East Glacier Park train station, located in the heart of Glacier National Park. And because the train station is just a few steps away from Glacier Park Lodge, you can go directly from the comfort of the train to that of a lovely hotel.

While you might think that traveling with Amtrak is far from luxurious, there are ways to make your train ride extremely comfortable. All you need to do is book a Bedroom Suite and you’ve got an all-inclusive and enjoyable train ride. A Bedroom Suite can sleep four travelers by turning the two sofas and chairs into sleeping berths when night comes, but if there are only two of you, you can enjoy all the extra space. There are also two in-room sinks, toilets, and showers so you don’t have to share the facilities with strangers. By booking a Bedroom Suite, you also get a dedicated First Class attendant, complimentary lounge access at the departing train station, priority boarding, and complimentary meals on board.

If you’re interested in visiting America’s national parks by train, check out Matador’s guide to the seven most scenic Amtrak routes through national parks .

Grand Canyon train ride

  • Route: Roundtrip from Williams, Arizona, to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
  • Distance: 65 miles one way, 130 miles return
  • Duration of the ride: Two hours one way, four hours return
  • What makes it luxurious: Dome car with panoramic windows, lounge with plush sofas and chairs, full private bar, complimentary sparkling wine, access reserved to travelers aged 16 or older.

The Grand Canyon Railway offers rides from Williams, Arizona, to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon daily throughout the year. The ride between Williams and the South Rim takes two hours, and passengers are given three hours on site to visit, making for a seven-hour day trip. With six classes of service available, you can make your ride with the Grand Canyon Railway as cheap or as luxurious as you want it to be. If you’re ready to splurge for a very comfortable experience, choose the Luxury Dome Class , reserved to travelers over the age of 16. The Luxury Dome Class consists of a two-story car: on top, there is a dome car with panoramic windows, while below is a parlor-style lounge car with very comfortable seats and a full bar. You’ll be served sparkling wine, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages during the journey.

Napa Valley Wine Train

  • Route: Between Downtown Napa and St. Helena
  • Distance: 36-mile loop
  • Duration of the ride: Between two and three hours on board the train, depending on the experience you choose
  • What makes it luxurious: Beautifully restored vintage Pullman rail cars, Wine tasting on board, gourmet meals, wineries visits, cocktail attire recommended

The Napa Valley Wine train operates year-round and offers a variety of experiences to prospective travelers, all of which have an element of formal luxury for which you need to dress up. The most decadent of the experiences available is the Legacy Experience , a six-hour trip that includes three hours on the train, and three hours visiting vineries. Passengers on the Legacy Experience enjoy breakfast and lunch on board, as well as wine tasting. While most of the trip takes place in the restored vintage Pullman rail cars, the open-air car is also available to passengers.

For a shorter, but no less luxurious experience on board the Napa Valley Wine train, opt for the Vista Dome Dinner (a two-hour, multiple-course journey in the glass-dome elegant dining car), or the Afternoon Tea (a three-hour trip filled with cocktails, tea, finger sandwiches, miniature deserts, and more.)

Denali Star

  • Route: Between Anchorage and Fairbanks, via Wasilla, Talkeetna, and Denali National Park
  • Distance: 356 miles
  • Duration of the ride: 12 hours
  • What makes it luxurious: Glass-dome cars, meals and drinks included, comfortable seats, access to open-air cars

The Denali Star route, operated by the Alaska Railroad , is one of the most scenic train trips you can take in the US. Not only is the scenery between Anchorage and Fairbanks beautiful, but you can also take it in in extreme comfort if you opt for the Goldstar Service. The Goldstar Service includes a meal, soft beverages, and two adult drinks in the dining car. Goldstar passengers also benefit from comfortable forward-facing seats, and have access to outdoor viewing platforms and glass-dome cars from where you can enjoy the beauty of the Alaskan Wilderness.

Coastal Classic

  • Route: Between Anchorage and Seward, via Girdwood
  • Distance: 120 miles
  • Duration of the ride: 1.5 hours

Another iconic Alaskan train route , the Coastal Classic is operated by the Alaskan Railroad. The Coastal Classic is a much shorter ride than the Denali Star and is the perfect route for travelers with a tight schedule. Just like with the Denali Star route, those who want to make their train journey extra fancy should opt for the Goldstar Service — the views from the glass-dome cars never get old.

Yes, there are sleeper trains in the USA, all of them being operated by Amtrak. Amtrak’s overnight and long-distance routes have sleeper cars with multiple accommodation options to choose from, including Roomettes, Bedrooms, Accessible Bedrooms, Bedroom Suites, and Family Rooms. If you want to travel cheap, you can opt for a reclining seat in coach class.

The longest sleeper train in the US is the California Zephyr , operated by Amtrak. The California Zephyr route runs between Chicago, Illinois, and Emeryville, California, a 51-plus hour ride.

luxury train trips in america

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luxury train trips in america

North America’s Most Luxurious Trains

Oh, the allure and romance of train travel. The magic of sitting quietly, cup of bone-china tea (or coffee) in hand, cell phone cast aside, and simply taking time to breathe; watch as mountains, sea, deserts, small towns, and big cities, roll gently by — all in a seemingly slower yet grander motion. While North America’s railways have never quite matched Europe’s decadent and storied train culture — a menagerie of glamorous Art-Deco 1920s interiors with Michelin-star dining, swanky bar cars, and white-gloved livered wait staff, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are no strangers to the genteel art of luxury train travel. In the late 1860s, the Chicago-based Pullman Company (led by George Pullman) produced the first range of truly ornate dining, sleeping, and parlor train cars.

The company also created private train carriages for the super wealthy that were attached to commercial passenger trains — creating a ‘train set’ of  mini mansions.   It was on such private train cars that New York City’s elite (Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Astors, and Morgans) escaped from their New York City apartments to the Adirondacks where they built ‘ Great Camps’ — elaborate, made-from-timber lakefront homes to escape the summertime heat. While trains are primarily used today in the U.S. as a means of commuting to and from work, luxury train travel experiences are still in motion on trains like America’s Trains Southern Comfort line, featuring lavish sleeping cars, and the Napa Valley Wine Train offering food-and-wine day experiences. From scenic Canada to the rugged terrains of Mexico to notable rail rides in between, here are North America’s most fabulously luxurious train rides. 

Overnight Sleeping Trains

Southern comfort (new orleans to fort worth).

Make like the Vanderbilts (Rockefellers, Astors and Morgans) and ride in your own private ‘train set’ aboard America’s Trains . In luxurious modern carriages, designed to look and feel vintage, this eight-day journey aboard Southern Comfort begins in New Orleans and snakes its way to Fort Worth, Texas, with stops in Houston and San Antonio. Passengers sleep onboard their respective carriages, which come with private bathrooms and cushy beds. Up to five carriages traveling together is a ‘train set and provide sleeping, lounge, and dining facilities, creating an ultra-luxe, intimate vacation.

The Canadian (Vancouver to Toronto)

View this post on Instagram A post shared by VIA Rail Canada (@viarailcanada)

Built in the 19th century, The Canadian by VIA Rail is an iconic North American luxury train connecting Canada’s major cities and coasts. One of the most adored (and luxurious) routes is between Toronto and Vancouver, carrying passengers from the forests of Ontario through the prairies and past snow-capped Rocky Mountains. For ultimate luxury, reserve Prestige Class which features a spacious cabin for two, private bathroom and shower, leather couch, and gourmet meals prepared onboard and served in the dining car.

The Royal Canadian Pacific (Departs Calgary, Alberta, 4 nights/5 days)

Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, while still a princess, traveled in one of the Royal Canadian Pacific cars. Today, passengers can relive the romance of rail travel aboard this luxury vintage train. Dine in the elegant Craigellachie dining car, sip cocktails on the observation deck, and overnight in a sumptuous stateroom with a private bathroom and shower. The historically inspired fleet of rail cars winds through the magnificent Canadian Rockies to British Columbia and back again. Intriguingly the train stops on the tracks every night, sometimes in the wilderness, enabling the experience and enjoyment of the Rockies in their entirety.

Napa Valley Wine Train (Napa to St. Helena)

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Napa Valley Wine Train (@winetrain)

This three-hour (36-mile) day train journey through California’s famed wine region rolls past rows of grapevines, twisty farmlands, and wineries. The route — from Napa through Yountville, Rutherfield, and Oakville, to St. Helena — follows a rail line originally built in 1864. Renovated train carriages in their polished brass, mahogany paneling, and opulent fabrics evoke a vintage ambiance. Enjoy a gourmet meal, and wine of course, along the way.

Jose Cuervo Express, Mexico (Guadalajara to Tequila)

Tequila is on the menu of Mexico’s famed vintage Jose Cuervo Express (aka tequila train), now even more decadent with its new Elite wagon; the carriage’s oversized windows offer dazzling views of the agave fields. This all-day (Saturday-only) train ride begins with a guided three-glass tequila tasting and includes a tour of Jose Cuervo’s La Rojeña distillery, a visit to Reserva de la Familia private cellar, an agave field harvesting demonstration, festive snacks and meals, mariachi, and a bus back to the city.

Rocky Mountaineer (Denver, Colorado to Moab, Utah)

Renowned for its glass-domed rail cars, The Rocky Mountaineer, which once served only Canada, offers a stunning U.S. route: Rockies to Red Rocks. Enjoy truly breathtaking views and a luxury dining experience, while traversing past Ruby Canyon, Mount Garfield, and crossing the Continental Divide. This two-day journey begins in Moab, Utah, and makes one stop in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, where passengers disembark and overnight in a hotel of their choosing, before continuing to Denver.

Copper Canyon Railroad, Mexico (Los Mochis to Creel)

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Copper Canyon Trips (@tripscoppercanyon)

Much of the terrain covered on this spectacular nine-hour journey through Mexico’s Copper Canyon (four times the size of the Grand Canyon) is said to be otherwise inaccessible. Opened in 1961 — and designed originally to connect the Pacific Ocean with Mexico’s desert territory and state of Chihuahua — the railroad took almost 90 years to complete. The train, aka El Chepe Express, crosses 37 bridges and passes through 86 tunnels; the landscape a collage of rugged terrain, mountains, gorges, and deep ravines.

