From Another Era: 10 Luxury Trains Around the World

Gilded dining cars and white-glove service help us remember the golden era of train travel

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Back before we could book flights from an app on our iPhone in the cab on the way to the airport, there was train travel. And while the days of getting dressed for dinner and retreating, post-Cognac, to a smoking lounge may have largely been replaced by modern day conveniences (non-smoking airplanes, frozen pizzas for one), there is one mode of transit still holding on to the true meaning of luxury travel — trains.

The romance of traveling by train now exists primarily because we don’t have to go that way, we can choose to. When traveling cross-country for business, for example, you’d probably not choose to take a multi-day train trip for a single day of meetings. Spending a week of your holiday staring at picturesque views rolling past, dining on gourmet meals in a sumptuous setting, and sleeping in an over-sized, fully decked out train suite, on the other hand, is a perfect way of enjoying your journey as well as your destination.

Of course, not all trains can offer the gilded extravagances of South Africa’s Rovos Rail. Commuters in the U.S. are lucky if the “dining car” (or cart) hasn’t run out of milk by the time they’re ordering a morning coffee. But book a ticket on the Royal Canadian Pacific railway, and enjoy superbly crafted meals with well-thought-out wine pairings at dinner before pulling the red and gold curtains closed and tucking into bed in your cozy sleeper suite.

Likewise, not all views enhance a train trip. That’s securely not the case when riding The Ghan railway in Australia. The Australian Outback provides an unparalleled backdrop for the green and gold dining car’s meals — no matter how fast you’re powering through it.

If you think about it, trains are the most glamorous way of having breakfast in one port, lunch in another, and dinner in yet another. Plus, you get to skip the TSA.

Click here to see the 10 Luxury Trains Around the World Slideshow.