Travel across the world on some of the most exhilarating train journeys – from dangerous African railways to cliff-hanging adventure rides.
Tren a las Nubes in Argentina
Often described as one of the scariest train rides in the world, the “Train to the Clouds” in South America is a 16 hour, 270 mile journey that departs from the city of Salta. Passing through lowland ranches and tobacco fields, over 29 bridges and through 21 tunnels, before finally climbing to a nerve-shattering 4,200m at La Polvorilla viaduct – this is one knee-jerking train ride not to be missed!
Georgetown Loop Railroad in America
Elevated to 600ft, this short but sweet railroad journey sure packs some punch. Only 4.5 miles long, this quaint little railroad takes in sweeping mountain vistas and carries mainly tourists between Georgetown and Silver Plume in Colorado.
The Congo-Ocean Railway
If danger’s more your bag, jump aboard this infamous line in the Republic of the Congo. Taking passengers from the capital of Brazzaville to the coast and through dense jungle along the way, this line is regularly under attack from militia groups and there have also been a number of crashes.
The Ghan in the Australian Outback
This route was opened up 150 years ago by camel drivers from Afghanistan, who then turned their skills to creating a railway straight through the outback. Working on the railway in such harsh conditions on difficult terrain claimed the lives of many who built it. Today the railway offers a passenger service running between Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin.
Konkan Railway in India
Travel in traditional Indian haphazard style, on this train line from Mumbai to Goa. Back in the days of the Raj, the British Empire built railways all over India, yet shied away from this wild flooded land stuck between the mountains and the sea. However once the British left the Indians were quick to build their own track, and today you can take in the spectacular curves of North Kerala thanks to them.
Moscow to Vladivostok
Spanning an impressive 9,259km this is one of the world’s longest train journeys. Stretching across two continents, it takes seven days and 67 stops to get you from Russia’s capital city in the West of the country to the Far East.
The Death Railway in Thailand
The not-so-reassuringly named Death Railway runs between Bangkok and Myanmar and is a popular activity for tourists visiting Kanchanaburi who want to experience the thrill of sheer cliffs and rickety wooden bridges for themselves. It’s the railway’s morbid history that earned it its name – it’s estimated over 90,000 labourers and 16,000 prisoners of war died during construction of the 258 mile track.
Qinghai to Tibet Railway
Standing 5,072m, or 16,640ft, above sea level, this line is the world’s highest railway. Trains travelling on this railway are specially built and come with an oxygen supply for every passenger as well as a doctor on board.
White Pass and Yukon Route in Canada and America
From the Alaskan port of Skagway to the Canadian area of Ykon, this railroad dates back to 1900 and climbs along a narrow gauge, with steep inclines, cliff-hanging turns and plenty of bridges. Not to mention the spectacular backdrop of glaciers and mountains, of course.
Of course no mention of the world’s most exciting railways would be complete without a nod to the world’s busiest train station. Serving 3.64 million people per day, Shinjuku must been seen to be believe – if you can deal with the crowds.
Jump on board for some of the most nerve-jangling, adrenaline-pumping train journeys on the planet. All you need are your train tickets and some nerves of steel… What’s your favourite extreme train journey? Share your experiences…
Mikael Johansen is a freelance writer living and working in London. Mikael enjoys travel and photography and wrote this post based on his experience for train tickets retailer - redpostttedhanky.com