Adirondack Train (New York City to Montreal)

Considered one of America’s top scenic train rides, this 10-hour train journey is all about the view — which is especially stunning during fall foliage season. Operated by Amtrak, the Adirondack departs daily from New York City’s Penn Station passing through the Hudson Valley and Adirondacks/Lake Champlain Region before ending in Montreal, Quebec. Brush up on your French and visit awhile. While the train itself isn’t luxury, the view is absolutely worth the trip.

Pacific Surfliner (San Luis Obispo to San Diego)

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Also by Amtrak, Southern California’s Pacific Surfliner sojourns 350 miles of Pacific coastline, from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, stopping in ocean towns like Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, and San Juan Capistrano along the way. Watch from the window, the mesmerizing ocean views, beaches, craggy cliffs, and rocky coastlines. Dogs and cats (up to 20 pounds, including the weight of the carrier) are welcome with an advanced pet reservation.

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Private Rail Cars: America’s Luxury Train Travel

luxury train travel in private rail cars. You can do it!

U.S. Luxury Train Travel is Here…with your own Private Rail Cars

Can you believe this bedroom is on a train? Private railroad cars make U.S. luxury train travel USA a reality.

By Jennifer Bellenoit Updated December 2021

After Covid-19 induced delays, Private Train Journeys start in June 2023!

Remember when trains were the most popular means of travel? Remember the romance of the exquisite finishing of a rail car seen in old black and white movies?

The slow chugging rhythms of the locomotive? The deep lull of the wheels running over the tracks? These private train cars are luxury hotels on rails!

Today, luxury train travel in the US appears to exist as a memory. Unless you’re North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un and own a private train, you can’t ride in your own train car. Until now.

Meet America’s Trains.

Luxury Train Travel USA: Like the Olden Days in Private Rail Cars

America’s Trains Inc is offering guests the same luxury travel and private rail cars that used to be reserved for only the wealthiest of Americans.

You can travel between many popular cities throughout the U.S. and into Canada, with many more to come.

Barry Jones from America’s Trains stated that “present demand already ensures that full occupancy will probably occur, keeping in mind that the relatively long average lead time between when a Journey passenger makes a reservation and the departure date, is over eight months.”

The trips aren’t cheap, but they are a serious throwback to the grand old days of railroad travel. You’ll feel like a robber baron in one of your own luxury private train cars!

The Sunflower, a double-decker private rail car with only four exquisite bedrooms, offers five to seven night rail Journeys in private rail cars

Amtrak Train Sets

The train cars are part of Amtrak trains. They include “Train Sets” which are multiple cars traveling together that provide bedrooms, gourmet meals, lounge, and bar facilities. America’s Trains provide Private Cars that include up to four bedrooms, dining, and lounge facilities that operate as part of the Train Sets or just alone.

More than Repainted

America’s Trains rail cars are not older units with new paint and furniture, by the way. They are fully rebuilt, redesigned, and refurbished to exceed Amtrak’s mechanical specifications and to meet the desires of discriminating luxury consumers.

“We are not trying to replicate antiquated capabilities that were in vogue when trail travel was at its peak. Instead, the best of these features are combined with modern conveniences and systems that make the cars the best in America and equal to the world’s finest,” Barry said.

America's Trains offer private railcars for a spectacular luxury rail journey. America's Trains photos.

Train’Share, as in Timeshare

America’s Trains offer two methods of travel which include individual, all-inclusive Journeys by Rail (typical commercial train vacations) and Train’Shares (rail car timeshares). Train’Share travelers have the option to reserve trips on a timeshare basis which “makes up one of the fastest-growing segments of leisure travel,” according to Jones.

Guests have the option to take the journey by Rail vacations at a lower cost than individual Journey vacation passengers or passengers on comparable foreign luxury trains (there are no others in the USA). They also have the option to exchange a Journey (train vacation) for a vacation at a wide selection of the world’s best resorts. You can even exchange them for a cruise.

Dining in style on a private rail car from Trainshares, luxury train travel USA.

Perpetual Term Option

According to America’s Trains website , Train’Share buyers can purchase a “perpetual term” for never-ending additional years or an “initial term” of 10 years.

Some of the best Journey by Rail benefits include on route layovers where passengers live on board the luxurious rail cars while enjoying nearby hosted and optional attractions without have to move to and from hotels.

There are also special events and parties, pre-and post-land vacation opportunities, a selection of routes, an owner’s newsletter, special predetermined preferences such as activities, and complimentary drinks, including alcoholic beverages.

Choosing Your Own Routes

Individual Journey and Train’Share owner passengers that reserve all the rooms on a Car have the opportunity to choose the destinations and routes.

Train’Share owners also become a member of the Train’Share Association which gives owners more benefits such as train, rail, and travel-related items at discounted prices, an owner’s newsletter, preferred complimentary beverage brands of all kinds, and special predetermined preferences such as activities and menus.

Unlike traditional timeshares, Train’Share owners don’t have to pay fees if a scheduled journey by Rail is not used and America’s Trains will buy the Train’Share back without financial loss to the owner.

Visit their website for a more in-depth list of the benefits.

diagram of private train car

Train Car Options

America’s Trains’ first train sets will include up to three Cars with about 13 rooms, all with full bathrooms and private showers. There are usually two people in a room, some with a third bed. The Train sets are kept small to accommodate passengers’ activities such as lectures, cooking classes, dancing, table games, and other small group activities.

According to Jones, a significant advantage to the small number on board is “the rapport and camaraderie that occurs when a small group of like-minded travelers gets together.”

Or, if you desire a completely private experience, you can reserve all of the bedrooms in a Car. For example, the two-level Sunflower with Private Rail Cars includes two or three four-high category double rooms, a lounge, dining room, and kitchen.

All three bedrooms have private bathrooms with showers. Private cars have separate crew quarters and travel with two or three crew members, a porter or a steward or both. Up to eight passengers can occupy the car. Private cars do not cater to children.

Relax in your own private living room on a private rail car.

Dining on the Rails

Guests will be spoiled rotten by the fine dining. With an impeccable staff, ready to meet every personalized need, you will be served the finest and healthiest North American cuisine with fresh, local ingredients.

Guests even have the option to request special menus and beverages before departure. The trains are usually open dining seating, or you can make a reservation. Lighter dining is available in the lounge and bar areas.

Sleeping on board America’s Trains

Fully equipped with comfy pillows, fine linens, and hair dryers, the rooms also come with personal 24-hour on-call steward service. The beds are either king or extra-large queens with plenty of room.

The rooms are not your typical sleeper car. Due to the small group advantages, more detail is provided by the crew to ensure you the best possible comfort.

Private Rail Car Cost

Typical journeys will be from six to eight-day trips across the U.S. from Texas to New Orleans featuring layovers in Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston, and New Orleans, quickly followed by more trips in the future, according to Barry Jones of America’s Trains.

Post Covid-19 routes are described on the website. Trips will begin in June 2023 but reservations can be made now.

Featuring layovers in Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston, and New Orleans

Per person, double occupancy per bedroom (except singles):

Grande Suite $7,087 – Master Suite $6,641 – Deluxe Double – $6,195 Classic double (upper and lower beds) – $5,750 Single passenger: 175% of double occupancy per person fare 3rd passenger: If available – $700

The Canyonlands is one of the sights to see out the window of your private train car

Early confirmed booking/reservation discounts: 210 or more days in advance 16% – 175 days 11% – 140 days 8% – 105 days 5% rounded to the nearest $100

Journeys and Routes on America’s Trains

America's Trains' Dome cars have 2 Master Suites or 3 Deluxe Double bedrooms, a full kitchen, a dining area, and lounges that include an upper level which is about 30% the length of the car. When improvements are complete on the first dome car, the Hibiscus, it will operate alone until the next sleeping car is ready for service.

There will be nine active routes and 13 more are within a few years. A typical train vacation is a week long. Similar to a cruise vacation, Journeys by Rail offer “ports of call” layovers which allow guests to disembark and explore the museums of Washington D.C or enjoy the vastness of the Grand Canyon .

Ports of call vary from more than a full day down to about eight hours and are designed to ensure that passengers have enough time to fully enjoy each point of interest.

Most of the routes are one-way and guests are responsible for airfares to these ports. However, arrangements are made for connecting travel via Amtrak train where appropriate.

Some routes do return to the original port. The Canadian International Falls route will depart from Washington D.C and makes stops in Niagara Falls, Toronto, and Buffalo before returning to Washington D.C as its final destination.

Future Private Rail Car Train Trip Journeys in 2023

An example of a route is Journey  Southwestern Eastbound which departs from Los Angeles and ends in Chicago on Day 8.

At 6:40 pm the train leaves and by Day 2 at 12:40 pm, you are staring into the natural wonders and beautiful scenery of the Grand Canyon .

After an overnight in the Grand Canyon, the train departs for an overnight in Williams AZ at 4:30 pm.

Day 4 consists of an overnight exploring the southwest city of Albuquerque before departing for Kansas City on Day 5. During this day, the train will pass through the jagged, snow topped hills of the Rockies and eventually make its way to the smooth, vast prairie lands of Kansas.

Guests will have the opportunity to view the wonders of the west from the comforts of the gentle moving train in their private rail cars. This is why train travel is the best way to see America. After an overnight in Kansas City, the train will depart for its final destination: Chicago .

2023 Journey Fares

Fort Worth to New Orleans  – 8 Days and 7 Nights,

Per person, double occupancy per bedroom (except singles): Grande Suite $7,087 – Master Suite $6,641 – Deluxe Double – $6,195 Classic double (upper and lower beds) – $5,750

Single passenger:  175% of double occupancy per person fare 3rd passenger:  If available – $700

Discounts apply to the prices above when booked significantly ahead of departure. Although the costs may appear a bit pricey, the journey fares are much lower than comparable luxury with comparable foreign luxury train vacations.

