Your Favorite Rail Routes

Last week senior researcher Meg Weaver interviewed Mark Ovenden about his new book, Railway Maps of the World, and he told us about his favorite rail journey, a jaunt on the Isle of Wight steam railway with his nieces and nephews.

We then turned it over to you to tell us what your favorite rail route is and why. Over 30 of our readers left thoughtful comments on our blog about rail journeys that crisscross the globe. Still, we could only choose one winner to receive a copy of the book.

Congratulations to Archibald C. from Minneapolis who had this to say about his favorite rail journey:

My favorite rail route is the “milk run” trains that operate in the Cinque Terra. The route snakes along the cliff sides, and weaves in and out of tunnels, offering incredible views of the gorgeous Mediterranean sea. I made this trip after having taken the train from Genoa (a decidedly less picturesque location) and vividly remember my first glimpse as the train pulled out of a long tunnel and suddenly burst out into the sunlight and pristine landscape including verdant  hills and sparkling blue waters. The trains were an absolute joy to take, and made hiking the trail between the five towns very manageable.

Keep riding the rails! We select the top train trips in Europe and North America.









Photo: Cover, Viking; Vintage locomotive by Stephen Johnson/My Shot


  1. Kurt Hein
    McMinnville, Oregon
    May 10, 2011, 7:34 pm

    Kenya National Railways, Nairobi to Mombasa in a sleeper!

  2. Maggie M.K.
    Wisconsin/Minnesota, USA
    May 10, 2011, 7:07 pm

    I have traveled across both Europe and the United States by train, and I know that nothing compares to the beauty of seeing a country by train. From pulling into Gare St. Lazare on my first visit to Paris, to winding along the tracks of the Alps in Switzerland, each train trip is an awe-inspiring, unique journey of it’s own. While beautiful European cities and majestic mountain landscapes are fabulous and impressive, I like to showcase the roads less-traveled . . . the small-town folk, the sparsely populated countrysides, and the chance encounters with fascinating people make for inpenetrable experiences that are unique to each and every traveler.

    My favorite rail trip wasn’t in any romantic or fabulous location – it was right in my backyard. The track along the Mississippi River, which I encountered on an Amtrak trip from Chicago to Minneapolis, could have been an easy trip to miss. Thank goodness I didn’t! Not only was the view fabulous (with the sun setting warmly over the bluffs and cliffs lining the river on both sides) the people were exceedingly interesting! My tip for travelers would be to ALWAYS sign up for group dinners on trains: my dinner partners were a retired physicist, and a grandmother-and-grandson duo from the country. Hearing the stories of everyday people is what makes a trip personal and genuine. For more tips on how to appreciate travel in your own backyard, please visit my blog: