Three great train journeys

From a chilled out train in Sweden to climbing the hills in Sri Lanka, Chris Carter looks at the three best options to explore the world by rail.


The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express there's no more authentic way to see Russia


Riding the rails between Moscow and Vladivostok in the Russian far east captures the imagination like no other train journey in the world, says Anthony Lambert in City AM. It is the world's longest train journey, taking seven days if you do it without stops, and crosses seven time zones and almost 100 degrees of latitude. It's here that you come to appreciate the vastness of the Russian forests.

The experience can pall hours of looking out onto birch and conifers takes its toll. So why not take the chance to dip into a few of Russia's weighty novels, fraternise with your fellow passengers, or break up the journey by taking one of the tourist trains, such as the Tsars Gold or the luxurious Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express. There's no more authentic way to see Russia.

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Sri Lanka

Bookstalls and wrought iron, station master's offices and semi-audible Tannoys catching the train from Colombo Fort railway station in Sri Lanka is like travelling back in time to late 1950s Britain, says Mark Smith in The Times. At the back of a dusty blue diesel stands an ageing red-brown car with the words "Observation saloon" picked out in gold on the side. Whistles blow and the express, which barely reaches 50mph, passes woods, rivers, rice fields and the odd temple, on its way up into tea country.

The climb into the hills affords beautiful views. "I've seldom seen a landscape so green the palm fronds and jungle seem ready to consume the track." Elsewhere the line twists and cuts into the hillside. For your first taste of Asia, Sri Lanka is the place to go.

Book tickets on The trip from Colombo to Nanu Oya for the tea plantations takes six and a half hours. A 14-day package costs £2,295 from

Next stop, Surf City


Los Angeles is America's mostcongested city. And the drivedown to the beach at Santa Monicais notoriously slow. Now, thanks toa new $1.5bn extension to the ExpoLine, "sun seekers can hop on a train,surfboard under one arm, inDowntown LA, and hit the beach46 minutes later", says Ellie Watts-Russell in The Guardian.

The linehas seven new stops and 6.6 milesof new track. And with trains runninguntil three in the morning, there's plenty of time to enjoy a Sundowner at theBungalow, one of Santa Monica's "raucous hangouts".

"Angelenos can finally connect with their beach," says Helena de Bertodano inThe Daily Telegraph. The train runs past a concrete urban landscape that slowlygives way to "glimpses of the Santa Monica mountains" and "purple-floweringjacaranda trees". As you leave the platform, you see the Pacific glittering on the left,"where the children play in the surf and sandpipers skitter at the water's edge".



You would be hard-pressed to think of a more chilled-out train service than the Inlandsbanan in Sweden, says Ben Love in The Times. The slow train runs once a day from the forests of Dalarna in the centre of the country and trundles all the way up to the Arctic Circle, stopping off for moose and bear spotting, refreshment breaks at restaurants, or just if the driver fancies calling a halt and inviting you all for a dip in the lakes' "pellucid" waters.

The jovial conductor sings folk songs along the way. This slow train shows you a secret side to Sweden it is a "quirky and sociable way to reach this beautiful country's wild heart".

A 14-day travel card costs 1,995 krona (£169), see You can pick up the train in Mora. The direct train from Stockholm Arlanda to Mora costs from 265 krona one way and takes three and a half hours.

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.