There are no equivalent rail vacations in the USA. By selecting America’s Trains Train’Share basis, the price of a Journey is about 1/3 of the normal commercial Journey fares.

See America’s Trains website for a comparison of prices. The company prefers to have customers call and arrange the trips, as it’s very personalized.

Some things remain during a weak economy: dining, movies and especially now, travel. The small number of and low passenger density on each Journey by Rail vacation allows polite preclusion of passengers that may have a contagious illness and are the only way to fully experience America’s grandeur, history, diversity, and natural attractions, says Jones.

Train vacations interest in foreign luxury train vacations exceeds demand as more affluent consumers reaffirm significant interest in the unique experiences that they offer.” Many Layovers

Although en-route destination layovers provide endless enjoyable off-car things to do, it is not the destination but the journey itself that makes a train vacation in a private rail car more than special.

Within several years America’s Trains fleet of cars will grow to include about 29 standard passenger cars that travel as part of different train sets.

They offer from 1 up to 5 cars, plus several self-sufficient private cars with 2 or 3 bedrooms that can travel alone or with a train set, and a few activity cars that travel with trains sets to provide special entertainment and events.

Cars have common interior characteristics, but each has unique luxurious features. They are all named after flowers.

Some things remain during a weak economy: dining, movies, and especially now, travel. Train vacations have always stood firm as the best way to see America, says Jones. Train vacations have “strengthened among more affluent consumers and reaffirms significant interest in the type of vacations being offered.”

It is definitely not the destination but the journey itself that makes it worthwhile.

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7 thoughts on “ Private Rail Cars: America’s Luxury Train Travel ”

My adult son and I want to take a sleeping room from Fl to Sister, Utah. How much would that cost?

I am interested in. Your adventures.

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Thank you Bob n Polly

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go to the link in the story for America’s Trains.

I want a job on one of these!

1st, i would want a full car for myself and possible companion, 2nd is handicap accessible possible, i use a power chair, paraplegic. 3rd any restrictions due to covid? any info you can forward would be helpful. this is an end of life trip for me, like a make a wish situation. thank you.

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14 Best Train Trips to Take Across America for Breathtaking Scenery

Vacation in a new way to see some beautiful sights.

preview for Ten Most Beautiful Train Routes To Take In The United States

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While traveling by train can certainly be a more inexpensive option for a family getaway when compared to air travel or a boat cruise, that doesn't mean you'll be cramped and crowded. Many of the trips we have listed include luxury sleeper trains, amazing dining and, of course, unbeatable views. There are routes like the Surfliner, which runs along the Pacific Ocean (and would be an unforgettable destination for spring break ), the Grand Canyon Railway, a two-hour ride of bliss and tons more that are sure to pique your interest.

Let the best train rides in America also inspire you to make locomotives your transportation of choice even when you head to international destinations (we recommend you hop aboard Norway’s famous Flåm Railway ).

Still need help deciding where to go and what to pack? Check out Good Housekeepin g 's 2023 Family Travel Awards for expert advice, top-tested gear and more.

Amtrak Auto Train

amtrak riders around the country

If you’re traveling to a destination that requires use of a vehicle, Amtrak’s Auto Train allows you to pack it with you! It transports your car (or other recreational vehicles) as well as you and your family on a route from Washington, DC to Sanford, Florida.

Good Housekeeping’s Textiles, Paper & Apparel Lab executive director, Lexi Sachs boarded the train with her family for a trip to Orlando, which she described as “just as fun of an experience for my two kids” as their trip to Disney World.

Sachs also pointed out that the train trip featured a range of seating options, from coach to bedrooms with pull down beds, lovely views of the East Coast, delicious dinner and breakfast, and allowed her to feel like she wasn’t losing a day of vacation due to travel. Plus, Amtrak offers priority offloading, “which means your car comes off first,” Sachs said, adding that “It was definitely worth it in my opinion!”

America's National Parks with Rocky Mountaineer

durango and silverton narrow gauge railroad steam engine train ride, durango, colorado

See eight destinations over 11 days when you embark on this incredible journey through canyons and mountains. You’ll have the chance to explore Arches National Park with its many sandstone arches, Canyonlands National Park, which is full of rock columns and original Native American cave paintings and Yellowstone National Park, where you will see its majestic hot springs and geysers. Not only does this package include multiple sightseeing tours, but it also covers 10 nights of hotel stays and three meals.

Grand Rail Experience

a drone aerial view of a freight and passenger train going through a countryside on a late summer evening

Visit great American cities, including Washington, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles and New Orleans, on this 14-day cross-country journey. Included in the package is six nights of hotel accommodations, seven nights onboard one of Amtrak’s sleeper trains, sightseeing tours and priceless landscape views.

You also get to take your pick from attractions such as the Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour, Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), Woodland Park Zoo and Chihuly Garden and Glass for no additional cost.

Northern Rail Experience

amtraks california zephyr rolls along the rails during its daily 2,438 mile trip to emeryvillesan francisco from chicago

Get your fill of adventure when you embark on this nine-day train vacation with stops in Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and Muir Woods.

Amtrak offers an all-inclusive package with a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour, and breathtaking views of the great plains and the Pacific Coast. Plus you and your family will enjoy three nights of hotel accommodations and five nights on board Amtrak in private sleeping rooms. One meal is also included.

Alaska Railroad's Coastal Classic

best train rides

Alaska Railroad's Coastal Classic departs from Anchorage and winds along the Turnagain Arm before turning off into the backcountry wilderness and eventually ending in Seward.

Look for views of the steep Chugach Range mountains plummeting right into the ocean, and the stunning shores of Resurrection Bay; wildlife sightings along the way could include beluga whales, sheep, bear and moose. Daily service is available seasonally, from mid-May through mid-September. Take a variety of tours in Seward — like glacier treks or sled dog rides — before heading back to Anchorage.

best train trips amtrak pacific surfliner train with blue ocean and blue sky

Amtrak’s famous Surfliner route runs between San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego, with multiple daily departures.

The route runs along the Pacific Ocean — almost close enough to catch a wave — for gorgeous views throughout the journey. And yes, you can bring along your surfboard; special racks are designed to hold travelers’ outdoor gear.

Napa Valley Wine Train

the napa valley wine train a privately operated excursion train that runs between napa and st hele

If you love wine and vintage aesthetics, you absolutely must experience the Napa Valley Wine Train. Century-old railcars traverse a 150-year-old rail corridor on this 36-mile round-trip journey. The railroad once transported guests to a spa resort in Calistoga and now winds its way across the pastoral California landscape from Napa to St. Helena and back, stopping at the famed region’s wineries all along the route. Four on-board kitchens provide locally sourced, top-end cuisine for a full luxury dining experience.

Grand Canyon Railway

best train trips steam engine of the grand canyon railroad which runs from williams, a small town near flagstaff up

This trip re-creates the historic voyage to the Grand Canyon by rail, which opened to its very first passengers in 1901. Passengers aboard the Grand Canyon Railway depart from Williams Depot and make their way to the Grand Canyon Depot, which is the last operating log depot in the country. The depot is located right in the middle of the National Park’s historic district, near the storied El Tovar Hotel, and merely 200 yards from the edge of the canyon’s South Rim. In all, the trip covers 65 miles of scenic terrain, with unmatched views and photo opps.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

best train trips smoky mountain railroad locomotive

The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad takes passengers on a scenic rail journey through this beautiful mountain range. Choose from two versions of the trip, named for standout attractions: the Nantahala Gorge Excursion (44 miles) or the Tuckasegee River Excursion (32 miles). Both offer a range of seating classes, including an open-air gondola and first-class dining car. Specialty versions of the trip include wine and dine, fall foliage spotting, and even a Peanuts-theme Easter ride.

Cass Scenic Railroad

best train trips coming round the bend

The steam-driven Cass Scenic Railroad takes passengers through the mountains of West Virginia on revamped flat cars that hauled lumber to the Cass mill more than a century ago. The 11-mile heritage railroad runs from May through October, offering a trip through both history and scenery. Ride to the overlook at Bald Knob, the third highest point in West Virginia, for unforgettable views and picture-taking spots.

Cape Cod Central Railroad

best train trips cape cod central train

Cape Cod Central is a heritage railroad that operates on 27 miles of former New Haven Railroad tracks on Cape Cod. It takes passengers through marshes, cranberry bogs, dunes — places you can only access by rail. Come for a historic narrated daytime ride, Sunday brunch, sunset dinner, or a special festive holiday ride.

Sunset Limited

best train trips sunset limited

Travel between Louisiana and California on Sunset Limited, Amtrak’s Southernmost route. On the way from New Orleans through San Antonio, Tucson, Phoenix and Los Angeles, see diverse scenery including the bayou country, Southwestern deserts, and California mountains. Three trains depart weekly in each direction.

Coast Starlight

best train trips railroad central california coast

The Coast Starlight works its way along the west coast from Los Angeles to Seattle. On the route, pass Santa Barbara, the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento and Portland. Catch scenery from verdant valleys and forests to the snow-topped mountains of the Cascade Range and Mount Shasta and the Pacific Ocean shoreline to boot. This striking route runs daily.

Empire Builder

best train trips view of willis tower from amtrak train entering chicago illinois

Amtrak’s famous Empire Builder route runs daily between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest. It covers portions of the Lewis and Clark trail, following the route of the pioneers. Urban views include the twinkling skyline of Minneapolis and St. Paul; natural landscapes include the North Dakota plains, Big Sky country in Montana and Glacier National Park. The route runs daily.

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Amtrak Pacific Surfliner

The best train rides in the USA for seriously gorgeous views

From coastal routes to journeys through the mountains, these train rides spotlight all of America's most stunning scenery.

Clara Hogan

From redwood groves to sprawling desert landscapes to miles of picturesque countryside, America has no shortage of stunning scenery across its 50 states. One of the best ways to take in all the beauty is by hopping aboard a train. 

While a road trip through America is always a great choice to see the country's sights, we'd argue train travel is even better. Not only is riding  on a train a timeless experience with notes of romance and nostalgia, but there's no airport stress or need to be at attention behind the wheel. Instead,  you can sit back, relax and simply stare out the window as you take it all in. 

