Class Tracks

Ride the rails in style on these six epic train odysseys

Oct 1, 2005
Outside Magazine

CHUG IT: tunneling through Yoho National Park, British Columbia

THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE. Reflected in the massive expanse of Kamloops Lake, sharply blue through the picture window, visible overhead through the railcar's glass dome. I'm aboard the luxury-class Rocky Mountaineer train threading more than 500 miles from Vancouver to the Canadian Rockies, but if I squint just a little bit, the passengers napping on cushy recliners fall away, leaving just desert sagebrush and bighorn sheep.

The unbroken landscape is a testament to the fact that trains can still take you where nothing else can. Disembarking at Kamloops, I run along the canyon trails high in the hills above town; in Jasper, I'm drawn toward the magnetic blue of a glacial lake. Back on board, I head outside to the vestibule between cars to suck up the clean mountain air. I'm not supposed to stick my head out over the railings, but I do anyway, like a dog drunk on scents—or, in my case, mimosas expertly prepared by the crew.

But train travel isn't just about the killer views and access to remote wilds. It's about arriving in high style: Spacious coaches, white tablecloths and fresh flowers in the dining car, eggs Benedict over lobster for breakfast, and a glass of wine served at my seat. The superb service gives a nod to the glory days of luxe train travel, with the added benefit of adrenaline-packed adventure. Here are six of the best journeys worldwide.

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