Reminiscent of a bygone era, travelling by steam train makes the journey an integral part of the holiday experience and recaptures the romance of rail. Why not make tracks for one of Ffestiniog Travel’s top five worldwide steam-themed trips?
1. The pioneering lines of Colorado
It’s all aboard to discover the pioneering lines of the Wild West amid dramatic Rocky Mountain scenery. The Royal Gorge Railroad, which snakes its way alongside the raging Arkansas River, followed by a breathtaking ascent of Pikes Peak by cog railway, plus a steam passage through Animas Canyon to the beautifully preserved mining town of Silverton, all feature. Two ‘steam dreams’ round off the trip – a narrow gauge climb of 10,015 feet to Cumbres Pass and a lofty chug to the mountain town of La Veta. The cost is £2,345 pp* for 12 days departing 8 June 2010. It’s advisable to book early!
2. The Peruvian trail
Let off steam amid Peru’s astounding scenery, captivating culture and wonderful wildlife on this 18-day rail extravaganza. Take the train to mystical Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, and the eerie Nazca Lines and enjoy an amazing 15,679 foot locomotive steam journey to St Bartolome. Little is left uncovered on this eclectic itinerary and travelling by rail truly enhances the experience. The ‘Peruvian Trail’ departs 6 October 2009 and costs £3,700 pp*.
3. The narrow gauges of East Germany
The former East Germany’s fully-functional steam railways recall the country’s previous partition – a cultural divide as much as a geographical one. Take a 15-day time warp on these traditional tracks, chugging through forested hills, alighting to explore historical Dresden set on the banks of the Elbe and visiting Germany’s largest island (Rügen). Plus, get to the Harz of the matter on a narrow gauge railway, with a trip to wonderful Wernigerode in the mountains. This 15-day trip departs 5 September 2009 and costs £1,760 pp*.
4. The Darjeeling Railway in India
Among the last scheduled steam train services in the world, the Darjeeling train to Kurseong is a steam dream. Flanked by beautiful tea gardens, this historic train climbs to around 4,864 feet to the summit at Ghoom. Other steam highlights include the metre gauge Nilgiri rack railway, steam-hauled from Mettupalayam to Coonoor. You’ll also soak up Shimla, the Taj Mahal, Delhi and the Cool Blue Mountains on this 20-day ‘Hill stations of the Raj’ tour, which departs 20 February 2010 and costs £3,800 pp*.
5. Romantic Scottish highlander
Follow in the footsteps of Michael Palin for a fantastic rail route from the Scottish Highlands to the Kyle of Lochalsh. A whiff of steam train nostalgia awaits on the Straithspey Railway, before a breathtaking ride on the Cairngorm Mountain train, the UK’s highest funicular. Some ‘Monster spotting’ on a leisurely cruise of Loch Ness rounds off this five-day trip. Departs 21 September and 19 October 2009 and costs from £659 pp*.
*All tours are escorted and include train travel, accommodation with breakfast (two sharing), excursions and admission fees, and the services of a dedicated and knowledgeable tour leader. Independent tours can also be tailor-made.
As part of the Ffestiniog Railway, the oldest independent railway company in the world, Ffestiniog Travel has over thirty years’ experience in offering a diverse selection of rail holidays worldwide. Railways and rail travel feature prominently on all of its tours and there are countless classic train journeys of world renown to enjoy.
For further information, or to book train tickets and holidays, contact Ffestiniog Travel See the World by Rail on 01766 772030 or visit the website at www.festtravel.co.uk.