Below, you'll find the best and most scenic train rides across the country. On the West Coast, take in ocean views aboard the Coast Starlight (from Los Angeles to Seattle ) or the Surfliner, which hugs the California coast for miles. On the East Coast, the Mount Washington Cog Railway takes you through the Mount Washington area in New Hampshire. Looking for something even more adventurous? Head to Alaska  to catch the Denali Star’s 350-mile trek from Fairbanks to Anchorage.

Whether you're looking for a multi-day adventure or a route that only lasts a few hours, these train rides won't disappoint.

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Best train rides in the USA

Rockies to the Red Rocks

1.  Rockies to the Red Rocks

Denver, co to moab, ut.

Trip length: Two days

The first U.S. offering from luxury Canadian company Rocky Mountaineer, the ' Rockies to the Red Rocks ' trip takes passengers on a two-day ride from Denver to Moab—passing through stunning Rocky Mountains and southwest scenery along the way. Best of all? Passengers will witness all that gorgeous nature from the train's glass-dome top! That's right, we're talking about unobstructed views of some of the most gorgeous scenery in the USA . The 2024 season runs from April 14 through October 9.

Coast Starlight

2.  Coast Starlight

Los angeles, ca to seattle, wa.

Trip length: 36 hours

Traveling by train instead puts a spin on the classic left-coast road trip. The advantages? There are zero wrong-turn fights and way more photo ops. The 1,377-mile Coast Starlight route hits the best of the West: Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland, and more. On the 36-hour trip, bounce from your seat to the dining car and the 'sightseer lounge car,' where all the seats face the panoramic, floor-to-ceiling windows. 

Pacific Surfliner

3.  Pacific Surfliner

San diego, ca to san luis obispo, ca.

Trip length: 8-9 hours

If you're looking for a train ride with ocean views, you can't beat Amrak's Pacific Surfliner , which travels along a 351-mile route, many of the trip is directly along the California coast. The route starts out in San Diego before meandering up through Anaheim, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and other stops before ending in San Luis Obispo in the central part of the state. 

The Grand Canyon Railway

4.  The Grand Canyon Railway

Williams, az to the grand canyon, az.

Trip length: 2 hours 15 minutes

Sure, you may have been to the Grand Canyon already, but have you ever admired Grand Canyon country by train? On The Grand Canyon Railway , you’ll depart from Williams, Arizona, and roll through pine forests and prairies, spotting pronghorn and bald eagles, before arriving two hours and 15 minutes later at the epic South Rim. All of the historic cars of the Grand Canyon Railway have fascinating former lives and some have glass-dome ceilings for unstoppable panoramas. 

The Empire Builder

5.  The Empire Builder

Chicago, il to portland, or.

Trip length: 45–46 hours

There is only one word to describe this journey: epic. The Empire Builder runs daily between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest, mirroring much of Lewis and Clark’s original expedition. It passes through a greatest-hits list of must-see sites, from the urban (St. Cloud and Minneapolis) to the great outdoors (big-sky country and Glacier National Park ). The trip totals 46 hours, which warrants booking at least a roomette with seats that convert to beds so you can fully stretch out once you’ve gotten your fill of landscapes under the moonlight. 

The Alaska Denali Star

6.  The Alaska Denali Star

Anchorage, ak to fairbanks, ak.

Trip length: 12 hours

This 350-mile stretch through the heart of Alaska highlights the state's beautiful, rugged wilderness. Between the birch forests, rushing rivers, caribou- and bear-spotting, views of Mt. McKinley and a stint through Denali National Park, there’s a reason this is the Alaska Railroad ’s flagship sojourn. If you can swing it, splurge on a GoldStar upgrade and take in the spectacular scenery from an open-air viewing car, with absolutely nothing between you and the wild. 

Skunk Train

7.  Skunk Train

Willits, ca.

Trip length: 2 hours

Hopping aboard  Skunk Train  is like traveling back in time—this historic train has been traversing Mendocino County in California since 1885. Today, you can choose from a variety of routes and experiences. The most popular journey is Wolf Tree Turn. This 16-mile route will take you through old-growth redwood groves within Noyo River Canyon, over trestle bridges, and under tunnels, ending with a stop in Crowley, where you can take in the majesty of one of the oldest trees in the area, the Wolf Tree. Enjoy snacks and beverages (including alcoholic ones) before heading back toward Willits.

The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

8.  The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Bryson city, nc.

Trip length: 3.5 hours

It may be pint-size, but Bryson City, the departure point for this rail-riding adventure, is rich with local gems like barbecue joints, a soda fountain and a brewery. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad has various routes, but the four-and-a-half-hour Nantahala Gorge excursion is a scenery-serving star, snaking along the forested Nantahala River and crossing the Fontana Lake by bridge. Foliage lovers, take note: The leaves here are breathtaking during the fall.

The Mount Washington Cog Railway

9.  The Mount Washington Cog Railway

Bretton woods, nh.

Trip length: 3 hours

Like the Little Engine That Could, this antique train chugs daily up Mount Washington , depositing its passengers at the 6,288-foot peak, the highest in the Northeast. A working museum of sorts (the track dates to 1852), the Cog has the elevated feel of a gondola, only you’re in a sturdy little train. At the top, take in the sweeping views of Canada and the Atlantic on a clear day. 

The Napa Valley Wine Train

10.  The Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa valley, ca.

Trip length: 3 to 6 hours on average

On this California Wine Country track, you can get intoxicated by the scenery alone: picture-perfect wineries and hills carpeted in lush rows of vines. But you’ll have a little help, what with all the vino you’ll be sipping alongside your onboard multicourse meal—both lunch and dinner are options. The roving restaurant aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train comprises a collection of vintage Pullman railcars complete with mahogany panels and brass hardware. So go ahead and soak it all up—you’re not behind the wheel, after all.

California Zephyr

11.  California Zephyr

Emeryville, ca to reno, nv.

Trip length: 6 hours 45 minutes

At more than 2,400 miles long, the  California Zephyr —stretching from San Francisco to Chicago—is Amtrak's longest route. While we don't recommend you do the route in its entirety (unless that floats your boat), we highly recommend the route stretching from the Bay Area (hop on in San Francisco or Emeryville) to the Lake Tahoe area (get off in Reno or Truckee). This scenic journey is an ideal way to get to Tahoe, beat the traffic, and take in dreamy views.  

The Hawaiian Railway Society

12.  The Hawaiian Railway Society

Trip length: 1.5 hours

Train travel takes a turn for the tropical on this 90-minute jaunt across Oahu in an old sugar-cane hauler traveling at the lickety-split speed of 15 miles an hour. The ride aboard the Hawaiian Railway Society shows you a rarely-seen version of Hawaii, filled with old sisal plantations and ghost towns. Time your trip for the second Sunday of the month and you can book a seat in the elegant 1900 parlor car that was the personal ride of Oahu Railway & Land Co. founder Mr. Dillingham. It's worth noting, however, that reservations are now required to ride the train. 

Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad

13.  Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad

Durango, co to silverton, co.

Trip length: 3.5 hours

One of the most scenic ways to experience one of the most scenic states; a ride on the Narrow Gauge Railroad isn’t merely photo fodder, but a full immersion into the wild, wild west. The train has been rolling between Durango and Silverton since 1882, when it was tasked with transporting silver and gold out of the San Juan Mountains. The 45.4-mile route runs in both directions along the Animas River, crisscrossing it five times, and passing by old stagecoach trails and long-deserted mining camps as it winds between 14,000ft high peaks.

The Ethan Allen Express

14.  The Ethan Allen Express

New york city, ny to burlington, vt.

Trip length: 7 hours 35 minutes

While the destination is a major draw, getting there is half the fun on this five-and-a-half-hour journey from New York City to Vermont. On the Ethan Allen Express , you’ll cruise through the postcard-perfect towns of New York’s Hudson Valley; hit Saratoga Springs, as famous for its horse races as its hot springs and snake around Vermont’s fittingly named Green Mountains, before landing in charming little-big city Rutland, with its historic downtown and one helluva farmers' market.

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North America Luxury Train Tours

Journey through North America’s most beautiful mountains, lakes, and cities on a luxury train trip with the Society of International Railway Travelers’ (IRT). Travel around Canada as you explore the natural beauty of the country. Both Rocky Mountaineer and The Canadian are on our World’s Top 25 Trains list so you know these trips are one-of-a-kind. With trips ranging from one week to 16 days, IRT has a North American luxury train vacation that fits your schedules and needs.

Vacation through iconic Canadian cities including Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver, as well as the Canadian Rockies and national parks. IRT’s North American itineraries allow you to experience the best of what the continent has to offer. Whether you’re exploring an amazing Canadian metropolis or taking pictures of one of the world’s most breathtaking lakes, this is an unforgettable vacation. IRT’s commitment to providing the best in luxury train adventures has earned us awards and recognition for years.

All three trains available on our North American luxury train journeys are guest favorites.

Our longest journey, the Trans-Canada Rail Adventure, traverses the country and combines several days on The Canadian with a journey on Rocky Mountaineer .

The Canadian

Rocky mountaineer, royal canadian pacific, the destinations.

With trip options ranging from the 16-day Trans-Canada Rail Adventure to a shorter week-long excursion, IRT train journeys cover a large array of destinations.

Rocky Mountaineer: First Passage to the West Highlights

The trans-canada rail adventure, interested in taking a luxury vacation through north america.

The Society of International Railway Travelers helps you get the most out of their North American luxury train vacation with excellent service and the best attractions the continent has to offer.  Check out our journey finder to find the perfect trip. Want more information? Contact The Society of International Railway Travelers today!

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Buses and trains go almost everywhere in the world, allowing travelers to cover a lot of ground without the hassle of driving or the inflexibility of flights. Whether you want to embark on a romantic long-distance rail journey in Europe or a boozy excursion through Napa Valley’s vineyards, Travel + Leisure has the scoop on the latest routes — and the best bus and train travel ideas.

