From a very young age I’ve been fascinated by train travel. Anytime I can combine a wonderful destination with a train journey, I will. I love taking scenic train rides and spending long periods of time gazing out windows, taking in scenery, relaxing, and letting my mind wander. Like many who are sheltering at home and dreaming of future travel, I’m asking myself where I’d travel as soon as it’s possible. Much to my surprise, I thought of a destination that involved a train journey: a train trip through the Swiss Alps. So why not take virtual train rides right now from the comfort of home?
I’ve wanted to take this trip for years already and haven’t gotten around to it. Out of curiosity, I went searching for virtual train rides. I was surprised, though not sure why, that there are so many amazing ones to take virtually. While certainly not the same as being on a train for real, I did find them relaxing and for sure they added quite a few new destinations and train adventures to my travel list. So hop aboard these train rides and see for yourself if they inspire any travel planning.
Five Scenic Virtual Train Rides
Bernina Express, Switzerland
The Bernina Express between Switzerland and Italy is one of Europe’s most spectacular train journeys and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Bernina Express takes passengers through the Swiss Alps with picturesque views of green valleys and snowy mountains. Many consider this to be the most spectacular way to cross the Alps. This video shows the train ride from the alpine town of St. Moritz to Tirano, Italy.
Geibi Line to Fukuen Line, Japan
When you visit Japan, train travel is a must. I was lucky enough on my last trip to Japan to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto and see Mount Fuji on a clear day.
Traveling by train also allows you to have a more local experience. If you want to see some Japanese countryside as you travel virtually from Hiroshima Station to Fuchū Station on the Geibi Line turned Fukuen Line, you’ll enjoy it. The route passes through the mountains of the Chūgoku region as well as the more suburban areas along the route.
Belgrade–Bar Railway, Serbia
One of my favorite trips last year was a four country trip through the Balkans. I very much enjoyed Belgrade, the Serbian capital. I traveled by bus, group van, and plane between countries, but after viewing this video, I can see I missed out on a train adventure!
While tracking the changes in altitude as you start from the Adriatic Sea, the video shows a trip on the Belgrade–Bar Railway line. The train travels between the Serbian capital and Montenegro in the Balkans. It’s a long, scenic route that passes through 254 tunnels and over 435 bridges.
I like that the video provides information as you travel along regarding train speed and where you are as you travel. If you’ve not been to the Balkans, this gives you a wonderful glimpse into the scenery of two countries.
Ferrocarril Central Andino, Peru
I’ve not yet been to Peru, so this fascinating train trip definitely moves Peru higher on my travel list. Often considered to be one of the world’s most scenic railroads, the Ferrocarril Central Andino links the Pacific port of Callao and the capital city of Lima with Huancayo and Cerro de Pasco. As one of the Trans-Andean Railways, it is the second highest in the world and was constructed in 1871-1876.
Image: Wikimedia Commons.org
It is considered one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century. This railway carries passengers on a 335-kilometer journey through 66 tunnels, over 59 bridges and 22 zigzags between Lima and Huancayo in the central Andes. There are actually four parts to this train journey, so begin with part one.
Colorado Royal Gorge Route and Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Colorado
No article about virtual train rides would be complete without mentioning Colorado. At least that’s what Coloradans would say! Only kidding, of course. Colorado scenery is second to none and makes a perfect backdrop for virtual train rides in Colorado.
Launched in 1999, the Royal Gorge Route Railroad train takes passengers through the Royal Gorge canyon in Colorado. The Royal Gorge train ride in this video travels along the Arkansas river and near the Royal Gorge Bridge.
This historic line from Durango to Silverton takes you from one mountain town to another. This Durango train ride is a 45 mile trip during which you’ll travel on a three-foot-wide narrow-gauge heritage railroad. There are three parts to this train ride so start with part one.
So many virtual train rides, so little time. I’ll admit that viewing these videos requires patience and a willingness to sit back and let the journey unfold. But that’s what I like best about train travel. You never really know what’s up ahead or around the bend. It really is about the journey! If you care to share, let us know about your favorite train rides, short or long, urban or in the middle of nowhere.
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