Interesting Worldwide Railways

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by AdamL, 8 Jan 2018.

  1. AdamL

    AdamL Member

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    Hi,

    Im looking for a bit of help as I’m running out of ideas - I’m looking for interesting, unusual and rarely used by tourist railways around the world - that last part can be ignored if the first two parts are very interesting, unusual, scenic etc...

    I’ve travelled on strange Railways such as...
    - Madagascar Fianrantsoa to Manakara
    - Bolivia Aiquile to Cochabamba (even the locals didn’t know about it)
    - Chile Arica to Peru Tacna
    - Zimbabwe Harare to Victoria Falls
    - Kenya Nairobi to Mombasa
    - Burma (a few journeys)
    - Nepal and Cambodia before they disappeared
    - Trans Mongolian
    - China Shixizhen steam railway

    This is no where near my full list, but if anyone knows of Railways that are out of the way and out of the ordinary it would be great to hear about them...

    I’m not interested in journeys like the Canadian rockies mountaineer or visiting countries which are clearly very off limits for individual travellers.

    Thank you very much,
     

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  2. SUB62

    SUB62 Member

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    Have you tried the Sabah Railway in North Borneo, think it still runs. I did it in the 80s on a very interesting solo trip across the top of Borneo via boats and logging trucks, and a flight on a Malaysian Airways Twin Otter which cost me just over £1.
     
  3. theageofthetra

    theageofthetra Established Member

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    There's a funny little tourist line (hardly any non-Ticos know about it) in Costa Rica that was built by a Swiss expat farmer using old mining equipment and climbs the hill up to a cafe on his land. Features lots of Swiss style buildings , a spiral viaduct and fantastic views. Well worth a visit. Can't for my life remember the name though but as its the only tourist line in the country Google should find it- its along the reservoir rd heading North from Arenal National Park.

    Another one with imho the best views of any railway I've been on is Le petit train d'Artouste in the French Pyrenees.

    Its a former construction line for a hydroelectric scheme, hangs off the edge of cliffs most of the time and you get to feed wild marmots along the way.

    The Le Vela route in Colorado is much less well known than the other tourist lines in Colorado and was my favorite out of all the operations there.

    Do any of the heritage railrours in Japan- particular steam. They are hugely popular with locals and you will often be the only Westerner on them.- many have beautifully crafted interiors to the carriages even the ones which are a Japanese railcar equivalent of a Pacer.

    The Penang Funicular line is one of the fastest and longest in the world with an old colonial hill station at the top.
     
  4. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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    Not a railway that you can still ride, but...

    Go To Israel/Jordan and chase the remnants of the Hedjaz railway. If you are lucky, there are still private tours organized on the last active bits.
     
  5. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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    The whole iranian rail network is also worth a visit. With, if you feel adventurous enough, the broad gauge line from Zahedan to Quetta, Pakistan.
     
  6. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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    In 2016 I went by train all the way from Brussels to Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Those russian long distance trains are something to experience at least once in the life of any rail enthusiast. And then, once arrived, I rode most of the Uz network. Including the new Quamchik tunnel line to the Ferghana valley. The only rail line in the world where it is still forbidden to look through the windows...
     
  7. fowler9

    fowler9 Established Member

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    When I travelled from Arica to Tacna it was in a taxi which in the UK would be counted as illegally overloaded. I would imagine it would be interesting but not particularly scenically beautiful by train, also if it is still running it is incredibly unreliable which is the last thing you need in that part of the world if you have connections to make. A matter of weeks after I crossed the border the Pan American Highway was shut as during the rainy season loads of land mines on the border between Chile and Peru got washed across the road. The Atacama desert can be interesting and beautiful, between Arica and Tacna it isn't.

    Aquila to Cochabamba in Bolivia, again I have passed through the area and the reason the railway is probably not known about by the locals is probably because even the buses around there can be very unreliable, no one would bother using it unless they really didn't need to get to their destination any time soon. There is the Death Train which runs from Santa Cruz De La Sierra to Puerta Quijarro at Bolivias border with Brasil, I believe it is called the Death Train because loads of victims of a Yellow Fever Epidemic caught it. I actually have a photo of it at the Bimodal Terminal in Santa Cruz from where I was catching a coach to Buenos Aires. Santa Cruz is the biggest financial centre in Bolivia (Up in the high Andes in Bolivia is much more interesting, La Paz is boss), but in my opinion it was the dullest place I went to in South America and I don't imagine the scenery on the train route is much better. Bolivia is a fascinating country though. I worded that badly. Bolivia was amazing, apart from Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz was like Canberra or Milton Keynes if they were as horrifically humid and had as frequent outbreaks of mosquito carried deadly illnesses.
     
    Last edited: 8 Jan 2018
  8. eastwestdivide

    eastwestdivide Established Member

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    You've got me... Why?
    (and yes, I have googled, with no results about looking through the windows!)
     
  9. theageofthetra

    theageofthetra Established Member

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    With bizarrely a Japanese loco if I recal?
     
  10. rf_ioliver

    rf_ioliver Member

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    I was wondering that too...though long finished now (50+ years ago) between Kirkkonummi-Karjaa in Finland it was forbidden to look outside.

    So I guess there's a good question here: where else in the World (and this would make it interesting from the OP's perspective) is it forbidden to look out of the carriage windows?

    t.

    Ian
     
  11. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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    Because the tunnel is considered as a secret military asset. Before entering the tunnel, a message on the PA tells travelers to stay sit while in the tunnel, to stop using electronic devices, and not to take any videos or pictures. Then train personnel comes and closes all curtains. And if you come in the area by car, there are "no photos" signs posted everywhere around too.
     
  12. Baxenden Bank

    Baxenden Bank Established Member

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    Djibouti to Addis Ababa. Brand new, only started public service this week, 740km electrified at 25kv.
     
  13. AdamL

    AdamL Member

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    Wow! I've had a few highly busy days at work and I wasn't expecting anywhere near this many answers so thank you very much. I am going to read them all in more detail later but there are certainly a few that caught my eye.


    Thank you and I will be back to respond in more detail :)
     

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