Top 10 Steam Train Journeys
The first steam locomotives were developed in Great Britain during the early 19th century, and they provided the most popular means of transportation until the middle of the 20th century. Steam trains are still being used to this day in some areas, especially for sightseeing trips. Here’s a top 10 of the world’s most spectacular steam train journeys.
1. The Victorian Steam Railway, Isle of Man, Great Britain
The Isle of Man railway is a narrow steam-operated railway that connects Douglas with Castletown and Port Erin. The 15.3-mile long railway was founded in 1870 and most of its locomotives were built based on an 1874 model, while the carts date to 1880. Great views of the sea can be admired during the trip.
2. The Ffestiniog Railway in Wales
The Ffestiniog Railway is a narrow gauge railway that can be found in Gwynedd, Wales. The railway represents a very important tourist attraction, and it offers beautiful panoramas of the mountain and its forests as it travels from Porthmadog to the slate mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Once arrived, tourists can visit the old clay mines by descending 328 feet underground.
3. The Jacobite in Scotland
The Jacobite is a tourist train service that operates over a part of the West Highland Railway Line in Scotland. The train was hauled by various steam locomotives over the years, but it currently features either 45407 “Lancashire Fusilier” models or Ian Riley’s LMS Black 5 44871. The route stretches 41 miles between Fort William and Mallaig, offering magnificent panoramas along the way.
4. The Harzer Schmalspurbahnen in Germany
The Harz Narrow Gauge Railways, also known as the HSB, is a railway network in central Germany that links the main towns of Wernigerode, Nordhausen and Quedlinburg with its 86 miles of track. The Brocken is an old Soviet listening post that can be found on top of the tallest peak in the Harz Mountains, and it represents the network’s most popular attraction. The railway is known for featuring a great number of steam-powered locomotives, including the 1950s vintage 2-10-2 tank models.
5. The Children’s Railway in Budapest, Hungary
In 1948, the Hungarian Communist Party chose Buda Hills as the construction site for a railway that would be operated by children in order to give them an opportunity to perfect their skills and learn the ropes early on. The railway’s name is Gyermekvasút or Line 7 (since it is 7 miles long), and it can be found in Budapest, linking Széchényi-hegy with Hűvösvölgy. The train is hauled by steam locomotives during the weekend, passing by numerous tourist attractions and through forests.
6. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway in India
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway was built by the British in 1908, and it still relies to this day on its steam locomotives. The railway represents an extension to the World Heritage Site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway since July 2005, when it became an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The line spans 27 miles and climbs to altitudes of up to 7 440 feet above sea level. The journey lasts for 5 hours and the views are spectacular.
7. The Puffing Billy Railway in Australia
The Puffing Billy Railway is a narrow gauge heritage railway that can be found in the Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne, Australia. This railway was opened in 1900, and it boasts a 15.6-mile long single track that is used for traveling from Belgravia to Gembrook and back again.
8. The Ferrovías Central Railway in Peru
Peru’s Central Railway links the Pacific port of Callao and the capital of Lima with Huancayo and Cerro de Pasco. When traveling from Lima to Oroya, the train goes over the abruptest railway segment in the world, climbing up to an altitude of 15,682 feet. Ferrocaril Centro Andino assigned an Anzi model steam powered locomotive to be used for tourist excursions.
9. The Mount Rainer Scenic Railroad in Washington
The Mount Rainer Scenic Railroad is a steam-powered heritage railroad that operates in Washington, between Elbe and Mineral Lake. The railroad is in operation since 1980, and it offers tourists a great opportunity for admiring local farms and beautiful forests that are inhabited by bears, moose and other wild animals
10. The Austin & Texas Central Railway in Texas
Admire the beautiful Texas scenery by embarking on the River City Flyer, which goes from Austin along the Colorado River all the way to Littig before turning back again. The train features comfortable railcars from the 1920’s, which are completely restored and pulled by steam-powered locomotives. The Hill Country Fliyer is another great choice if you want to admire magnificent hillside panoramas and farms on your way from Cedar Park to Bertram and Burnet.