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South America Luxury Train Tours 2024

Although less renowned than in Asia and Europe, South America luxury train tours provide a glorious escape from the hectic modern world as you explore Latin America. Our 2024 train tours in South America were meticulously curated to offer total opulent rail journeys and are perfectly positioned to be incorporated into a more comprehensive tour of the region.

Luxury Rail Tours in Peru & South America

Just click on any of the tours listed below to open up or download a PDF file with the tour’s full details including dates and pricing. Note that we offer the Andean Explorer in conjunction with a wider luxury tour in Peru with our sister company – The Latin America Travel Company .

● Please remember that booking as far ahead as you can in advance is essential for these trains ●

12 Nights From UK £ 9,450/ US $ 12,280

Contact us for quotes in other currencies

Lima ● Arequipa ● Belmond Andean Explorer ● Lake Titicaca ● Cusco ● Machu Picchu ● Sacred Valley

18 Nights From UK £ 11,370 / US $ 14,780

Lima ● The Amazon ● Sacred Valley ● Machu Picchu ● Cusco ● Belmond Andean Explorer ● Lake Titicaca ● Arequipa

South American Regional Highlights

The following highlights of this region can be visited on our luxury rail tours and offer world class experiences. Contact us about rail tours we cna tailor in South America.

Peru Arequipa

At an altitude of 2,380 meters this Peruvian city is surrounded by three volcanoes and has a rich mix of Spanish & indigenous culture.

Peru Cusco

Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire and the gateway to the famous sites of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Peru Puno

Puno is a picturesque port city at an altitude of over 3,800 metres, on the shores of Lake Titicaca on the Altiplano of Peru.

Experience The Finest Luxury Train Journeys South America Offers

Train trips in South America are nothing new, but now you can travel by train in South America at the height of luxury. Opulence abounds on these train journeys through Latin America, from onboard accommodations, dining experiences, and world-class service provided by the crew onboard the trains. Many people choose to nourish themselves in a South America luxury rail holiday while exploring the region on a wider exploratory tour.

Passengers onboard these luxury trains in South America can saturate their souls while breathing in the fresh, crisp Andean air from one of the train’s open decks. You’ll also be able to revel in menus with the finest seasonal dishes prepared by top-class chefs while taking a train across South America. After enjoying your fine meal, maybe relax by having a treatment at the onboard spa or retire to your luxury cabin for a comfortable night’s rest and prepare for the following day’s activities on your South America luxury train tour.

South America Luxury Train Tour Itineraries That Offer A Unique Perspective

Our South America luxury train holidays offer travellers a truly unique way of experiencing this incredibly beautiful region. While many people opt to fly throughout South America, rail travel in South America allows you to get on the ground and actually experience the incredible landscapes, cultures, and people that other forms of transport just can’t give you. We offer the best train rides in South America that have been designed with total luxury in mind.

These South America train travel itineraries have been curated to provide an unsurpassable Latin American experience. South America train tours with The Luxury Train Travel Company allow you to experience a myriad of magical destinations, from the picturesque port city of Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca to departing from Quinto in Ecuador. If you desire to travel by train in South America, and want to do it in style and luxury, we’d gladly assist in making it happen.

Luxury South America Train Tours Curated By Leading Industry Experts

If you’re considering train travel in South America, there’s no better place to go than The Luxury Train Travel Company. We are industry-leading experts at organising train tours in South America and have a wealth of experience to call upon to offer the greatest itineraries for Latin America rail travel. In South America, travellers have such a monumental choice of destinations and activities, and we curate South America train tours that ensure you don’t miss out.

Regardless of the length of each tour or its destination, these train trips in South America are designed to provide travellers with the ultimate onboard experience. Whether you take a three-hour trip via train across South America or a four-night Andes to the Pacific South America luxury rail holiday that takes in some incredible volcanic views and spectacular rail engineering, you can be confident that you are getting the finest possible tour created by the best in the business.

Luxury Train Travel in South America via Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile & Patagonia

We often find that travellers head for Latin America due to the diversity it offers in landscapes, incredible city destinations, history, and intriguing cultures. South America train travel provides a wonderful way of seeing many of the region’s unique gems. A journey on a luxury train in South America will undoubtedly be the journey of a lifetime for many people, and choosing train journeys in South America with the most suitable itineraries is crucial for the overall experience.

You may opt for Bolivia as a destination you want to visit when you travel by train in South America. Bolivia truly is a land of extremes, with spectacular views, high altitudes, and astounding landscapes. Argentina and Brazil are also astonishingly popular for South America train tours. Peru, Chile, and Patagonia are also very favoured for South America luxury train holidays, and The Luxury Train Travel Company is here to ensure you get the best tour itinerary.

Find the Best Train Journeys in South America with The Luxury Train Travel Company

The Luxury Train Travel Company have been the go-to agency for train travel in South America for many years. Our entire team is passionate about luxury train journeys and the opportunities on offer from such an incredible mode of transport. Because we focus on train travel, we are in the position of being able to offer the best train journeys in South America.

You can choose from a wide variety of luxury trains in South America that will take you to many of the most popular destinations and attractions in Latin America. South America train travel makes a great addition to a tour itinerary or as a full holiday tour in its own right. You can search our luxury South America train tours to find the journey you want or speak to an expert, and we’ll help curate a bespoke itinerary that includes some incredible train trips in South America.

Interested In A South America Luxury Train Holiday in 2024? Speak to Our Experts Today!

The Luxury Train Travel Company has specialised in first-class rail travel for many years and has provided world-class travel itineraries for travellers worldwide. We are passionate about rail travel and train tours in South America. South America luxury train tours are often overshadowed by more famous Asian and European routes. Still, our beautifully curated journeys offer the best train rides in South America, and there’s no better time than now to book your South America train travel for 2024 than now!

If you’re in the early stages of planning a trip on a luxury train in South America, know exactly what you want, or you’re confused by all the choices you have and want to learn more and get some professional guidance, The Luxury Train Travel Company is here to help. The Luxury Train Travel Company can help with any queries concerning luxury train travel in South America and curate your dream trip. Please contact a member of our team who will be happy to chat and arrange a South America luxury train tour for 2024.


South america luxury train tours faqs, can you travel through south america by train.

If you’ve experienced any part of Latin America before, you’ll know just how stunning the countries are that make up this part of the world. With countries such as Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to immersing yourself in new cultures and exploring some incredible destinations. Train travel in South America is a prevalent choice of transport for seeing Latin America at a slower pace that allows you to enjoy the journey rather than simply moving from point A to point B. You can travel by train in South America on a number of different routes and trains. Luxury train travel in South America is less talked about when compared to well-known routes through Europe and Asia. Still, the best train rides in South America provide travellers with something truly unique, from the opportunity of visiting glaciers and mountains to interacting with the indigenous people and experiencing new cultures and culinary delights that you simply can’t find elsewhere. One of the great things about train travel in South America is the number of route options. You could take a journey on a luxury train in South America with a duration of a couple of hours that is incorporated into a Latin America tour itinerary, or you could sit back and relax onboard one of the train tours in South America that wind its way through the region over the course of several days. Whatever the duration you decide to travel by train in South America, you’ll be creating an unforgettable experience that will instil a lifetime of wonderful memories.

Are there international trains in South America?

There is no longer a coherent international rail network in South America, but you can still choose individual railway networks as a fabulous way to see Latin America. Train travel in South America gives rise to boundless wonderful opportunities for travellers. In particular, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador are spectacular countries to explore on South America luxury train holidays. Brazil is also one of Latin America’s gems and well worth exploring. The country has some captivating rail journeys. Argentina and Chile would also be high on the list of countries to visit using South America train travel as your preferred mode of transport. Patagonia is a magical place to visit during a South America luxury train tour. If you’d like to explore all your options for train travel in South America, we’ve got experts that can help. The Luxury Train Travel Company has many years of experience creating itineraries and travel plans for clients looking for the best train travel experiences. Whether you want to experience a couple of short South America train tours during your trip or go cross-continent utilising luxury train travel in South America, we’ll help you design your ultimate train tour package that ticks all the boxes for you and ensures you get the finest South America train travel vacation.

What is South America’s most luxurious train?

The definition of luxury differs for different people. Still, as highly experienced luxury train experts, the Andean Explorer must be at the top of our list of luxury trains in South America. The train is operated by Belmond and strays away from more traditional interiors with a more contemporary aesthetic. The carriage interiors were completed using light earthy tones, and each carriage was given the name of flora or fauna that can be found along the train route. Passengers on these South America luxury train tours can choose between any of the beautifully appointed cabins. There are 35 cabins onboard, and you can enjoy either bunk beds, or twin, or suite cabins. Guests can enjoy an en suite bathroom with a shower on this luxury train in South America, a wardrobe, a 24/7 call button, a robe and slippers, and air conditioning. While onboard, passengers can relax in the lounge car and then indulge themselves in a genuinely wonderful fine dining experience in one of the train’s two luxury dining cars. Train travel in South America just doesn’t get better than this, which is why it is so popular among new and seasoned travellers. They’ve even taken luxury one step further with their train trips in South America by having the Picaflor Spa car. There surely can’t be a better way to relax during a journey than a spa treatment. They even provide an altitude acclimatisation treatment that helps to alleviate the effects of climate sickness when travelling at altitude. The choice of routes available is incredible, and you’ll be able to travel along one of the highest rail routes in the world, making it one of the best train rides in America, all done onboard the most luxurious and opulent train.

What’s the transcontinental rail route in South America?

An agreement was signed in 2017 for an Atlantic-Pacific railway, and work began in 2019. Due to be completed in 2024, the transcontinental railway will stretch some 3750 kilometres and make for wonderful train journeys in South America. There are two proposed routes that will be available for taking a train across South America. Both routes are expected to end in Santos, Brazil, with the Pacific coast ending in Ilo and Matarani, Peru. Passengers fortunate enough to be able to enjoy rail travel in South America along this route are in for a real treat. If you’re interested in taking a South America luxury rail holiday along the transcontinental railway, contact us here at The Luxury Train Travel Company, and our experts will gladly assist you in booking your dream train travel in South America.

