A ride on these scenic railways, turns traveling from destination to destination, a meaningful and unique part of your trip.
One of the most beautiful ways to see the world is from the comfort of a train car. The cozy atmosphere brings a whole different aspect to sight-seeing, you can curl up with a good book or dine with friends while simultaneously viewing some of the most picturesque views in the world. Traveling by train, whether the trip is a few hours or several days, has many unique things to offer. While there are hundreds of train options to choose from, these three scenic railways are bucket list items for those who want a one-of-a-kind travel experience.
The West Highland Line: Glasgow to Fort William, Scotland
The West Highland Line has won several awards, including Best Rail Journey, and it certainly lives up to that title. It runs year-round from Glasgow to Fort William, and from there to Mallaig. The line was established in 1894, spans 164 miles and takes five hours and 15 minutes to ride the line from start to finish. A journey on the West Highland Line features breathtaking views of the highlands of Scotland. During your journey will see ruins of castles, Britain’s most remote train station, a monument, and historic church.
You have a few options when it comes to taking a trip on the Highland Line other than the usually scheduled trains. The Jacobite steam train runs from mid-May to early October, and the vintage steam locomotive gives travelers a truly magical experience. The train travels over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which is featured in the Harry Potter films, and the train itself is reminiscent of the beloved Hogwarts Express. The Royal Scotsman is a luxury train that runs from Edinburgh up through the West Highland Line. As a guest on the Royal Scotsman your food, drinks, afternoon teas, and excursions are covered in the overall price during the three-night trip. A ride on the West Highland Line is a great way to see the beautiful scenery on your next adventure in Scotland.
Empire Builder Train: United States Pacific Northwest
When traveling across the Pacific Northwest, the Empire Builder is the top option to take you to your destination. The line starts in Chicago Illinois and runs 46 hours with final stops in both Seattle Washington and Portland Oregon. The line runs along parts of the original Lewis and Clark trail, bringing you in contact with the same beautiful wilderness seen by the pioneers. If you choose to ride the empire Builder from the first to last stop you will see views of the Mississippi River, Montana’s Big Sky country, and Glacier National Park. The Empire Builder trains offer several kinds of accommodations depending on which train has availability to book. Amtrak offers sleeping arrangements that range from roomettes to family bedroom suites aboard their Superliners, which have two levels per car, and their Viewliners which are single level cars. With over 40 stations along the line, the Empire Builder can get you anywhere you may need to go in the Pacific Northwest and provides an unforgettable journey along the way.
You can check the Empire Builder schedule and map out your next trip on the Amtrak website
Aurora Winter Train: Anchorage to Fairbanks, Alaska
Want to experience the stunning views of Alaska without having to brave the weather? The Aurora Winter Train offer the perfect weekend getaway. While this is a winter only attraction, Alaskan winters span from mid-September to mid-May so there is plenty of time to hop on this special train line. The train runs a 12-hour trip from Anchorage to Fairbanks, departing on Saturdays and returning on Sundays, with very select weekday trips. During the trip you will catch glimpses of Denali, a stunning mountain best viewed in the winter, both sunrise and sunset due to the short winter days. Additionally, you will have the unique opportunity of seeing the breathtaking aurora borealis. The train offers dining while on board where you and your fellow travelers can grab a bite to eat while keeping an eye out for some Alaskan wildlife.
To view all available stops on the Aurora Winter Train and check aligning dates for your desired stops, you can head over to the Alaska Railroad website
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by Olivia Opperman