Railbookers sales & marketing manager Anna Davies on 20 years of railway trips, the magic of Swiss trains and why she can’t enough of Amtrak’s pancakes
What’s been your favourite rail journey?
Over the past 20 years I’ve been lucky enough to travel regularly on the rails but a particular highlight has to be Amtrak’s Southwest Chief train in 2019, travelling from Chicago to Los Angeles via the Grand Canyon. The ever-changing scenery as we crossed seven states was just incredible – such variety and such an enjoyable experience. The pancakes and steak in the dining car were pretty impressive too!
Have you ever travelled by train overnight?
Yes, I’ve done many overnight train trips over the years, including trips from Venice to Paris, from Paris to Madrid and more recently on Amtrak – there’s something about taking an overnight train journey that turns the trip into an adventure.
What country have you most enjoyed visiting by rail?
Switzerland – every journey is a scenic journey and it has such an incredible rail system. I’ve travelled extensively around the country including amazing trips on the Glacier Express and the Jungfraubahn.
Can you remember your first ever train journey?
Not as a child but I do remember very vividly my first Eurostar journey from London Waterloo, as it was then, to Paris. It was not long after it began operating in 1994. Something so seamless as leaving one capital city and arriving into another in a matter of a few hours felt like a miracle. Journey times are even quicker now of course but the ease of travelling to Europe by train like that has always stuck with me.
Where would you like to travel to by rail?
I’d love to see more of Scandinavia by train – the Flam Railway is certainly on my list, and everyone loves a bit of luxury, so the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is also on my list of course. Arriving into Venice by train and walking out with the Grand Canal right there is impressive enough but arriving in luxury on one of the most famous trains in the world would be something else! The Canadian Rockies is also somewhere I’m keen to see from the tracks too; I’d love to travel on The Canadian crossing Canada right from Toronto to Vancouver.
Who is your ideal travelling companion on a rail journey?
My family – my husband, daughter and son. We’ve done a few fantastic holidays by train. On our honeymoon we travelled by train to Puglia via Paris and Rome. More recently we’ve travelled as a family to the Swiss Alps by train too. It was a real rail adventure and the kids loved it as much as we did.
What’s been your best meal on a train?
The freshly prepared breakfasts, lunches and dinners onboard Amtrak were great, as were the meals onboard the Glacier Express – their tilting wine glasses always make sure that not a drop is spilt as you climb ever higher.
What do you always take with you on a train journey?
On longer journeys, always a guidebook or map as I like to look at those during the journey and always a pack of playing cards – whether to play with people I’m travelling with or those that I meet on the way.