Ever Considered A Train Over A Plane?
Follow in the footsteps of Michael Portillo, not by wearing brightly coloured clashing clothes but by exploring the world on a train! If you are short of time and need to get between A and B then flying is usually the best option, but apart from the inside of an airport and a plane what do you actually see of the country? Step out of the fast lane and take your time to travel – jump on a train and make the most of the beautiful scenery around you.
A number of Scout groups have signed up to travel on the Trans-Siberian Railway next year as part of their Asia Pacific Jamboree 2017 experience, which is taking place in Mongolia. There are some great train journey ideas that you can experience with your Scout group. All this information, and more, can be found on a great website called ‘The Man in Seat Sixty-One’ – A beginner’s guide to train travel –
Trans Siberian Railway – Moscow to Beijing
A journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway should be on everyone’s bucket list.It’s safe, comfortable and affordable. This is arguably the most interesting Trans-Siberian route to take. The weekly Trans-Mongolian train leaves Moscow for Beijing every Tuesday night and covers 7,621 km (4,735 mile) over 6 nights. This train crosses Siberia, cuts across Mongolia and the Gobi desert and then enters China.
P.S. Flying to Moscow to pick up the Trans-Siberian Railway is like entering a marathon and then accepting a lift in someone’s car for the first hundred yards…don’t cheat!If you’re going to go overland to the Far East, do it properly, starting at London St Pancras and staying firmly on the ground.It’s easy to travel from London to Moscow by train – How about starting your Trans-Siberian trip with Eurostar from London to Paris and then a ride on the excellent Paris-Moscow Express?
|MOSCOW TO BEIJING||BEIJING TO MOSCOW|
|Tuesday (Train Number 4)||Wednesday (Train Number 3)|
Kenya – Nairobi to Mombasa
The overnight train from Nairobi to Mombasa is the classic and enjoyable way to travel between these two Kenyan cities.Indeed, spotting big game from the Nairobi-Mombasa night train has always been one of Kenya’s great travel experiences, so make sure you include the train in your travel itinerary.
A classic overnight sleeper train called the Jambo Kenya Deluxe links Kenya’s capital Nairobi with its second city Mombasa. The train has 1st class 2-berth sleepers, 2nd class 4-berth sleepers, a restaurant car and 3rd class seats. It currently operates as follows –
|NAIROBI TO MOMBASA||MOMBASA TO NAIROBI|
|Monday – Wednesday – Friday||Tuesday – Thursday – Sunday|
Sri Lanka – Colombo to Badulla
Sri Lanka is a fabulous place – safe, friendly and remarkably hassle-free.Taking the train is a great and inexpensive way to get around, the train journeys are real cultural experiences and the most scenic routes will be highlights of your visit – in particular the wonderful journey from Colombo to Kandy and up into Tea Country and/or the coastal train ride from Colombo to Dutch colonial Galle. British visitors will find the stations, signal boxes and old red semaphore signals very familiar!
The train ride from Colombo to Kandy and up into the tea plantations of Sri Lanka’s hill country is truly wonderful, not just transportation but a classic journey that’s easily the best train ride in Sri Lanka.We recommend a reserved seat in the 1st class observation car if you can get one. Failing that, a seat in the 2nd or 3rd class reserved cars on one of the excellent new Chinese-built blue trains.
|COLOMBO TO BADULLA||BADULLA TO COLOMBO|
|Daily – Train Number 1007||Daily – Train Number 1007|
USA – San Francisco to New York
You’ll see nothing of America at 35,000 feet, so come down to Earth and see world-class scenery from an Amtrak train across the United States.You can travel coast to coast from as little as $278 if you book well in advance, one of the world’s great travel bargains.The USA has an excellent rail network for visitors, and although only a skeleton network by European standards, it’ll take you to almost all the towns and cities a visitor wants to see, in comfort at affordable prices.Long-distance trains in the USA are operated by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, better known as Amtrak.
|SAN FRANCISCO TO NEW YORK||NEW YORK TO SAN FRANCISCO|
UK – London to Edinburgh
It’s the most civilised, romantic, efficient andenvironmentally-friendly way between central London and the heart of Scotland, for a stress-free weekend in the Highlands or business meeting in London.Every night except Saturday night, Caledonian Sleeper trains link London with towns & cities all over Scotland, arriving in time for breakfast.