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24 of the world’s most incredible train journeys

Jan 2, 2024 • 11 min read

luxury train trips in america

As you cross the continental US aboard the California Zephyr, you’ll see prairies, deserts, mountains and canyons galore © Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock

From cutting through the countryside to connecting a country’s great cities, the world’s best railway journeys offer entirely new perspectives on a destination.

Train travel always delivers plenty of magic. Sometimes it’s in the cars, as you meet fellow travelers, or as you eat and sleep with the sound of wheels rolling on the steel rails beneath you. Sometimes it’s outside, in the landscape the train traverses – offering an adventure, an experience, an insight into the heart of a nation.

Our upcoming book,  Amazing Train Journeys ,  rounds up the world’s greatest railway rides. Pulled from its pages, these 24 train journeys are truly first-class.

A train travels through a lush environment with trees alongside the coastline.

1. The Reunification Express, Vietnam

Start:  Ho Chi Minh City End:  Hanoi Departs: Daily Distance:  1072 miles (1726km) Duration:  Two days

This is one of Southeast Asia ’s best-loved railways – and one of the  most epic overnight train journeys in the world . There is no more atmospheric way to haul into Vietnam ’s twin metropolises as this train rattles through historic cities and swooshes beside spectacular coastlines.

2. The California Zephyr, USA

Start:  Chicago End:   San Francisco Departs: Daily Distance:  2438 miles (3924km) Duration:   52hrs 40mins

For soaking up the scenic grandeur of the North American continent, nothing compares with Amtrak ’s California Zephyr , one of the US’ best train journeys . This classic three-day ride travels across prairies, deserts, the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada on its way from the Midwest to the West Coast.

A blue-and-yellow train weaves around a corner in a grassy landscape in Peru.

3. The Lake Titicaca Train, Peru

Start:  Puno End:  Cuzco Departs: Three times a week Distance:  241 miles (388km) Duration:  10 hours

Traversing the Altiplano, from the shores of Lake Titicaca to the bustling heart of the ancient Incan empire, the railway from Puno to Cuzco cuts a ponderous but picturesque path through the snow-dusted peaks and voluptuous valleys of the Andes, across the epic Peruvian plains , passing hardy bowler-hatted llama farmers and traveling through remote towns and villages.

4. The Beijing-to-Lhasa Express, China

Start:   Beijing End:   Lhasa Departs: Daily Distance:  2330 miles (3750km) Duration:  40 hours

From the futuristic architecture and imperial wonders of Beijing, the Z21 train transports its passengers from the neon lights of urban China  across the Tibetan plateau , where it glides past grazing yaks, fluttering prayer flags, snow-capped mountains and boundless blue skies. At your destination, magenta-robed monks await. 

A Kiwirail TranzAlpine train arriving in Arthur’s Pass station, Arthur’s Pass National Park, South Island, New Zealand

5. The TranzAlpine, New Zealand

Start:   Christchurch End:  Greymouth Departs: Daily Distance:   139 miles (223km) Duration:  4hrs 30mins

Under five hours, this journey is surely one the world’s finest and most scenic one-day train rides. Commence the TranzAlpine experience in Christchurch, before speeding along the Canterbury Plains and climbing quickly through the snow-capped mountains of the Southern Alps, then descend through a thrilling tunnel to emerge among the lakes, streams and rainforests of the South Island ’s West Coast. 

6. The Bergensbanen, Norway

Start:  Oslo End:   Bergen Departs: Four times a day Distance:  308 miles (496km) Duration:   6hrs 30mins

This astonishing train is one of Europe’s best railway rides  – and one of the least well known outside of Norway . It covers the spectrum of the Nordic country’s natural splendor: climbing canyons, crossing rivers, burrowing through mountainsides and traversing barren icescapes.

A train travels on a high track over a valley in a lush forest.

7. Tazara Railway, Tanzania and Zambia

Start:  Dar es Salaam End:  Kapiri Mposhi Departs: Twice a week Distance:  1160 miles (1860km) Duration:   46 hours

Few trains in the world offer the chance – and we should point out that it’s a chance rather than a guarantee – of spotting big game from your seat. The Tazara ( Tanzania and Zambia Railway Authority) does just that. The highlight, though, is the chance to spend two days watching everyday life out of the window, and enjoying the clamor and chaos when the train pulls to a halt – scheduled or unscheduled.

8. The Sunset Limited, USA 

Start:   New Orleans End: Los Angeles Departs: Three times per week  Distance: 1995 miles (3211km)  Duration:  Two days

The ultimate American railroad ride: east to west, coast to coast, clean through from the bars of New Orleans to the breakers of the Pacific Ocean. If you’ve always dreamed of crossing the States, but don’t much relish the prospect of two weeks spent cooped up in an automobile, then a ride on the Sunset Limited is the answer. Sit back and let America’s landscapes buzz by: from Louisiana’s bayous, past the high-rises of Houston, across the deserts of Texas and Arizona , over the Californian hills all the way to LA’s golden beaches. Saddle up, partner: it’s gonna be quite a ride.

The Caledonian Sleeper train crosses Rannoch Viaduct on the scenic West Highland Line railway in the Scottish Highlands.

9. The Caledonian Sleeper, UK

Start:  London (Euston) End:   Fort William Departs: Daily Distance:  509 miles (819km) Duration:  13hrs 30mins

Segueing from the sooty suburbs and crowded concrete-lined cul-de-sacs of central London to the crisp air and soaring vistas of the Scottish Highlands via one overnight train journey epitomizes the romance of rail travel. Enjoy the buffet-car banter, be lulled to sleep by the rhythm of the rails, then wake up to bedside views of towering granite peaks. 

10. Mombasa to Nairobi, Kenya

Start: Mombasa Ends:  Nairobi Departs: Daily Distance:  360 miles (579km) Duration:  5hrs 10mins

The Nairobi–Mombasa railway route is among Africa’s most legendary: it even helped foster the modern concept of safari. The rickety old railway has undergone a rebuild in recent years with smart new stations and a new track laid across the Kenyan savannah . What hasn’t changed is the spellbinding journey, with trains departing from Mombasa and passing in the shadow of Kilimanjaro to the cusp of the Great Rift Valley.

11. Tangier to Marrakesh, Morocco

Start:   Tangier End:  Marrakesh Departs: Daily Distance:  360 miles (580km) Duration:  5hrs 15mins

Nothing can fully prepare you for the magnificence Morocco ’s most evocative city – from the clamor and spectacle of the central square, Djemaa El Fna , to the primary colors of the Jardin Majorelle ; and from the peaceful madrassa of Medersa Ben Youssef to the mad profusion of alleyways. There’s no doubting that a railway journey down the spine of this North African nation is a profoundly uplifting experience.

People sit in the observation desk of a train looking out at the Rocky Mountains.

12. The Rocky Mountaineer, Canada

Start:   Vancouver End:   Banff Departs: Twice a week Distance:  594 miles (957km) Duration:  37 hours

Clattering across the wild Rocky Mountains along a pioneering 19th-century railroad, this train journey is all at once a geological field trip, sightseeing adventure and wildlife safari. It promises cinematic views of Canada ’s quintessential mountain landscapes, plus a bevy of engineering marvels, from dizzying bridges to logic-defying tunnels. And with luck, you might even spy a bald eagle, moose or grizzly bear. 

13. Alexandria to Aswan, Egypt

Start:   Alexandria End:  Aswan Departs: Daily Distance:  670 miles (1100km) Duration:  16 hours

A ride from Alexandria to Aswan means you will travel the length of Egypt 's rail network – and also undertake an odyssey in the company of the great Nile River , with chances to disembark and explore the relics of empires along its banks . Do keep in mind that, for all their plus points, Egyptian trains are not always known for punctuality. 

14. The Serra Verde Express, Brazil

Start:   Curitiba End:  Morretes,  Paraná Departs: Daily Distance:  42 miles (68km) Duration:  3hrs 30mins

One of Brazil ’s most spectacular train journeys, the Serra Verde Express starts in the architecturally bold city of Curitiba and winds its way through dramatic mountain passes covered with tropical rainforest before it drops you in Morretes in the lush state of Paraná. The half-day trip takes in canyons, jagged mountain peaks and verdant lowlands, and the slow-going locomotive allows plenty of opportunities to photograph the cinematic backdrop while traversing some 30 bridges and chugging through 14 tunnels. Aside from the captivating scenery, the journey provides a fascinating glimpse into the past as it trundles through tiny stations dating back to the late 1800s.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway passes by produce venders in the town of Ghum, West Bengal, India

15. The Darjeeling Toy Train, India

Start:   New Jalpaiguri End:   Darjeeling Departs: Daily Distance:  55 miles (88.5km) Duration:  7–8 hours

India ’s narrow-gauge steam railways are the stuff of legend, and the bottle-blue Darjeeling Toy Train is the nation’s lead engine. The ride from the Bengal plains to Darjeeling travels past emerald-green tea plantations and precariously balanced, tin-roofed townships, while clouds tumble down the looming massif of Mt Khangchendzonga. Steam engines are now only used for a small section of the route, yet this iconic mountain journey still serves up a sizable slice of history.

16. The Hokkaidō Shinkansen, Japan

Start:  Tokyo End:  Hakodate Departs: Daily Distance:  512 miles (824km) Duration:  4 hours

The Hokkaidō Shinkansen , one of Japan’s iconic bullet trains , takes you from Tokyo to Hakodate, the southern port of Hokkaidō . Along the way, it zooms past picturesque scenes of rural Japan , through mountains and under the sea. The route is only part of it, though: riding the shinkansen – with its food trolleys and staff who bow upon entering and exiting the train car – is a classic Japanese experience.

A smiling woman looks out from a train window as it travel on a picturesque railroad in Sri Lanka

17. Colombo to Badulla, Sri Lanka

Start:  Colombo End:  Badulla Departs: Daily Distance:  181 miles (292km) Duration:  9–10 hours

One of many unforgettable things about Sri Lanka is the variety and intensity of the color green throughout the year . And for train aficionados, there is no better way to appreciate the country’s full, verdant spectrum than an all-day rail journey from Colombo’s urban gardens at sea level to tea plantations in the Hill Country , via brain-spinning sensory doses of jungle and forest, paddy field and palm tree, mountain and valley, national parks…and human habitation, too. Expect to move slowly – and enjoy one of the most scenic train trips in the world.

