Golden Eagle

Asia,Europe
Luxury

No question about it: there is no better way to see Siberia.

The Golden Eagle was launched in 2007 to much fanfare in Moscow. The UK operators of this train have made a huge push to up the ante with the Imperial Suites, as well as Gold and Silver Class accommodations, all with en-suite bathroom.

The train also has one or two dining cars (depending on the passenger count), a lounge car and many of the amenities you’d expect of a luxury hotel. It plies the famous Trans-Siberian route between Moscow and Vladivostok, as well as special tours of the Silk Road, Russia’s Arctic, Iran and the Caspian region.

Five Imperial Suites are available on all Golden Eagle departures. This type of compartment, the most spacious at 120 square feet, has been a huge success for luxury travelers. It offers a fixed king-sized bed, a dedicated sitting area with dressing table, and lounge area.

All passengers will enjoy the snappy service, presence of a quality control manager and excellent food and beverage service throughout the Golden Eagle. In addition, all guests receive complimentary use of bathrobes, towels, slippers and luxury toiletries.

Latest News: Click here for owner and IRT President Eleanor Hardy’s blog on the fantastic Imperial Suites aboard the Golden Eagle.

 

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE)

Europe
Luxury

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE), with its restored, 1920s vintage cars, is the world’s most authentic luxury train. Made famous in the Agatha Christie story, the train still runs on the legendary route between Paris and Istanbul. Many other itineraries are also available, featuring European gems such as Venice, Prague, Vienna, Budapest and Paris.

Latest News: The introduction of the VSOE’s spacious “Grand Suites,” with double bed, sitting area and full rain shower, are by far the most significant upgrade in recent years. Click here for our article by Rachel Hardy, VP Sales and Marketing. Rachel was the only agent from the Western Hemisphere invited to the Grand Suites’ unveiling in March, 2018.

Golden Eagle Danube Express

Europe
Luxury

The Golden Eagle Danube Express carries up to 64 passengers and comprises seven sleeping cars, a lounge car and two dining cars. Four of the sleeping cars contain Deluxe cabins, while three new sleeping cars contain Superior Deluxe accommodations.

The Superior Deluxe and Deluxe cabins are spacious and offer some of the best sleeping accommodations in mainland Europe.

Well-planned itineraries on the Golden Eagle Danube Express take in highlights of Eastern and Western Europe, such as Budapest, Vienna, Prague and Sarajevo.

Tours on the Golden Eagle Danube Express are fully inclusive (food, drinks, gratuities, touring, transfers), making it a truly worry-free adventure.

Belmond Royal Scotsman

Europe
Luxury

Even among our “World’s Top 25 Trains,” Belmond Royal Scotsman always has been a standout.

With the addition of the Bamford Haybarn spa car in 2017, it stands out even more.

A small venue—a maximum of just 40 passengers—Belmond Royal Scotsman is great for those who wish for a more intimate, luxury setting with gourmet, five-star dining, wine-pairing and superior service.

Most of the train’s cars are 1960s vintage equipment.  They have been recast into an Edwardian confection of varnished woods, polished brass and fine fabrics. Especially fun is the open-air observation platform.

Simply put, Belmond Royal Scotsman is one of the world’s finest — and one of our favorite — luxury trains.

IRT Exclusive: Click here to see our video of Society President Eleanor Hardy’s trip on the Royal Scotsman.

IRT Insights: Click here to read about IRT’s most recent experience aboard the Belmond Royal Scotsman.

El Transcantabrico Gran Lujo

Europe
Luxury

El Transcantabrico Gran Lujo was inaugurated in 2011.  The train slowly plies the narrow-gauge rails in Northern “Green” Spain, between Santiago and San Sebastián. Fresh ingredients and fine wines enhance the dining experiences—a highlight of this train experience.

El Transcantabrico Gran Lujo takes only 28 passengers, and thereby offers an intimate travel experience.  The consist includes a panoramic lounge car, two dining cars and a bar car where music or live entertainment is offered each night.

Latest News: Read our blog about the El Transcantábrico Gran Lujo Santiago to San Sebastián journey.

