Top 10 Most Luxiourious Trains In The World

Tourists will not only have a chance to experience the world's most beautiful and high-class service but also enjoy the comfortable and elite beauty of these most luxurious trains in the world.
September 03, 2021 | 16:45
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1. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Photo: Belmond
Photo: Belmond

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE) is a private luxury train service from London to Venice and other European cities. It is currently owned by Belmond, which operates 45 luxury hotels, restaurants, tourist trains and river cruises in 24 countries. It was agreed in December 2018 for the service to be acquired by LVMH in a transaction initially expected to close in the first half of 2019.

These VSOE services are not to be confused with a regularly scheduled train called the Orient Express, which ran nightly between Paris and Bucharest - in the last years of operation cut back to between Strasbourg and Vienna - until 11 December 2009. This latter was a normal EuroNight sleeper train and was the lineal descendant of the regular Orient Express daily departure from Paris to Vienna and the Balkans. While this descendant train was primarily used for every sort of passengers to Central and Eastern Europe, applying only the standard international train fares, the VSOE train is aimed at tourists looking to take a luxury train ride. Fares on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express are high as the service is intended not as an ordinary rail service, but as a leisure event with five-star dining included.

The train was established in 1982 by James Sherwood of Kentucky, USA. In 1977 he had bought two original carriages at an auction when the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits withdrew from the Orient Express service, passing the service on to the national railways of France, Germany, and Austria. Over the next few years, Sherwood spent a total of US$16 million purchasing 35 sleeper, restaurant and Pullman carriages. On 25 May 1982, the first London–Venice run was made.

2. Palace on wheels

Photo: Luxurycolumnist
Photo: Luxurycolumnist

The conveyance of choice for the kings of Rajasthan, Nizams of Hyderabad and other discerning figures throughout its history and into the present, the award-winning Palace on Wheels will make you feel like royalty. The train provides luxurious cabins, state-of-the-art facilities. iconic Indian hospitality and carefully crafted signature itinerary.

Embodying nostalgia for the decadence, romance and elegance of bygone eras, the train criss crosses some of the ancient princely states of the 'land of kings', vibrant Rajasthan, where views of camel-studded sand dunes are accompanied by a bewitching dose of culture and the chance to witness some of India's most compelling traditions in action and admire some of its incredible wildlife.

En route you'll see the iconic Rajasthani cities named as Jaipur (the Pink City), Jaisalmer (the Golden City), Jodhpur (the Blue City), Udaipur (the City of Lakes), as well as the state's wildlife-rich Ranthambore National Park and its world-famed Bharatpur bird sanctuary. Beyond Rajasthan, you'll take in that world-famous symbol of love and romance, Agra, before returning to the capital New Delhi.

The itinerary has been designed to allow you to make the very most of your time in this fascinating part of the world, whether you’re exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, taking a wildlife safari or shopping in colour-drenched local markets.

The Palace on Wheels redefined the expectation of a luxury journey in India. It is not just about the luxury, the train covers stunning destinations, exposes you to different cultures and traditions and opens up wildlife attractions for you.

3. Eastern & Oriental Express

Photo: Belmond
Photo: Belmond

The Eastern & Oriental Express is a luxury train that carries passengers between Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

It runs between Singapore's Woodlands Train Checkpoint and Bangkok, stopping at Kuala Lumpur, Butterworth, and Kanchanaburi, taking 4 days (3 nights). Since 2007 the train has also travelled between Bangkok and Vientiane, the capital city of Laos.

The train is operated by Belmond Limited. It runs approximately 32 trips that either embark upon or disembark from Bangkok yearly, between the months of September and April, only four are hosted by famous guest chefs such as Ian Kittichai.

Fares on the Bangkok to Singapore train in September 2015 (four days, three nights) start at US$2,690. All meals were included in the travelling fare but alcoholic drinks cost extra.

4. Deccan Odysey

Photo: Trailfinders
Photo: Trailfinders

The Deccan Odyssey is the air-conditioned Indian train that operates in the State of Maharashtra. The plush interiors are evocative of a bygone era, but with a modern twist, creating a special combination for an unforgettable memory.

With 21 carriages for up to just 80 passengers, the train has a crew of over 30 to oversee a comfortable journey.

There is plenty of space, with only 8 passengers per carriage in Deluxe class, 2 presidential suite carriages with 2 suites per carriage. There is one valet per carriage to attend to your needs.