18. Bangkok to Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore

Start:   Bangkok End:  Singapore Departs: Weekly Distance:  1200 miles (1900km) Duration: Three days

A railway journey from Bangkok to Singapore spans three countries, three capital cities, and – without disembarking once – can be completed in under three days. But to go so fast would be to miss the point of this artery along the Malay Peninsula – a line suited to capricious roaming. You always have the option to hop off – to see tropical islands, to scale the cool heights of tea plantations, and to linger in a trio of metropolises that are each entirely different.

A train enters a tunnel in a snowy landscape in Switzerland.

19. The Glacier Express, Switzerland

Start:  St Moritz End:  Zermatt Departs: Daily (in season) Distance:  180 miles (290km) Duration:  8 hours

Switzerland is a nation of rail fanatics . And if the Swiss could pick one definitive ride, the honor would surely go to the Glacier Express . This eight-hour journey from ritzy St Moritz to Matterhorn-topped Zermatt unzips the lovely Alpine terrain in the country’s south, corkscrewing up to wind-battered mountain passes, teetering across 291 bridges and rumbling through 91 tunnels. It intentionally moves at a snail’s pace so you take in those out-of-this-world views of meadows, forest, falls and mountains – all through panoramic windows. 

20. The Bernina Express, Switzerland & Italy

Start:   Chur End:  Tirano Departs: Daily Distance:  96 miles (156km) Duration:  4hrs 30mins

We can wax lyrical about the glacier-capped mountains, waterfall-draped ravines, jewel-colored lakes and endless spruce forests glimpsed through panoramic windows on Switzerland’s Bernina Express – but seeing is believing. Rolling from Chur in Graubünden to Tirano in northern Italy , this narrow-gauge train often tops polls of the world’s most beautiful rail journeys. The line has even made UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites – and with good reason.

A wagon conductor transports passengers' luggage for hotel transfer on the Orient Express.

21. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, England, France, Switzerland and Italy

Start:  London End:  Venice Departs: One to six times per month Distance:  1300 miles (2090km) Duration:  Two days

The promise of traveling from London to Venice cocooned in luxury while sitting in twinkly dining cars with fine china and silver cutlery is surely one that endures in the hearts of all rail enthusiasts. While the Orient Express’ various other 20th-century routes are sadly long gone, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express offers a tantalizing sample of the original on a trip that is surely the best journey back in time ever. But this route gained a new rival in 2023 with the Orient Express La Dolce Vita service  – and, in 2025, a new service on the original route is scheduled to hit the rails .

22. Nova Gorica to Jesenice, Slovenia

Start:  Nova Gorica End:   Jesenice Departs:  Daily Distance:  55 miles (89km) Duration:  Two hours

Here is a near-perfect railway adventure that most people have never heard of. The Bohinj Railway connects two places whose significance can be lost to modern travelers. An unassuming regional train rattling out of a faded-grandeur halt on the Italy– Slovenia border doesn’t even hint at what’s to come. The journey is a spectacular tour of Slovenia’s upland highlights from Nova Gorica, climbing through mountain towns and villages along the Soča River , passing through superb Alpine scenery close to Lake Bohinj , and on past world-famous Lake Bled to Jesenice.

A train winds through an outback landscape in Australia.

23. The Ghan, Australia

Start:   Adelaide End:  Darwin Departs: Twice a week Distance:   1851 miles (2979km) Duration:  54 hours

Cutting vertically across the Outback heart of Australia , straight through the desolate deserts of the Red Centre, the Ghan is one of the southern hemisphere’s most unforgettable train journeys. This cross-country train service has provided a vital link between Australia’s north and south coasts, traveling north across the country from well-to-do, orderly Adelaide to the tropical, croc-filled creeks of Darwin. Luxurious and legendary, it’s Australia’s elegant version of the Orient Express.

24. Cannes to Menton, France

Start:   Cannes End:  Menton Departs: Daily Distance:  34 miles (55km) Duration:  1hr 20mins

It’s the stuff that travel dreams are made of: a slow train skirting the French Mediterranean coast, through towns whose very names resonate with glamour – Cannes, Antibes , Monaco . On one side of the tracks lies that sparkling sea; on the other, dramatic cliffs interspersed with the gorgeous coastal towns of the French Riviera . You can make a long day of this short trip, hopping on and off to explore a street market, linger at an outdoor terrace, take a breath of history and get a taste of luxury.

This article was first published Aug 5, 2019 and updated Jan 2, 2024.

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17 Best Sleeper Train Journeys In The World (Luxury & Budget)

  • Sleeper trains are a cost-effective option that combines accommodation and transportation, making them ideal for budget travelers or those seeking a luxurious experience.
  • From the OBB NightJet in Europe to the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia, there are sleeper train journeys available around the world that cater to all types of travelers.
  • Prices for sleeper train tickets vary depending on the route and level of luxury, but there are affordable options starting at $29, making sleeper trains accessible for many.

Sleeper trains are becoming more popular than ever, and it’s easy to see why. Not only do they combine two key costs for travelers (accommodation and transportation), making a journey more affordable, but there are sleeper trains around the world for all types of travelers.

Whether travelers are backpacking on a budget or looking for a luxurious experience in a first-class cabin, the perfect overnight train exists. These are 17 of the best sleeper train journeys around the world, and there’s something for every type of traveler.

UPDATE: 2023/10/03 14:39 EST BY MARIA BOU INK

17 Of The Best Sleeper Train Journeys In The World (Luxury & Budget)

Sleeper train journeys are limitless, but a few of them are remarkable. Therefore, this list was updated to include additional luxurious and on-budget sleeper train trips around the world, so vacationers can choose the best ones close to them for their next travel.

Brussels To Vienna, OBB NightJet

With budget-friendly tickets, OBB NightJet is one of the best sleeper trains in the world, not only in Europe. The outstanding amenities are the highlight of the service. The cost of the ticket includes a modest breakfast with tea and coffee as well as access to an ensuite bathroom and shower. Additionally, a welcome package with beverages, towels, earplugs, and snacks is given to customers. Moreover, air conditioning and lockable compartments are both provided.

  • Prices: Starting at €29 ($30.35) per passenger

Bicycles and dogs are allowed on board.

New York To Miami, Silver Meteor Or Silver Star

If looking for a train experience that includes magnificent scenery, interesting history, and fascinating culture, passengers can make a reservation on one of Amtrak's Silver Meteor or Silver Star trains, which cruise down America's east coast between New York and Miami. Passengers have the possibility to stop along the route to break up the trip's 29-hour overall duration. Highlights include Charleston, where there are many historical museums and superb restaurants; Tampa, where there are many mesmerizing white sandy beaches; and Orlando, where there are many family-friendly activities.

  • Prices: Starting at $130 for a one-way trip

Paris To Venice, Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Most people have heard of the Orient Express from the famous novel by Agatha Christie entitled “Murder on the Orient Express.” In real life, the train runs across Europe from London to Istanbul. However, the most popular sleeper train route is from Paris to Venice, which takes around 20.5 hours to complete , meaning passengers spend 1 night bunking on the train. Travelers can choose to book a single cabin, a twin cabin, a suite, or a grand suite, depending on their budget.

  • Prices: Starting at £3745 (4517.4) per passenger for a twin cabin

Related: 10 Of The World's Most Expensive Sleeper Train Journeys (Better Than A Cruise!)

Hanoi To Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Vietnam is a favorite country to visit among backpackers who are traveling around Southeast Asia. Given how long and narrow the country is, a sleeper train is a great way to get from the northern capital city of Hanoi to the southern city of Ho Chi Minh without riding on a motorbike. This sleeper train route is suitable for the budget traveler, only costing around $40 for the 32 to 37-hour journey .

Depending on how much passengers are willing to spend on a ticket, they can choose from several seat classes. These are 3rd class (hard wooden seats), 2nd class (soft seats with AC), 2nd class (sleeper with 6 beds per compartment, with AC), or 1st class (sleeper with 4 beds per compartment, with AC).

  • Prices: Starting at $40 per passenger

Zambia To Tanzania, TAZARA Railway

Train travel might not be the first thing that comes to mind when travelers imagine exploring Southern Africa, but spending a night on the TAZARA Railway’s sleeper train is an excellent way to travel between Zambia and Tanzania. TAZARA stands for Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority. The journey takes two nights, running passengers between Kapiri Mposhi and Dar es Salaam. The trains have sleeper cabins and a restaurant car for a comfortable journey across Africa.

  • Prices: A 2nd class sleeper cabin ticket costs 84,600 Tanzanian shillings (around $36.29), and a 1st class sleeper cabin costs 104,000 Tanzanian shillings (around $44.62).

Related: Scotland By Sleeper Train: Why The Deerstalker Is Britain's Best Rail Journey

London, England To Scotland, Caledonian Sleeper

Travelers exploring the UK can forget flying and opt for a comfortable overnight train journey through the Scottish Highlands instead. The Caledonian Sleeper transports passengers from London to various destinations around Scotland, such as Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Inverness. The sleeper cabins are designed to be exceptionally comfortable, complete with a Glencraft mattress.

Passengers can book the more basic Classic Room, which has twin bunk beds and an in-room wash basin, or they can go for a more high-end Club Room, which includes breakfast. If they prefer a double bed to bunk beds, book the Caledonian Double Cabin instead. Passengers should book in advance because these spaces fill up quickly.

  • Prices: Starting at £225 ($271.4) for a classic room from London to Glasgow

Moscow, Russia To Beijing, China, Trans-Siberian Railway

The Trans-Siberian Railway is one of the greatest adventures in the world, taking passengers across the vast country of Russia to Mongolia or China. Taking the train from Moscow to Beijing takes 16 days, but there are several stops along the way, including the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar . When riding the Trans-Siberian railway, passengers can choose from a variety of cabin types.

