They may not be as quick or convenient as flying, but train journeys will always have a special charm about them. One can't also deny that train travel is a modern and vintage way of traveling responsibly.
Train journeys have, in fact, always entranced dreamers, inspired artists and filmmakers, and intrigued authors. While today we don’t like to spend so much time on travel, sometimes the magic inside a long train ride, where you get to mingle with different people and soak in diverse landscapes outside quietly from the window with the sound of the steel wheels beneath you, is something else.
If you are fascinated with the idea of spending prolonged hours on a train journey, then check out this list of the longest train rides of the world. These will be adventures that every travel enthusiast would love to embark on
From: Moscow to Vladivostok (Russia)
Distance: 5,772 miles (9,289 km)
Duration: More than six days
The longest passenger train route world on one rail line starts in Moscow and ends in Vladivostok in Russia. Completed in 1916, it is the world’s longest single railway journey, spanning 5,772 miles (9,289 km) from Moscow to Vladivostok by way of Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg, Omsk, Novosibirsk, and Irkutsk. This Trans-Siberian Railway line covers 990 stations, connects 87 cities and villages, and is a lifeline for millions of locals.
The complete journey takes more than six days and over this remarkably long trip, the train crosses multiple time zones while allowing you to witness some incredibly diverse landscape, too. The vivid imagery that you will experience in this iconic train trip includes scenes of the Ural Mountains and Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world.
The landmark train has inspired countless artists and writers along with bucket-list adventurers. Even today, the train sees its fair share of passengers when it departs every two days.
2. The Canadian
From: Toronto to Vancouver (Canada)
Distance: 2,775 miles (4,465 km)
Duration: Three days
The Canadian is the longest train ride in North America which takes passengers between Toronto and Vancouver over the course of three days. Interestingly, the train has no Wi-Fi but once you are aboard it, you will get to marvel at the wonderful snow-capped Rocky Mountains, the forest of the Canadian Shield, and many more delightful sights in its 2,775-mile (4,465 km) journey.
There’s even an elevated, glass-covered section on the train which allows you to explore the scenic beauty outside with amazing clarity. The train makes seven scheduled stops along the way and there are various fun activities one can indulge in on the long trip. A regal-looking dining car, where you can gorge on sumptuous food, mingle with the other passengers, and enjoy musical performances, adds to the magical experience of the journey.
3. Vivek Express
From: Dibrugarh to Kanyakumari (India)
Distance: 2,633 miles (4,237 km)
Duration: 82 hours (approximately four days)
The weekly Vivek Express is the longest train journey in India, lasting for close to 82 hours. The long journey begins at Dibrugarh in Assam, and ends at Kanyakumari, in Tamil Nadu (the country’s southernmost point). Clocking in at approximately 2,633 miles (4,237 km), this four-day journey takes passengers through nine Indian states at an average speed of 32 mph (51.4 km/h).
There are 57 stops in total in the journey which can be quite exhausting as one is crammed with other people in such close quarters for more than four days. However, the pleasant and green sights of rural India will be a sight for the sore eyes and with a good book and plenty of drinking water, you can make it a memorable adventure.
4. Indian Pacific
From: Sydney to Perth (Australia)
Distance: 2,704 miles (4,351 km)
Duration: 65 hours
Lasting four days and three nights, the Indian Pacific is the longest stretch of straight railway track in the world and covers the width of Australia. On this transcontinental journey, you will encounter the expanse of the Nullarbor, the forests and waterfalls of the Blue Mountains along with stunning mountain ranges, arid deserts goldfields, rocky valleys, and subtropical savannahs.
The Indian Pacific adventure begins in Sydney on Australia's east coast and lasts for 65 hours where it traverses a distance of 2,704 miles (4,351 km) across the entire continent before ending in Perth. Named for the two oceans the train encounters on its journey, hopping aboard the Indian Pacific is the perfect way to experience the spectacular interior landscape of Australia.
5. California Zephyr
From: San Francisco to Chicago (United States)
Distance: 2,438 miles (3,923 km)
Duration: 51 hours, 20 minutes
Each trip of the California Zephyr takes a little more than two days making it one of the longest rail journeys in the United States. However, it is also widely regarded as the most scenic rail routes in the country as the train chugs through exquisite natural locations such as the Colorado River, the Rockies, the Sierra Nevada range, and the Donner Pass. Covering 2,438 miles (3,923 km), the Zephyr courses through the plains of Nebraska to Denver and you are likely to be soaking in ravishing sights each moment spent on this trip.
During spring and summer, National Park Service rangers give a commentary as you pass through the section across the canyons of the Rockies. There’s also a Sightseer Lounge/café car inside with a panoramic-windowed lounge that will help you admire the many gorgeous views with ease. Specifically designed as a scenic train, a trip aboard the Zephyr is a must if you want to truly appreciate the natural beauty of the United States.
From: Shanghai to Lhasa (China)
Distance: 2,717 miles (4,372 km)
Duration: 47 hours and 40 minutes
The Shanghai-Lhasa train travels through various mountain ranges and lets you witness some of China’s most outstanding local scenery, including glorious sights like the glacier at Tangula Mountain and the Cuona Lake. Many in China consider this trip as a soul-cleansing, spiritual, and rejuvenating journey. In fact, for anyone that loves train travel, this is the ideal way to get to Tibet and enrich yourself with the stunning sights along the way.
The train from Shanghai to Lhasa (also called Z164) is one of the longest of the seven train routes to Lhasa and crosses six provinces of China before ascending the high-altitude Tibetan plateau. It takes close to 48 hours and covers a whopping distance of 2,717 miles (4,372 km). To reduce the risk of altitude sickness, the train even has a piped oxygen supply as you are traveling across the plateau.
7. Paris-Moscow Express
From: Paris (France) to Moscow (Russia)
Distance: 1,998 miles (3,215 km)
Duration: 48 hours
The Paris-Moscow Express is the longest trans-European route and takes two days to complete the trip. It leaves from Gare de l'Est in Paris and finishes at the Bielowruskaia station in Russia. In between, you get to experience some of the continent’s major cities on this 1,998-mile (3,215 km) trip. Since this journey travels through Belarus you will need a Belarus transit visa to travel as well one for entering Russia.
It is a smooth and comfortable trip where friendly guides will fill you in on Russian history, art, and politics.
8. Blue Train
From: Pretoria to Cape Town (South Africa)
Distance: 994 miles (1600 km)
Duration: 27 hours
While there are a few train journeys that are longer than this one, the Blue Train deserves a mention simply because of how unique it is. The Blue Train route covers 994 miles (1600 km) between Cape Town and Pretoria in 27 hours and provides the passenger the opportunity to spot wildlife on the savannah from the windows. The train has carried kings, presidents, and dignitaries across the length and breadth of South Africa in the 1970s and its origins date back to the ‘20s.
The train is more like a fast-moving luxury hotel, where you will get the services of butlers along with a chance to dine on special gourmet dinners. Over the years, the Blue Train has earned a reputation for its great magnificence and splendor. However, what makes the trip worth it are the views of the country’s breathtaking farmlands, forests, and vineyards. Other highlights of the trip include views of the Hex River Pass and the Great Karoo.
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