Various on-board facilities such as the Spa, internet access and laundry service are chargeable. There are daily newspapers, and a foreign exchange service.

Cabins and Presidential Suites. Private attached bathroom with shower; 4-channel music facility; individual temperature control panel; direct dial telephone; electronic safe & small cupboard; each twin bed is 6' x 3'; the suites have a master bedroom with living area, bathroom & DVD player; personal butler available in each sleeper carriage 24hrs.

Presidential Suites can accommodate up to 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children (One child up to 5 yrs, one child up to 12 yrs). There are TWO bathrooms in each Presidential Suite.

Dining Cars. The sumptuously decorated dining cars offer a single-sitting gourmet experience, allowing you to sample a variety of the region's cuisines. Breakfast and dinner are taken on board, with lunch occasionally taken at various destinations.

Lounge and Bar Cars. These beautifully decorated cars allow one to relax and enjoy the passing scenery, whilst enjoying refreshments and the company of other passengers.

Spa Car. The spa car offers massage therapy, a sauna and a beauty parlour offering various treatments, as well as a small gymnasium.

Conference Car. For business meetings, the conference car offers private rooms with internet access and secretarial services. Please contact us if you wish to book the conference car.

5. Flying Scotsman

Photo: Verse
Photo: Verse

The Flying Scotsman is an express passenger train service that has operated between Edinburgh and London, the capitals of Scotland and England, via the East Coast Main Line. The service began in 1862; the name was officially adopted in 1924. It is currently operated by London North Eastern Railway.

The East Coast Main Line over which the Flying Scotsman runs was built in the 19th century by many small railway companies, but mergers and acquisitions led to only three companies controlling the route; the North British Railway (NBR), the North Eastern Railway (NER) and the Great Northern Railway (GNR). In 1860 the three companies established the East Coast Joint Stock for through services using common vehicles, and it is from this agreement that the Flying Scotsman came about.

The first Special Scotch Express ran in 1862, with simultaneous departures at 10:00 from the GNR's London King's Cross and the NBR's Edinburgh Waverley. The original journey took 10+1⁄2 hours, including a half-hour stop at York for lunch; however, increasing competition and improvements in railway technology saw this time reduced to 8+1⁄2 hours by the time of the Race to the North in 1888.

From 1896, the train was modernised, introducing such features as corridors between carriages, heating, and dining cars. As passengers could now take luncheon on the train, the York stop was reduced to 15 minutes, but the end-to-end journey time remained 8+1⁄2 hours. Like the earlier carriages built for the service, this rolling stock was jointly owned by the three operating companies, and formed part of the pool known as the East Coast Joint Stock.

To celebrate International Women’s Day on 6 March 2020, LNER rebranded the service the 'Flying Scotswoman' for a month. On 6 March 2020 the service was staffed entirely by women, displayed a special International Women’s Day livery and hosted a range of women from a variety of organisations in the rail industry as well as from LNER.

6. Golden Chariot

Photo: The Financial Express
Photo: The Financial Express

The Golden Chariot is a luxury tourist train that connects the important tourist spots in the Indian states of Karnataka, Goa, Kerala & Tamil Nadu as well as Pondicherry, depending on the selected itinerary.

It is named after the Stone Chariot in the Vitthala Temple at Hampi. The 19 coaches on the train are coloured purple and gold, and sport the logo of a mythological animal with the head of an elephant and a body of a lion. The Golden Chariot is operating between the months of October–March for 2015/16 season with a departure every week, on Monday and had its maiden commercial run on 10 March 2008. The train, along with the Deccan Odyssey, is designed on the lines of the more popular Palace on Wheels with accommodations, spa treatments and dining. It has been awarded the title of "Asia's Leading Luxury Train" at World Travel Awards, 2013.

The train is operated by the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation and The Maple Group handles the hospitality services on the train.

7. Belmond Royal Scotsman

Photo: The Luxury Train Club
Photo: The Luxury Train Club

The Belmond Royal Scotsman is a Scottish overnight luxury train, started in 1985 by GS&WR (Great Scottish and Western Railway Co.), and run since 2005 by Belmond Ltd. Its itineraries include 2, 3, 4, 5 or 7 night journeys around the Scottish Highlands, visiting castles, distilleries and historic sites. Once each year, it also makes a 7 night journey around the whole of Great Britain.

The first train was composed of Mark 1 sleeping cars and three vintage dining and lounge carriages. After the inauguration of the current train set in 1989, the vintage coaches have kept on running as the Queen of Scots charter train.

