8 Of The World's Most Daring Train Journeys
White Pass And Yukon Route, Alaska
"No cutting corners on the White Pass & Yukon Route in Alaska." Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, this narrow-gauge railroad is an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. The track climbs nearly 915 metres in 32 kilometres and features steep grades of up to 3.9% and cliff-hanging turns of 16 degrees. It also has splendid views of mountains, glaciers, tunnels, gorges, waterfalls and trestles.
Chennai to Rameswaram Route, India
The Pamban Railway Bridge is India’s first ever Sea Bridge. Constructed in 1914, the train line crosses the Indian Ocean, connecting the city of Chennai to the town of Rameswaram on Pamban Island. The 2.06-kilometre bridge is considered extremely dangerous due to its low lying concrete piers and its exposure to strong ocean currents and cyclones. Luckily the train’s top speed is 15 kilometres per hour!
Devil's Nose (Nariz del Diablo) Railroad, Ecuador
This railroad was so called because it passes the Devil’s Nose, a mountain with a sheer-face wall. To overcome this obstacle during construction, the railroad was built in a zig-zag that climbs more than 500 meters in less than 12 kilometres and has a maximum altitude of 3609 metres.
Burma Railway aka Death Railway
The Burma Railway, also known as the Death Railway, was built by the Empire of Japan during World War II. The 415-kilometre railway runs precariously close to the edge between Ban Pong, Thailand, and Thanbyuzayat, Burma.
Pilatus Railway, Switzerland
The world’s steepest cogwheel railway travels from Alpnachstad to Pilatus Kulm through lush meadows and fields of alpine flowers. Despite the beautiful scenery and mountain streams, the track skims past rock faces and travels upwards at a 48% incline.
Maeklong Railway, Thailand
The famous railway market or folding umbrella market at Maeklong, Thailand, runs for approximately 67 kilometers between Wongwian Yai, Bangkok, and Samut Songkhram in central Thailand. The railway line is divided by the Tha Chin River into two parts, the Mahachai Line and the Ban Laem Line and literally runs through the middle of the market, coming within inches of stall owners.
Train Ride To Heaven (Tren a las Nubes), Argentina
The "Train To The Clouds" is Argentina’s most famous rail trip. The train heads from Salta down the Lerma Valley before ascending into Quebrada del Toro, continuing past Tastil ruins and San Antonio de los Cobres, before reaching a viaduct traversing a desert canyon at La Polvorilla (altitude 4220 metres).
Kuranda Scenic Railroad, Australia
The 34-kilometre Kuranda Scenic Railroad connecting Cairns to the town of Kuranda in Queensland, Australia, was constructed in the 18th century and passes through the dense tropical rainforest of the World Heritage-listed Barron Gorge National Park and the Macalister Range. The railroad travels 328 metres above sea level and is only a few metres away from numerous waterfalls, not to mention the 15 tunnels, 93 curves and more than 40 bridges during the one-hour, 45 minute one-way journey.