Of all forms of travel, the most exciting one, I feel, is train travel. Sitting by the window of a fast moving train lulled by the mechanical chug of the engine and soaking up the swiftly moving scenery is most relaxing. There are some train rides that offer the most awesome views along the way. Here are some of them.

1. Talyllyn Railway, Wales

Running along an 11.67 km stretch from Tywyn, an idyllic town on the mid-Wales Coast, to Nant Gwernol, situated near Abergynolwyn village, the Talyllyn Railway has been preserved as a heritage railway, the first of its kind in the world. Boasting of a great ride down a beautiful countryside, the railway attracts tourists from across the globe. The Talyllin Railway has been an inspiration for many a fiction. Try it out.

2. The Royal Scotsman, Scotland

A train ride to the interior of the Scottish Highlands would be a journey through the most admirable landscape and the Belmond Royal Scotsman promises just that. Dense pine forests cascading down mountains and still lochs mirroring the clouds fill the senses. The train offers a luxury ride and is run by the Orient-Express hotels. You will also get an opportunity of fine dining on the train. Discover Scotland on the Royal Scotsman.

3. Rocky Mountaineer, Canada

The Rocky Mountaineer train journey from Banff to Vancouver is a luxury ride though the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The region boasts of great scenic beauty- the train speeds by canyons, rivers and vast plains on the way. Have the luxury of being served breakfast and lunch at your seat; sip a cool drink and enjoy the scenery flashing past. The fare includes and overnight stay at Kamloops so that you can enjoy the natural beauty of the place more.

4. Konkan Railway – Mangalore to Goa

India is a beautiful country and to admire some of its scenic beauty take the Konkan railway ride from Mangalore to Goa. The train passes through verdant fields growing a bounty of paddy crop; tall coconut trees wiz by along with the lazy clouds slowly sailing across the sky. The land rises from flat plains to undulating hills dotted with small villages and calm, blue water bodies. The landscape is indeed a feast for the eyes.

5. Malnad, Western Ghats, India

The Shimoga – talaguppa railway track running along a distance of 75 km passes through the lush green rainforests of Karnataka. This track was laid to service the forests of the Malnad region. Nowadays, this railway line is used by tourists to reach the Jog Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in India. A ride on the Shimoga-talaguppa train is worth the time and money spent – sit back and enjoy the gentle rocking of the train as you cruise though the cool rainforests. And, keep a lookout - you may be lucky enough to spot some wildlife!

6. Maharajas Express

If you want to travel to the fabled tourist destinations in India in royal style, take the Maharaja Express offered by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation. This train gives an expression to ultimate luxury travelling and is one of the most expensive train rides in the world. The ride covers twelve destinations along five circuits – Ranthambore, Jaipur, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Gawlior, Varanasi, etc. Relax in plush comfort and enjoy the varying landscape of India while on the train.

7. Rameswaram Express, India

Want to travel over sea on a train? Take the Rameswaram Express that runs along the Pambam Bridge, a cantilever bridge connecting the island of Rameswaram to mainland India. Chugging along over the Palk strait, the train will take you across the blue sea, stretching out on both sides. The ride is exhilarating and soothing at the same time. You will feel as if you are flying across the waters, rocked by gentle waves. The Rameswaram Express ride is a must.

8. The Grand Canyon Railway

Enjoy the Grand Canyon while travelling on the Grand Canyon Railway! It is an entertaining trip with several packages to choose from, including night stays and meals. The ride is from Williams in Arizona to the South Rim across the eye-catching landscape of northern Arizona. The tour is historic in nature, as musicians and other characters give an other-timely feel.

9. Napa Valley Wine train, California

The Napa Valley Wine train is perfect for the lover of food and wine. A ride on the train ensures a great dining experience complemented with superb wines. Why wait for a train ride for a gourmet delight, one would say. Well, the added advantage in this case is the great scenic view one would enjoy while wining and dining on the train. To top it off, the train is an antique one, well restored, giving the passengers a feel of travelling in a bygone era.

10. Cass Scenic Railway, West Virginia

Have you seen a mountain goat climb high altitudes? The train on the Cass Scenic Railway does the same – climb high altitudes over a steep gradient, to a summit at almost 4000 ft. The train climbs from Cass to Bald Knob for almost 18 kilometers. Imagine what an exciting ride it is! It is advisable to wear warm clothes on this ride.

