All Posts

India’s Maharajas’ Express Joins World’s Top 25 Trains List

By Owen C. Hardy

The Maharajas' Express
©The Society of International Railway Travelers Photo by Angela Walker

The Society of International Railway Travelers® is pleased to christen the newest member of its World’s Top 25 Trains list, the Maharajas’ Express. The Society announced the 2011 list for release Nov. 30.

The Indian luxury train began service in March and boasts 19 cars (excluding staff and generator cars). The train’s four itineraries begin and end in Delhi or Mumbai and include visits to such iconic locales as Agra, Varanasi, Jaipur and Jodhpur.

The MaharajasExpress brings to four the number of Indian trains on the Society’s list of World’s Top 25 Trains, a remarkable feat, said Society CEO Owen C. Hardy. “India has proven time and again its incredible commitment to rail — not just luxury service but service for the everyday person. Congratulations to the builders, owners and operators of the Maharajas’ Express.

Other trains in India on the World’s Top 25 List, returning this year, are the Deccan Odyssey luxury train, which offers touring from as far afield as Mumbai to New Jalpaiguri; the Palace on Wheels, a first-class touring train in royal Rajasthan, and the tiny Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in W. Bengal, which runs up to the hill station of Darjeeling, and whose remarkable engineering and history earned it UNESCO World Heritage status.

Meanwhile, Angela Walker, Vice President for Operations for The Society of IRT, recently returned from India and issued a glowing report about the Maharajas’ Express. Find her report here.

The trains on the Society’s World’s Top 25 Trains list come from all over the world, and just about every continent.  The Society welcomes comments on our list. It is based on extensive first-hand experience on trains the world over by owners, staff, writers and members, who evaluate them extensively upon their return from travel. “These trains are the best of the best,” said Hardy. “We salute them for providing amazing and adventurous experiences for those lucky enough to take them.”

The World’s Top 25 Trains-2011

(Note:  Trains are listed by region and are not ranked within the list.  * signifies luxury train; + means the train provides a luxury service option on board.)


Pride of Africa*

Blue Train*


Darjeeling Himalayan Railway

Deccan Odyssey*

Eastern & Oriental Express*

Maharajas’ Express*

Palace on Wheels

Shangri-La Express


Bernina Express

British Pullman*

Danube Express

El Transcantabrico*

Flam Railway

Glacier Express

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express

Royal Scotsman*

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express*

North America

Royal Canadian Pacific*

The Canadian

Rocky Mountaineer

South America

Andean Explorer

Hiram Bingham*



Indian Pacific+


The Society of International Railway Travelers® is an award-winning publishing company and full-service travel agency and tour operator based in the U.S. and serving clients from around the world. To order a complimentary emailed PDF of the IRT Society’s Best-Loved Railway Journeys 2010, register on the company web site:  To order the printed version, please contact the company for payment details. The Society specializes in luxury, deluxe and railfan journeys around the world.