The Standard cabin sleeps 4 people in a bunk bed formation; the Classic and Superior cabins sleep 2 people. Private cabins can also be booked.

  • Prices: Starting at €650 ($681.2) per passenger

Related: Is this Europe’s Most Underrated Sleeper Train?

Delhi To Mumbai, India, Maharajas’ Express

The Indian Splendour route on the Maharajas’ Express is a grand tour of India from the bustling streets of Delhi to the majestic buildings of Mumbai that takes 6 nights and 7 days. Destinations along the way include Agra, Ranthambore, Jaipur, Bikaner, Jodhpur, and Udaipur. This is a luxury travel experience that doesn’t come cheap.

  • Prices: Starting at $5820 for a single passenger in a deluxe cabin

Pretoria To Capetown, South Africa, The Blue Train

The Blue Train route from Pretoria to Capetown, South Africa, takes two nights and offers spectacular views of the African countryside. Train tickets on The Blue Train include all meals, a sleeper cabin, high tea, drinks, and one excursion in Kimberley. Passengers can choose to book a Deluxe Suite or a Luxury Suite, depending on their budget.

  • Prices: Starting at R36 945 ($1,915.8) in low season and at R45 145 ($2,341) in high season

Oslo To Bergen, Norway

The train ride from Oslo to Bergen is one of the world's most scenic journeys. The distance between these Norwegian cities isn’t as vast as some other sleeper train journeys around the world, but it’s still possible to book a sleeper cabin for the 7.5-hour trip.

  • Prices: Starting at $59 for a sleeper accommodation which a passenger books for themselves (there are no shared cabins with other passengers).

Bangkok To Chiang Mai, Thailand

Traveling in Thailand has never been more accessible since the introduction of the sleeper train running between Bangkok, where most international flights land, and Chiang Mai, the digital nomad paradise of the North . There are two options when booking a sleeper journey on this train: passengers can book 2nd class sleeper seats (with air conditioning) or 1st class sleeper seats (with air conditioning). The 2nd class booking includes a lie-flat seat in a shared train car, while the 1st class seat offers a private cabin. The journey takes just over 12 hours to complete when the trains are running on time.

  • Prices: Starting at 1,453 THB ($39.20) for a first-class sleeper

Cusco To Arequipa, Peru, Belmond Andean Explorer

Explore the Peruvian Andes from the comfort of a luxury train car. The Belmond Andean Explorer offers sleeper accommodation for passengers traveling between Cusco and Arequipa. It’s possible to book bunk bed cabins, twin bed cabins, or suite cabins. The train also has a lounge car, an upscale dining car, an observation car for appreciating the impressive landscapes whizzing past, and an onboard spa. The Peruvian Highlands route takes 3 days and 2 nights to complete , from Cusco to Arequipa via Puno.

  • Prices: Single occupancy tickets start at around $3,940

Chicago To San Francisco, On The California Zephyr

Embarking on this 2,400-mile (3,900 km) journey takes travelers from the shores of the Great Lakes in Chicago to the Pacific Coast in San Francisco. This route is run by the California Zephyr and takes some of the most incredible terrains the USA has to offer. While travelers relax in their accommodations, the train tackles sheer gorges, hot desert, snowy mountains, and plenty of tunnels and switchbacks. These tracks were the first to cross the Continental Divide to link the Atlantic and Pacific. Now Travelers need to simply arrive at the station in Chicago before 2 pm, and they will be swept away to the West Coast. Book early for the best prices.

  • Prices: Starting at $150 per passenger

Brisbane To Longreach, Australia

Many of the best overnight trains in Australia are multiple-day rides, such as the Ghan that runs through Australia's "Red Centre" between Darwin and Adelaide and the Indian Pacific that links Perth and Sydney. The Spirit of the Outback running from Brisbane to Longreach is just over a day long, with much of the trip happening at night when travelers are sleeping. The ride itself takes travelers intimately close to and along the coast before it turns inland to the stunning landscape of Australia's outback.

  • Prices: Starting at $140 per passenger

Amtrak Auto Route - Washington D.C. To Orlando, Florida

Amtrak is the national train carrier of the United States and offers a number of overnight sleeper options on its trains . Of these, the Amtrak Auto Route is arguably the most unique. The Amtrak Auto Route doesn't just have accommodation for the passengers to sleep on board, but also its passenger cars. That's right, on this train; people can bring their car onto the train. The Auto Route runs from Washington D.C. to near Orlando and spares passengers from the hassle of driving down to Florida by themselves.

  • Prices: Starting at $95 per passenger

Deccan Odyssey: A Palace On Wheels

The Deccan Odyssey is one of the most luxurious train rides in the world . It has been designed as a palace on wheels and explores some of the most iconic attractions in India. Passengers are dotted upon as though they were Maharaja royalty, and the train celebrates the best of the heritage of the Rajasthan region of India. Enjoy impeccable service, rich Indian heritage, and one of the most comfortable train accommodations found anywhere.

  • Prices: $8,330 per passenger in a deluxe cabin for single occupancy

Royal Scotsman, Scottish Highlands

The Royal Scotsman may be one of the most luxurious and one of the most expensive train rides in the world. There are multiple rides to select from around the Scottish Highlands, the Scottish Lowlands, and even in England. Like the Deccan Odyssey, the Royal Scotsman is a palace on wheels with a range of package tour options. The train cars of the Royal Scotsman combine Edwardian elegance with the comforts of a country house.

  • Prices: Starting at $4,675 per passenger

17 Best Sleeper Train Journeys In The World (Luxury & Budget)

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Orient Express: The Return of Tailor-Made Train Travel

Orient Express: The Return of Tailor-Made Train Travel

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With heightened environmental awareness and demand for slow travel on the increase, luxury trains such as the famous Orient Express are back to offer travelers a very special journey

A trend that was already steadily on the rise pre-pandemic has accelerated in recent months: the desire to travel more slowly, more eco-consciously , and with more space to move around. Travelers also benefit from the flexibility only overland journeys can provide, as well as the chance to dine and relax in style. The increase in luxury trains such as the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, traversing some of the world’s most scenic routes, are adding to this growing fervor for more leisurely voyages.

By traveling more slowly, we minimise our impact on the planet, gain a greater appreciation for the landscape we pass through, and afford more connections with both the people and places. Train travel can also provide a good dose of nostalgia, particularly if you opt for a 1920s restored mode of transport.

Internal view of a lounge bar on the Orient Express

Related: Explore Interesting Ways to Travel by Car, Train, or Yacht

In mid 2021, The Washington Post reported that, in the United States, Amtrak had shifted its focus from business to leisure travel and was adding around 300,000 new customers each month. And in Europe, sleeper trains are having a revival with the revitalization of some of the continent’s most famous locomotives, along with the promise of new rail experiences.

This heightened interest in upscale adventures by rail runs parallel with the luxury travel segment’s shift towards authentic and unique experiences. Several rail options are now garnering particular attention as they pair sumptuous carriages and elevated service with a unique introduction to each area the train passes through.

SUmptuous interior of a Grand Suite on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Belmond is garnering attention with its celebrated rail journeys across the world and the enhancement of its most legendary train routes—the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, British Pullman, and Royal Scotsman in Europe; the Andean Explorer and Hiram Bingham in Peru; and the Eastern & Oriental Express in Southeast Asia.

Now celebrating 40 years on the rails, Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has been designed to evoke the Golden Age of glamour on the classic London-to-Venice route or the once-a-year, six-day Paris-to-Istanbul journey.

Chef Jean Imbert leaning out of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

In April, Jean Imbert, pictured above, was named chef of Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Since then, he has redesigned the visual identity of the three 1920s restaurant cars—L’Oriental, Étoile Du Nord, and Côte d’Azur—and created his culinary vision in private dinners within the six Grand Suites, as well as through the aperitivo hour of Bar Car ‘3674’, which also serves late night snacks such as lobster rolls and truffled club sandwiches.

Three of the train’s Grand Suites were launched in 2021 along with the introduction of five new boarding points in Rome , Florence, Geneva , Brussels, and Amsterdam , making it possible to travel overnight from Florence to Rome, via the Brenner Pass from Geneva to Venice , or take in Paris , Brussels, and Amsterdam on the Venice-to-Amsterdam route.

Related: Read About the Future of Sustainable Air Travel


Another of Belmond’s celebrated trains, the British Pullman, also drew a fresh wave of attention in 2021 with the reimagination of one of its carriages through a cinematic design partnership with filmmaker Wes Anderson. Paying tribute to the Golden Age of both cinema and travel, the train’s Cygnus carriage is now instantly recognisable as his work, with the filmmaker’s signature aesthetic seen through its distinct color palette and Art Nouveau style.

In Italy, another iconic train journey is being brought back with the revival of the first luxury Orient Express train, which was founded almost 150 years ago by Georges Nagelmackers. The Orient Express La Dolce Vita is back on track thanks to Arsenale S.p.A. in association with Orient Express of Accor Group.

Welcoming its first passengers in 2023, Orient Express La Dolce Vita will see six trains embark across Italy, transporting passengers to Paris, Istanbul, and Split. From 2024, a stopover in Rome will feature the very first Orient Express Hotel, Minerva, and the Orient Express Venice Hotel is scheduled to open the same year.

Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer launches in the U.S.

Train with glass roof and sides with views of the mountains

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, another special train route has been introduced by the rail-tour company behind scenic trains from Vancouver to the Canadian Rockies. Rocky Mountaineer launched in the United States last year with a route connecting Denver, Colorado, and Moab, Utah.

The Rockies to the Red Rocks route takes passengers on a journey alongside the Colorado River and through a series of canyons, with onboard storytelling and culinary experiences along the way. There’s an overnight hotel stay in Glenwood Springs, too.

As more rail journeys traverse scenic and enticing corners of the globe, from the Blue Train and Rovos Rail in South Africa, to Seven Stars in Kyushu, Japan and The Ghan in Australia, travelers with time on their hands are spoiled for choice.

Banner image: The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Courtesy: Belmond

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