11. The Old Patagonian Express, Argentina

An antique train, the Old Patagonia Express – sounds almost out of a storybook – is one of the most famous narrow gauge trains in the world. Covering a distance of 400 kilometers and 600 turns, it runs from Ingeniero Jacobacci in Rio Negro to Esquel in Chubut. The train offers a magical environment, which makes one feel that time has come to a stand still in a long lost past. It runs along the winding valleys and plateaus of mystic Patagonia through small towns inhabited by descendants of the Mapuche Aborigines.

12. TranzAlpine, New Zealand

This train is run by KiwiRail Scenic Journeys and offers one of the most scenic journeys in the world. Travelling from Christchurch to Greymouth, the train takes about four and a half hours to cut across the heart of New Zealand. You get to see breathtaking valleys, gorges, fields and farmlands. The train passes through tunnels and viaducts making the journey fun filled and exciting!

13. The Sunlander, Australia

Chugging down the Queenland Coast from Brisbane and Cairns, the Sunlander train ride is a great one in terms of comfort and scenic beauty. The train runs along verdant slopes, lush green fields and blue hills etched against the sky. To top this off there are tasty dishes and refreshing drinks on offer. There are different classes on the train available to fit different budgets. But you whether you are on the Queenslander class or the economy class, just enjoy this train ride and have a fulfilling experience.

14. Trans-Siberian Railway

If you simply love train rides, here is the longest one for you – the Trans-Siberian Railway. Covering almost one-fifth of the earth’s surface, the train travels from Moscow to Vladivostok, which is on the Pacific Coast. It crosses Lake Baikal, which, from your geography lessons you would remember, is the deepest lake in the world and the endless taiga and steppes of Siberia. Can you imagine what the view from the train would be? Out-of-this-world!

15. Rhine Valley Line, Germany

The Rhine Valley train snakes along a scenic route from Mainz to Koblenz showcasing gentle hills, vineyards and fruit-laden valleys. As the train travels alongside the calm waters of the Rhine, one feels soothed and energized by the beauty all around. This is a ride one must take when travelling in Germany.

16. Douro Line, Portugal

Have you been to Portugal and seen the Douro River? If you haven’t then make it a point to do it on the Douro line rail. A major part of the Douro train track runs along the river and the views of the valley are truly magnificent. This train has a route called the ‘almond blossom circuit’, along which one can see beautiful flowers in bloom, dotting verdant valleys.

17. Glacier Express, Switzerland

If you are someone who does not like train rides, try a ride on the Glacier Express in Switzerland and you will surely fall in love with train journeys. The train snakes through virgin mountains, bypassing deep gorges, verdant valleys, dark tunnels and bridges across playful streams. It is as if nature has everything on display along this ride. The glacier Express train ride is one of the most beautiful rides in the world, so enjoy it to the full!

18. The Orient Express

If you want a royal experience on a train, take the ride on the Orient Express. This train will take you to Venice from Paris in luxury and style, while you sit and enjoy the wonderful scenery outside. You will feel that you are travelling in some bygone era, in a time when you were a royal out on a pleasure ride!

19. Ride from Kandy to Haputale, Sri Lanka

A beautiful ride from a city in the hills, Kandy, to a small town in the mountains – Haputale – this is a train ride in Srilanka and the experience is incredible! The green mountains, blue skies and fresh air on the way will rejuvenate you and wash your care away as you lose your self in the bounties of nature. So next time when you are in Sri Lanka do take this unforgettable train ride.

20. Lhasa Express

Want a ride down the world’s highest railway track? Take the Lhasa Express running on the Qinghai-Tibet railway track. The journey is breathtaking. Talking of breath, the air is rare at the high altitudes of Lhasa. Oxygen cylinders are available on the train for passengers who might experience breathing difficulties. The train climbs to a height of around 16000 feet, a level at which water freezes due to a sudden drop in temperature. This train ride is for the adventurous.

Hurry and choose the train ride of your life!

Anjali Nayyar

Anjali loves to read, philosophize, travel and spend time with her family. With a Masters in Sociology, Anjali ended up as a writer instead of a sociologist. She believes that writing is a channel through which one can express one's innermost self and express one's uniqueness, the gift of life, for all to savor.