Belmond Grand Hibernian

Europe
Luxury

The company that brings you the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and the Belmond Royal Scotsman has built another of its “Grand Hotels’ on wheels: the Belmond Grand Hibernian.

The Society of International Railway Travelers® was honored to charter Ireland’s first luxury train for its inaugural journey, in August 2016. It was Ireland’s first luxury overnight rail experience.

IRT inspected the Belmond Grand Hibernian again in April 2019. Rachel Hardy, IRT’s Vice President, Sales & Marketing, traveled on the Belmond Grand Hibernian as part of the annual Bravissimo party thrown by the train’s operator, Belmond. Read more about Rachel’s experience here on Track25, the IRT blog.

The train tours the magnificent open countryside, dramatic coastal scenery and fascinating cities of both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Al-Andalus

Europe
Luxury

Southern Spain’s opulent, broad-gauge Al-Andalus returned to the rails May, 2012, with its 1920s-era cars newly renovated. Many of the carriages were used by the British Royal Family in their journeys from Calais to the Cote d’Azur. The Al-Andalus includes bar, lounge and two dining cars, as well as all-en suite cabins. The train combines stellar service, exquisite Art Deco styling and excellent cuisine for a unique tour of Andalusia.  Maximum occupancy is 64 passengers. Please see IRT’s review of Al-Andalus in our Track 25 blog from spring, 2012.

 

Glacier Express

Europe
First-class

The Swiss proudly hail the Glacier Express as the world’s slowest express. The train takes almost eight hours and the services of two private, narrow-gauge railroads to traverse the 168 mountainous miles between two posh resorts—Zermatt and St. Moritz. The Alpine route of the Glacier Express is what makes this train so marvelous. A serious quibble: we long for the old, second-class equipment which allowed us to open windows and photograph the fantastic scenery.

Bergen Railway

Europe
First-class

The complete Oslo-Bergen line was opened in 1909 as the only year-round land transport between Norway’s two largest cities. The 300-mile length of track passes through 200 tunnels and 18 miles of snowsheds in addition to crossing more than 300 bridges. The scenery on the 7-hour Bergen Railway trip across the Hardanger plateau, the largest wilderness area in Europe, is breathtaking.

Bernina Express

Europe
First-class

The spectacular Bernina line was completed in 1910 and is run by Rhaetian Railways. Beginning in Chur, St. Moritz or Davos, it passes the glaciers of Piz Bernina, making this the highest railway crossing in all of the Alps. It travels over 38 miles, climbing grades of up to 7%––without rack and pinion––to more than 7,391 feet at the Bernina Pass summit, and drops down to just 1,408 feet at Tirano, Italy.

Golden Pass Panoramic Express

Europe
First-class

Switzerland’s Panoramic Express trains boast vista-dome cars for maximum viewing of the spectacular mountain scenery between Montreux and Zweisimmen. Super Panoramic Express trains also have a special, eight-passenger viewing area in the front of the train, above the driver, for the ultimate in ringside seats.

Belmond British Pullman

Europe
Luxury

The British Pullman is a luxury, vintage day train that completes the British leg of Orient-Express journeys between Paris and London. Passengers from the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express debark in Calais, France, and board a special bus for the short “piggyback” train ride through the Eurotunnel to Folkestone. There, they board the British Pullman for the ride to London’s Victoria station. What’s not to love about this experience? Fabulous food, lovely scenery and riding on such a gorgeous and historic train.

 

Flam Railway

Europe
First-class

With the Flåm Railway, it’s what you see outside that counts. In about an hour, the line climbs some 2,833 feet from Flåm station, nestled in the innermost corner of the Aurlandfjord, to the mountain station at Myrdal on the Bergen Railway. On the 12.4-mile-long ride, you’ll see rivers that cut through deep ravines, waterfalls cascading down the sides of steep, snow-capped mountains and farms clinging dizzily to sheer slopes.

The Flåm Railway is one of the world’s steepest standard-gauge railways, with a gradient of 5.5%. The railway recently underwent a facelift; its new fleet of trains, in forest green livery, comprises five engines and 12 cars. It also boasts new interiors and a unique guide and loudspeaker service.