For the second train batch the train's former owner acquired Pullman cars, which were built in 1960 by Metropolitan Cammell for the East Coast Main Line. This train consisted of four sleeping cars, two dining cars, and one observation car.

The train's two dining cars have been replaced over the years. Dining Car 1, which used to be a Gresley kitchen car, was damaged in a shunting incident on depot and, as a wooden (Teak) bodied vehicle was deemed unsafe to continue passenger operations, it was withdrawn from mainline service. It was followed in 1992 by Pullman car Raven, acquired at the same time as the others in the train. Dining Car 2 used to be 99131, an ex-LNER SC1999 coach named Victory. It was replaced by the Pullman car Swift, which was acquired in 2011 and converted by Assenta Ltd in Scotland.

Two former Mark 3 sleeping cars were added to the train in 1997 as service carriages, replacing two Mk1 coaches (99987 & 99966). One of them has also got double sleeping cabins.

Belmond acquired another Pullman coach in 2015 from CRRES (West Coast Railway Co Ltd) and again employed Assenta Ltd to undertake outfitting and project management in order to create "State car - SPA". After provisional mechanical and body works at CRRES the coach was shipped to Mivan Marine in Antrim, where it was outfitted with two Bamford SPA rooms and 2 additional bedrooms (1 PRM Twin and 1 Double) with inter-connection. Upon completion the carriage was taken back to CRRES for final mechanical works and entry into the rolling stock library as 99337. The carriage entered service in September 2016.

8. Golden Eagle Trans Siberian Express

Photo: Audley Travel
Photo: Audley Travel

This fabulous hotel on wheels is a fully en-suite train in Russia and central Asia. The Golden Eagle's rail cruises allow one to travel in splendour amidst opulent décor. The panoramic windows ensure the best views of the passing countryside, whilst enjoying delicious cuisine.

The drama that is created by sitting in beautiful surroundings, listening to a pianist playing Tchaikovsky whilst watching the gradually changing scenery could only be Russian. From the climb through the Ural mountains (the boundary between Europe and Asia), to the wide open steppes and broad rivers, travelling on the Trans-Siberian is the best way to absorb the vastness and grandeur of the world's largest country.

The Golden Eagle travels through Russia, Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and more. The tours vary, some taking a leisurely two weeks and crossing eight time zones, making sure you have plenty of time to take in and enjoy these voyages of a lifetime.

9. Maharajas’ Express

Photo: Maharaja Express
Photo: Maharaja Express

“I just want to say a big thank-you for organising our trip on the Maharajas Express. We had a fantastic time and I would definitely recommend this trip to my family, friends and colleagues and would certainly advise them to book through you. Looking forward to our next train adventure with the Luxury Train Club! “

India needs no explanation, as the wonderful panoramas, breathtakingly romantic buildings, rich cultures, sites and sounds are known to all. But to travel in the luxury of the Maharajas Express through these beautiful visions evoke a wealth of feelings and delights.

The Maharajas Express takes one back to an elegance of a bygone era, whilst maintaining all the modern comforts that can cater for 88 passengers. The pneumatic and hydraulic suspension systems ensure a smoother train ride.

Along with exquisite, comfortable dining and lounge cars, there are luxurious cabin choices of Deluxe, Junior Suite, Suite, Presidential Suite on the Maharajas Express. They all have large panoramic windows. The 24-hour valet service ensures that passengers have a comfortable experience, from having drinks brought to their cabins through to preparing cabins for the night.

Designed to recreate the elegance and pageantry of the personal carriages of erstwhile Maharajas, the interiors of the Maharajas Express are full of nostalgia.

10. The Pride of Africa (Rovos)

Photo: Luxury Train Club
Photo: Luxury Train Club

Rovos Rail has a style all its own with train tours that have a blend of earthy African safari and traditional luxury - except that a divine soak in a full-sized bath in a train was always rare, even on Royal trains!

The Pride of Africa trains from Rovos Rail provide very much more than mere rail transportation - from these transports of delight one can experience the richness of southern Africa, with north and southbound routes between Pretoria and Cape Town as well as a range of spectacular journeys to the east and west. Trains combine the golden age of rail travel with modern conveniences, creating an unforgettable extravagant elegance of a bygone era.

From the start of your journey (if you leave from Pretoria, you experience the fabulous Edwardian-styled station) to the memorable time spent on the opulent Rovos Pride of Africa, this is an experience not to be missed.

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