In this day and age, when air travel has become the preferred mode of transport due to improving technology and low airfares, there are still some train journeys that evoke the spirit of romance and adventure.
Here is a list of the longest train journeys in the world, without changing trains:
The Trans-Siberian Express: From Moscow to Vladivostok (Russia)
The longest train route on the Russian soil is between Moscow and the Pacific Terminus of Vladivostok. In the late 19th century, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia thought it was important to build a train line from Europe across the whole of Asia. This project eventually became the Trans-Siberian Railway. Its construction was started in 1890 and was completed in 1916. The train journey spans 9,288 kilometers (5,772 miles), 87 cities, eight time zones and two continents. The train passes through the whole of Siberia, Ural Mountains and Lake Baikal on the way, and completes the journey in 6-7 days. The train is operated by Russian Railways.
The Trans-Mongolian Route: From Moscow to Beijing via Mongolia (Russia to China)
The Trans-Mongolian is a popular train route that goes from Moscow to Beijing via Mongolia. The total distance covered is 7826 kilometers (4862 miles). This train meanders through the Western part of Siberia, rumbles across Mongolia and the Gobi desert, and then enters China. There is one departure a week from Moscow to Beijing via Manzhouli and one weekly departure from Beijing to Moscow via Ulaanbaatar. With 33 stops on the way, the journey takes more than 5 days. It is one of the most popular routes to travel in all seasons. The train is operated by Russian Railways.
Guangzhou to Lhasa Train (China)
This train connects Guangzhou, a developed coastal city located in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, to Lhasa located in the north in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Operated by the state-owned China Railway Corporation, the train covers a distance of 4980 kilometers (3094 miles) in 2.5 days. The route of the train winds through six other provinces, and offers contrasting landscapes of eastern, western, southern and northern China. The train is said to traverse through half of China, and is built to withstand and operate in the high altitude environment of Tibet, which is situated at an elevation of 4,200 meters (13,800 ft).
The Canadian: From Toronto to Vancouver (Canada)
This train route connects the Union Station in Toronto, Ontario with the Pacific Central Station in Vancouver, British Columbia, within the territory of Canada. The train will give you a peek at the Rocky Mountains, the forest of Canadian Shield, picturesque landscape, and wildlife such as deer and wild bears. The route is 4466 kilometers (2775 miles) long. The train is operated by Via Rail Canada, spans 66 stops, and completes the journey in 3.5 days.
The Indian Pacific: From Sydney to Perth in Australia
Sydney is located on Australia’s east coast and is the capital city of New South Wales, and Perth is the largest city of Western Australia. Over the course of 4 days and 3 nights, this train covers the width of Australia, which also includes the longest stretch of straight railway track in the world. It originates in Sydney, goes over Broken Hill lines, south to Adelaide, then to Port Augusta towards the north, on to Nullarbor Plain and then to East Perth. Barren lands of Nullarbor, the forests and waterfalls of the Blue Mountains, goldmines, vineyards, and even ghost towns enliven the journey on route. Great Southern Rail operates it on a weekly basis. The journey is 4352 kilometers (2,704 miles) long.
Vivek Express: Dibrugarh to Kanyakumari
Dibrugarh to Kanyakumari is a weekly Express train which starts every Saturday from Dibrugarh, in the northeastern part to Kanyakumari in the southernmost part of India. Keeping the distance in mind which is 4,262 km (2,633 miles), this ride is considered to be the longest train journey in the country. Operated by the Indian Railways, it winds its way through the length of India, and gives a glimpse of the distinct culture of several states in the eastern and southern parts of India.
California Zephyr: From Chicago to San Francisco (USA)
Another most beautiful and long train ride to experience is the California Zephyr. Operated by Amtrack, this train provides daily service from Chicago (Illinois) in the east to San Francisco Bay area in the western part of the United States. It covers 3,924 kilometers (2,438 miles) in 51 hours and 20 minutes which is more than two days. The picture perfect route of the train winds through Omaha, Denver and Salt Lake City, through the heart of the Rockies and along the Sierra Nevada mountains, before terminating in California.
Paris-Moscow Express: Paris (France) to Moscow (Russia)
Paris – Moscow Express is another train that runs on one of the longest trans-European routes. It travels from Gare de l’Est to Beilowruskaia, and the journey takes two days to complete. Operated by Russian Railways (RZD), this train runs for 3,483 kilometers, which covers about 2,164 miles. Also, traveling on this train requires valid transit visa, as it passes through stations like Belarus. It provides service 3 days in a week i.e.,Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The Ghan: Darwin to Adelaide (Australia)
Want to witness one of the spectacular sites of Australia? A ride in the Ghan is one of the convenient ways to witness it. Operated by the Great Southern Rail, this passenger train runs between Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin. It cover the distance of 2,979 kilometers (1,851 miles) in 47 hours. The Ghan provides services weekly, and it departs every Wednesday.
Eastern and Oriental Express: Bangkok (Thailand) to Singapore
E&O is a luxury train running through Thailand to Singapore. It is fully air-conditioned with all the amenities reminiscent of a 5 star hotel. The distance it covers is 2000 kilometers (1,355 miles) within two nights and two days. Operated by Belmond Ltd. this train provides services thrice a week i.e. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Special Mention: Train from Russia to North Korea
At present, the longest passenger train route in the world is between Moscow in Russia and Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea. The train covers a distance of 10,267 kilometers (6,380 miles)and takes eight days. It has around 150 stops and operates twice a month. However, foreign tourists wishing to enter North Korea have to exit the train in the North Korean city of Tumangang and catch another train to Pyongyang. The train is operated by the Korean State Railway.