A carriage with a view: The 10 most Instagrammed train journeys in the world

8th Apr 19 | Lifestyle

From rain-soaked jungle to snow-capped peak, these railroads know exactly how to crank up the likes.

Train of the Rhaetian Railway on the Landwasser viaduct.

There’s something intangibly romantic about travelling by rail. Perhaps it’s the way the train glides smoothly along the track beneath, the opportunity to watch the world flash by in a blur of colour, or the fact that you’re unlikely to get stuck in traffic and spend half an hour staring at a lay-by.

With so much to see so quickly, it’s no surprise that train journeys have become social media mainstay, but which routes have made the greatest contributions to #trainsofInstagram?

Uk-based travel operator Canvas Holidays trawled through 275,000 train travel photos to find out…

1. The Venice Simplon-Orient Express – 63,408 posts

They say that life is about the journey rather than the destination, and nowhere is this truer than on the revamped Venice Simplon-Orient Express.

This two-day journey takes you from London Victoria to the Venetian lagoon, and costs from £2,450 a pop, but you travel in refurbished 1920s carriages with all the trimmings of luxury.

These days much of the frisson comes from the Agatha Christie story, but Express regulars will know that this high society sleeper was already long-synonymous with intrigue.

2. The Bernina Express – 38,840

From the Alpine summits of Switzerland to the foothills in Northern Italy, the Bernina Express rises and falls along a rail line that became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

Highlights include the Morteratsch Glacier and the spiralling Montebello Curve, but the mustn’t- miss is Alp Grüm, the only restaurant in the world so precarious and remote that it can only be accessed by rail (or walking).

3. The Rocky Mountaineer – 25,464

Originally an ordinary rail route connecting Vancouver and Calgary, the Rocky Mountaineer now does more or less what it says on the tin.

Meandering through the crags and crevices of the Canadian Rockies, this trip is all about the views, and with a glass-domed observation coach with rotating seats you shouldn’t have to miss any of them.

Enjoy one of the world’s great wildernesses from the comfort of a reclining chair, naturally with complimentary alcohol.

4. The Tran-Siberian Railway, Russia – 22,864

The Godfather of adventure train travel, this bucket list regular has been railway royalty ever since it opened in 1902, with the intention of connecting all the disparate parts of the mind-bogglingly massive Russian Empire.

It was the longest railway line then, and it’s still the longest line now – spanning 9,289km of plunging temperatures, awe-inspiring mountain tops, and viscerally inhospitable tundra.

5. The California Zephyr – 19,640

A love letter to the old American railroad, this 51 hour monster runs from Chicago to San Francisco Bay, traversing the barren wastes of Nebraska, the surging currents of the Colorado river, the desert plains of Utah, and the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada.

It’s like a classic US road trip, but with a highly-trained chef in the passenger seat and no arguments over who has to drive.

6. The Glacier Express – 16,876

A highlight reel from the heart of the Swiss Alps, this scenic railway spend more than seven hours weaving from peak to peak, before terminating among the ski slopes of Zermatt. In pristine powder or blowing blizzard it’s a spectacular ride, and the train chugs along slowly to ensure you can take it all in.

Whatever the weather beyond your window, the only ice inside the cabins will be the cubes cooling your complimentary champagne.

7. The Coast Starlight – 14,244

There aren’t many train journeys where you can go to sleep in the warmth of the Californian sun and wake up in three inches of snow, but on the Coast Starlight service you can.

Hugging the West Coast from Los Angeles to Seattle, the rotating seats often give the sense of being on two journeys at once: One side yields the rolling waves of the Pacific, the other an undulating landscape of precipitous hillsides and verdant valleys.

Throw in a few world-famous metropolises, and Coast Starlight’s got the lot.

8. The Brocken Railway – 11,660

A tourist railway threading through the Harz National Park, this plucky little steam locomotives manages to summit the tallest mountain in north Germany without even straining a piston.

The train terminates near the peak of the Brocken, and, at an elevation of 1,125m, offers 360-degree views over the park below.

9. The Bergen Line – 9,630

Linking Norway’s two largest cities, this 550km day trip train journey traverses the treacherous terrain of Hardangervidda – the highest mountainous plateau in Europe.

Seven and a half hours of lush vegetation punctuated, at the right time of year, by sudden blankets of white.

10. The Eastern & Oriental Express – 6,499

Not to be confused with its European cousin, the Eastern & Oriental Express is nonetheless similarly luxurious.

Your three-day passage from Singapore to Bangkok includes boutique afternoon teas, the lyrical tinkling of live piano, and effortlessly elegant Eastern-infused design.

The whole affair is so hypnotically glamorous you may not even notice the ancient temples and lush jungle swooping past your window.

© Press Association 2019