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The world's top 25 luxury trains

Last updated on: December 3, 2010 18:21 IST

The world's top 25 luxury trains

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Luxury knows no bounds in these magnificent trains that take you on an unforgettable trip across some of the world's most beautiful locales.

These spectacular trains promise the most exciting journeys, though rocky mountains, forests, deserts to snowcapped landscapes.

Four trains from India make it to the list of the world's Top 25 Luxury Trains compiled by The Society of International Railways Travelers.

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Image: The Glacier Express.

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1. Rovos Rail's Pride of Africa

Rovos Rail offers one of the best rail journeys and a unique train safari through the heart of Africa with a great dining and on-board service.

These trains, with the highest luxury standards, go on a series of journeys lasting from 24 hours to a fortnight, from some of Africa's greatest tourist destinations.

These trains are powered by steam, diesel or electric locomotives at various stages of the journey and carry a maximum of 72 passengers in 36 suites.

Tariff for a single occupancy: $12,500-$31,900
Double occupancy: $8,900-$15,950.

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Image: Rovos Rail.

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2. Maharajas' Express

India's super luxury train, the Maharajas' Express promises a royal experience, with five carriages for deluxe cabins, six for junior suites, two for suites and one for the grand presidential suite.

The train has cabins with individual temperature controls and LCD televisions, DVD players, direct dial telephone and high-speed Internet facilties.

This train is run by a joint venture between Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and Cox and Kings India called Royale Indian Rail Tours Ltd.

The fare ranges from Rs 36,000 ($800) to Rs 112,500 ($2,500) per day.

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Image: Maharajas' Express.

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3. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

The trains with the 1920s vintage cars run from Paris to Istanbul.

The Society of International Railways Travelers calls it the world's most authentic luxury train.

The train is known for its outstanding service throughout the trip with the best food and wine on the palate.

There is no airconditioning in this train, which can accommodate 190 passengers.

A historic trip from Paris to Istanbul through seven countries can cost you $9,470 for a double occupancy, $14,290 for a single occupancy and $ $14,290 for a cabin suite (for a week).

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Image: Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.

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4. Royal Scotsman

Better known as a 'hotel train', it just takes about 36 people on a wonderful trip with five-star dining service.

The trains with the 1960s vintage equipment also have an open-air observation platform.

A 5-day trip onboard journey across Scotland will cost you $4,880 for a double occupancy and $6880 for a single occupancy.

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Image: Royal Scotsman.

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6. Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express

The Grand Trans Siberian Express travels between Moscow and Peking. The trip includes seeing rarely visited places.

The Trans Siberian Railway is the world's longest railway line, connecting Moscow and Vladivostok as well as 2 continents -- Europe and Asia.

The Grand Trans Siberian Express carries only 140 passengers.

Tariff for single occupancy: $12,495-22195
Double occupancy: $8,995- $15,795

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Image: Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express.

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7. Danube Express

Danube Express offers journeys from or through Budapest to Krakow and Warsaw in Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania.

It takes only 42 passengers on board to offer the best on-board experience.

A 9-day trip Budapest to Istanbul aboard the Danube Express costs

It charges 3,420 pounds for a double occupancy and 3,670 pounds for a single occupancy.

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8. Deccan Odyssey

The Deccan Odyssey travels across the heart of India. You can see some of India's best beaches in Goa and Maharashtra, the grand forts and palaces of the Marathas and the Osho Ashram in Pune.

The week-long trip also takes you to the historic sites of Ajanta, Ellora and Aurangabad. The journey culminates at India's financial capital, Mumbai.

The train has 13 fully airconditioned deluxe saloons, each a combination of 4 twin bedded chambers with channel music, intercom, CD/MP3 player, attached toilets, wall to wall carpeting and other amenities.

The fares for single occupancy range from $415 to $540. Double occupancy rates are between $320-390. The Presidential Suite ranges from $750-$950 and $550-$700 for double occupancy.

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9. Shangri-La Express

China's Shangri-La Express is the best airconditioned luxury train in the country.

The 17-day luxury trip, Hong Kong-Lhasa with Three Gorges Cruise from costs $12,795 for a single occupancy and $17,995 for double occupancy.

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10. Eastern & Oriental Express

This train takes you through the amazing landscapes of Singapore, Malaysia and Bangkok, Thailand.

Elegant coaches, delicious cuisine and exemplary service, easily make it one of the best trains in Asia.

A 4-day trip in this train is priced from $2,210 to $4,420.

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11. Glacier Express

The Glacier Express runs through the Swiss Alps, over the Landwasser Viaduct and 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels and over the Operalp Pass, at an altitude of more than 2,000 metres.

This seven-and-a-half-hour across breathtaking places is a great experience.

The journey through Switzerland's classic routes is priced at $5,679

It is priced at $4,498 for a double occupancy.

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12. Flam Railway

The Flam Railway climbs to a height of 2,833 feet from the station.