A bright future for the sleeper:A new 15-year Caledonian Sleeper franchise started in March 2015 and on the horizon are brand-new sleeper trains to be introduced from summer 2018, featuring business class sleepers with en suite toilet and shower, flatbed pods, cradle seats and ‘brasserie-style’ lounge car.
|LONDON TO EDINBURGH||EDINBURGH TO LONDON|
|Every day (except Saturday)||Every day (except Saturday)|
Inter-railing in Europe
Take to the rails for a whistle-stop tour of Europe. Meet other travellers, experience everything Europe has to offer and collect lifelong memories along the way. The Interrail Global Pass is your key to discovering destinations from across Europe. Enjoy unforgettable rail trips and plan your next stop as you go. See 30 countries with 1 rail pass!
You can either buy a pass for a single country or purchase a ‘global pass’ that covers all of the countries below – France, Germany, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Finland, “Greece Plus” (incl. ferry Greece – Italy), Republic of Ireland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Croatia, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, FYR Macedonia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey.
Australia – Sydney to Melbourne
Australia is a huge country and the best way to appreciate its vastness is to cross it at ground level by train, in comfort. The famous Indian Pacific links Sydney, Adelaide & Perth in 3 days, crossing the great Nullarbor Plain in the process. Don’t miss out on a visit to the ‘red centre’ of Australia around Alice Springs, and there’s no better way to reach Alice Springs or Darwin than by the equally famous Ghan from Adelaide. In the East, comfortable XPT trains link Sydney with Melbourne and Brisbane at affordable prices and Queensland Railway links Brisbane with Townsville and Cairns.
Comfortable air-conditioned trains link Sydney with Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, city centre to city centre, with no need to fly!These trains are run by NSW Train Link, and run two comfortable XPT trains every day from Sydney to Melbourne, one by day and the other a time-effective overnight train with sleeping-car.
|SYDNEY TO MELBOURNE||MELBOURNE TO SYDNEY|
|Two a day||Two a day|
South Africa – Johannesburg to Cape Town
Comfortable & amazingly cheap, Shosholoza Meyl long-distance passenger trains link Johannesburg with Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth & East London. They’re perfectly safe and one of South Africa’s best-kept secrets, highly recommended by travellers. The Cape Town to Johannesburg train passes the same wonderful scenery as the megabucks Blue Train, but costs only 690 Rand including a bed in a 2-berth or 4-berth sleeper.Shosholoza Meyl’s Tourist Class trains have modernised sleeping-cars and a restaurant car, a great alternative to flying and missing everything, or being stuck in a bus seat for whole days & nights.
|JOHANNESBURG TO CAPE TOWN||CAPE TOWN TO JOHANNESBURG|
|Tuesday – Wednesday – Friday – Sunday||Wednesday – Thursday – Friday – Sunday|
Japan – Tokyo to Hiroshima
Trains in Japan are world famous for being extremely punctual, and are probably even quicker than flying domestically throughout the country (if you take into account the time spent at the airport). Everyone has heard of Japan’s bullet train lines, more properly known in Japan as Shinkansen. These are high-speed lines; it takes approximately 4 hours to travel the 559 miles between Tokyo and Hiroshima. The first Shinkansen was the Tokaido Shinkansen linking Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka opened in 1964, later extended as the Sanyo Shinkansen to Hiroshima, Kobe and Hakata.There are now a whole range of ‘Shinkansen’ lines linking all the most important cities in Japan, including Niigata, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Hakata and Kagoshima.
The trains have two classes, ordinary seats (2nd class) and Green Car seats (1st class). Reservation is normally required on each train, but there are usually one or more ‘unreserved’ cars.
Train fares in Japan are expensive – there’s just one fixed flexible price for each journey with no cheap advance-purchase or off-peak fares. So even if you are only planning a couple of inter-city journeys, a Japan Rail Pass can save money over normal tickets.
A Rail Pass covering the whole of Japan is available for 7, 14 or 21 consecutive days , providing unlimited travel on the Japan Railways (JR) network, in a choice of ordinary class (2nd class) or green car (1st class). You need to buy the pass before you leave home, you can’t buy a Japan Rail Pass when you get to Japan.
|TOKYO TO HIROSHIMA||HIROSHIMA TO TOKYO|
|Daily – approx. every 30 minutes||Daily – approx. every 30 minutes|
** The information above has been sourced from THE MAN IN SEAT 61 – A beginner’s guide to train travel (http://www.seat61.com/) **
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