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The Greatest Steam Train Trips in the World

Step back in time on these nostalgic steam train trips, a charming way to experience a bygone era of travel

Trains have come a long way since first the steam-powered railway journey took place first 1804. But while we now have bullet-trains and high-speed railways, there’s something very nostalgic about a steam train, hearing the gentle chug as it rolls along, transporting you back to the golden age of railway travel. For utter romance on the railways, look no further than these amazing steam train trips from around the world.

jacobite steam train

Jacobite Steam Train, Scotland

The Jacobite Steam Train is a famous steam train in the Scottish Highlands, ploughing the famous Road to the Isles rail route. Described as the greatest railway journey in the world, the Jacobite takes passengers on an 5hour 50minutes round-trip from Fort William to Mallaig, starting at Ben Nevis and crossing rugged landscapes and lochs. Train look familiar? You may recognise if from its role as the Hogwarts Express in Harry Potter.

La Trochita Train steam

Old Patagonian Express, Argentina

The Old Patagonian Express, or La Trochita, is a steam train that operates on a narrow-gauge railway in Patagonia, Argentina. Now a heritage railway route, the nostalgic train was made famous in the 1978 Paul Theroux book The Old Patagonian Express, running between Esquel and the settlement of Nahuel Pan and between El Maitén and Desvío Thomae. With vistas stretching across endless plains, wide valleys and mountains as far as the eye can see, you’ll see why Theroux called it ‘almost the end of the world’.

Achensee railway train

Achensee Steam Cog Railway, Austria

Visitors to Tyrol in Austria will love a trip back in time on the Achensee Railway, Europe’s oldest steam cog railway that has carriages dating back to the 1900s. The metre-gauge cog railway runs between Jenbach and Seespitz on Lake Achensee, steaming past Europe’s largest nature reserve, the Karwendel Mountains and spectacular Alpine scenery. Passengers get to travel on cute locomotives called Georg, Hermann, Hannah and Theodor and enjoy the experience of seeing coal shovelled into the furnace to power the train’s engine.

north yorkshire moors railway

North Yorkshire Moors Railway, UK

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is a nostalgic train trip back in time, taking travellers through the wilds of the North Yorkshire Moors. We don’t know what we love more, the historic Pullman carriages, the puffing steam locomotive or the plethora of tiny village stations and tea rooms the train rolls past. Running from Pickering to Whitby, traveller can disembark for a seaside fish and chips lunch before travelling back through the National Paek.

afternoon tea on the Puffing Billy Steam Train

Puffing Billy Railway, Australia

Travellers Down Under should pay a visit to the Puffing Billy Railway, a 2ft 6 in narrow-gauge heritage railway runs through the southern foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, near Melbourne. The 25 kilometre journey takes passengers from Belgrave to Gembrook along one of the country’s five historic Victorian narrow-gauge lines and passengers can hop on-and-off while enjoying fantastic views of the Victorian countryside from the iconic open-sided carriages.

darjeeling himalayan railway toy train

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, India

India is full of incredible heritage trains, like the brilliantly blue Toy Train that runs the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The historic rail route is 150 years old, covering 88km of track using zigzags and loops to ascend the foothills of the Himalayas. Most carriages are diesel pulled, all except the Red Panda, a service from Darjeeling to Kurseong (3 hours, 30 minutes). Passing through cool luscious forests and tea plantations, you’ll see why this journey was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999.

Schynige Platte Railway

Schynige Platte Railway, Switzerland

The Schynige Platte Railway is a scenic mountain railway that travels from Wilderswil up to the vantage point of Schynige Platte, located in the Bernese Highlands area of Switzerland. In just 7.3km the train climbs to a height of 1,420 metres, offering passengers spectacular views of triple peaks Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau and the stunning wildflower gardens of the Schynige Platte. The train itself is old school, tiny in size and evokes nostalgia, still operating with one of its original steam locomotives.