The trip takes you through rivers, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains and farms.

The Railway is one of the world's steepest standard-gauge railways. This train runs only during the day and has no dining service.

A 15-day tour package across the Arctic Circle Express: Sweden and Norway costs 2,980 pounds for a single occupancy and 2,495 pounds for a double occupancy.

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13. Bernina Express

The amazing Bernina Express travels to a height of 7,391 feet at the Bernina Pass summit, and comes down to 1,408 feet at Tirano, Italy.

Run by Rhaetian Railways, the mind blowing Bernina line was completed in 1910.

Bernina Express finds a place in the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The fare ranges form 2,090 pounds-2,160 pounds for a single occupancy and 1,895 pounds - 1,965 pounds for a double occupancy.

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14. Hiram Bingham

The Hiram Bingham train in Peru travels between Cusco and Machu Picchu everyday except Sunday. It is considered to be one of the best 10 trains in the world.

The train with an open-air observation offers splendid views of the country land, villages and rivers.

Live entertainment and a four-course elaborate menu are the added attractions.

The trip cost $5,545 for a double occupancy and $8,550 for a single occupancy.

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15. Andean Explorer

The Andean Explorer train in Peru is for adventure lovers. It goes up to an altitude of 14,150 feet.

A glass-walled, observation deck offers great views of the scenery.

The journey begins in historic Cusco and travels south to the beautiful city of Puno on the banks of Lake Titicaca.

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16. El Transcantabrico

The 52-seater Clasico El Transcantabrico train travel across Northern Spain.

A 8-day trip from Santiago to Leon by this luxury trains will cost you 3,900 euros for a single occupancy and 2,900 euros for a double occupancy.

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17. Blue Train

The Blue Train is elegant, spacious and all suites have a writing-desk, air-conditioning and radio/movie channels as well as a link to the driver's-eye-view camera.

The GPS map on an overhead monitor means you can keep track of progress.

The Blue Train is one of the world's great luxury trains, and runs six to ten times a month between Pretoria and Cape Town.

A trip from Pretoria to Cape Town for 7 days costs $6,020.

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18. British Pullman

A vintage train, British Pullman completes Orient-Express's journey between Paris and London.

Passengers from the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express board this historic train to travel in Britain. They board the British Pullman for the ride to London's Victoria station.

The train has many day trips taking passengers to castles, gardens and places of historic interest.

A 2-day trip to Venice to London (or Paris) costs $3,120 for a double occupancy and $3,690 for a single occupancy and $3,930 for a cabin suite.

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19. Rocky Mountaineer

The Rocky Mountaineer explores Western Canada in style.

The train's luxury GoldLeaf Service has glass dome coaches and an excellent dining service.

A 9-day tour takes you through spectacular routes - Vancouver to Banff and Jasper to Vancouver and the price ranges from $2,499 to $5199.

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20. Canadian

Canada has a number of luxury trains.

The Canadian runs between Toronto and Vancouver three times a week covering a distance of 4,500 miles.

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21. Palace on Wheels

The Palace on is built like a palace with a royal aura. A majestic train, it has 14 fully air-conditioned deluxe saloons, equipped with world class amenities.

Each saloon has a mini pantry for refreshments and a place to relax. The 4-twin bedded chambers have channel music, intercom, attached toilets, running hot and cold water, shower, wall to wall carpeting and other amenities.

The train has two restaurants with a Rajasthani ambience serving Continental, Chinese, India and Rajasthani cuisines.

The tariff on triple sharing basis is between $3,150 and $2,380 (off season), per head. On twin sharing, the rates are $3,500 and $2,625(off season). For single occupancy, it is $4,690 and $3,500 (off season).

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22. Darjeeling Himalayan Toy Train

The Toy Train listed among the UNESCO World Heritage sites, runs in West Bengal from Siliguri to Darjeeling.

Built by the British between 1879 and 1881, the train that takes eight hours to climb up a height of 7200 feet above sea level.

You can see the snow-cappped Mt. Kangchenjunga, the world's third highest mountain.

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23. Sunlander

The Sunlander train travels about 1,045 miles on the east coast of Queensland, Australia, from Brisbane to Cairns.

Sunlander gives passengers an opportunity to see the state's heritage, culture, landscape along with excellent dining and onboard service.

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24. Indian Pacific

Australia's transcontinental Indian Pacific travels from Perth to Sydney via Adelaide covering a distance of 2,704 miles.

A 17-day trip cost $8,315 (AUD) for a double occupancy and $11,795 (AUD) for a single occupancy.

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25. Ghan

Offering one of the most beautiful train journeys, Ghan travels between Adelaide and Darwin in 3 days.

It lets you enjoy the amazing Australian landscapes, wildlife and ancient rock art.

The Ghan is the ultimate journey through the heart of the continent.


Image: Ghan.

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