Need a change of scenery? As most of our 2020 travel plans have been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, virtual experiences and explorations have taken the wheel. As we know some of the most epic journeys have been train-travel. So, why not explore some virtual train rides?
Being full of promise and mystery, trains have been immortalised by works of various writers; Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Strangers on a Train’, or Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ to name a few. Best said by famous travel writer Paul Theroux, “I have seldom heard a train go by and not wished I was on it”. With luxury trains such as Palace on Wheels and Orient Express, train travel has become both a daily necessity as well as a luxury experience. Enjoy the continually changing scenery as the countryside gently slips by your window with the help of these virtual train rides that let you glide past Alpine villages in the Swiss countryside or chug slowly by spectacular Peruvian canyons. Prepare to be magically transported to 12 of the world’s most iconic and scenic virtual train journeys for your pleasure.
Take A Look At These Gorgeous Virtual Train Rides You Can Take From Home
1Sarajevo–Ploče Railway, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Explore the Balkan country of Bosnia and Herzegovina by train on this virtual train ride. You seamlessly glide along the Neretva River and through the Mediterranean wilderness, going through 99 tunnels and over 65 bridges. It starts from Čapljina, quickly dipping into Croatia before crossing the border back into Bosnia and Herzegovina and then ending the trip in Sarajevo. This dream route offers you a perfect view of Bosnia’s natural beauty. Your breathtaking view will also include passing the Neretva River, known for its emerald green colour, and mountain villages with mesmerizing landscapes.
2Jacobite Steam Train (Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct), Scotland
This is the iconic train that was used to portray the Hogwarts Express that connected London’s King’s Cross Station Platform 9¾ and Hogsmeade station. Although it won’t take you to Harry Potter land, this virtual train ride will take you through an equally magical ride on Scotland’s highest mountains, past its deepest lochs as it curves around the Glenfinnan Viaduct, allowing you to relish some gorgeous scenery along the way.
3Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Colorado, United States
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad offers you a three-part tour which largely follows the path of the roaring Animas River, giving you spectacular scenery of Colorado’s the San Juan Mountains. A unique feature of this virtual ride is first that you will be “travelling” on a three-foot-wide narrow-gauge heritage railroad. Secondly, you will get to see the historic locomotive cutting a dramatic 45 miles course from the railroading town of Durango to the mining town of Silverton. Travelling from one mountain to another, you’ll also pass through the Royal Gorge Canyon in Colorado. This 995 ft high pedestrian bridge spans the gorge and is one of the world’s highest suspension bridges.
4Belgrade–Bar Railway, Montenegro
This train ride travels between the Serbian capital city and Montenegro in the Balkans. The Belgrade–Bar Railway will show you what dramatic scenery is all about. You start this 12-hour journey, in the town of Bar, close to the Adriatic Sea, then travel through canyons, stilted bridges spanning river gorges, and atop an ancient tectonic lake. This virtual ride will take you through the magical mountains of Montenegro for which you don’t need to catch a window seat. It will zip through Serbia’s impressive mountainous region to the Adriatic coast in Montenegro allowing you to enjoy a wonderful glimpse of the two countries.
5Royal Gorge Route Railroad, Colorado
Launched in 1999, this virtual ride will take you on a memorable trip through the Colorado Rockies. Running along the base of the canyon beside the mighty river, through this virtual train ride you will go along a memorable train ride through the Colorado Rockies. This railroad journey began 140 years ago and today takes more than 100,000 travellers from around the world while providing unforgettable scenery along the way. Passing through the Royal Gorge Canyon in Colorado, you’ll go along the rushing Arkansas River near the Royal Gorge Bridge.
6Nordland Line, Norway
This mesmerising virtual adventure starts from Trondheim Fjord in Trondheim and gets snowier as you head farther north. Nordland Line is the longest rail line in Norway, and the only one to cross the Arctic Circle. Covering a distance of 729 km, this ten-hour journey will take you from the historic town of Trondheim to the Arctic coastal town of Bodø. You will pass into the Arctic Circle in this virtual journey then, deeper into the northern regions where you will see the northern lights play across the sky, before ending in the municipality of Fauske. This spectacular rail ride is best described by the poet Sveinulv Jarnæss in his poem from 1950:
“Embrace the Nordland nights, if you can, the most beautiful in the world. The sky aflame in the fire of the Northern Lights, above a wonderland of dreams”
You can also pick your preferred season for this free virtual ride if snow doesn’t sound that appealing.
7Ferrocarril Central Andino, Peru
Widely known to be one of the world’s most scenic railroads, Ferrocarril Central Andino links the Pacific port of Callao and the capital city of Lima with Huancayo and Cerro de Pasco. Part of the Trans-Andean Railways, it offers some of the best views in the world, twisting through Andean mountainscapes and vertigo-inducing bridges. The 12-hour journey is split into a four-part virtual ride that will take you on a 335-kilometre journey through 66 tunnels, over 59 bridges and 22 zigzags.
87 Express Line, New York, United States
The 7 Express Line, also known as Flushing Express, travels from Queens to Manhattan, offering some iconic views of the New York City skyline along the way. This virtual train ride will take you on the Manhattan-bound leg of the train line which is nicknamed the “international express” due to the number of ethnic neighbourhoods it crosses. While it may not be the prettiest railway, it surely is a cultural experience. Check out the unique front-facing view in the video which also gives a pleasantly calm feel to a rush-hour commuter train journey.
9Bernina Railway, Switzerland to Italy
Switzerland’s UNESCO listed Berninabahn (Bernina Railway) between Switzerland and Italy is one of the best ways to experience Europe. This spectacular virtual train ride will take you through the Swiss Alps with picturesque green valleys and snowy mountains down to the palm trees of Italy. Known to be one of the steepest railways in the world, Berninabahn or Bernina Railway is the highest transalpine railway. It covers the section between St.Moritz in Switzerland and Triano in Italy; it contains some of the highest (over 7000 feet) railway crossings in Europe.
10Geibi Line to Fukuen Line, Japan
Get a taste of the Japanese countryside through the Geibi Line that later turns to Fukuen Line. This virtual journey will take you from Hiroshima Station to Fuchū Station on the Geibi Line. The route crosses the mountainous area of the Chūgoku region along with more suburban areas, so you’ll get to see stunning bridges, cutting through majestic mountains. This virtual ride will offer you the best of Japanese urban life as well as rural.
11North Wales Coast Line, England to Wales
This virtual experience will allow you to travel along the beautiful Wales coast. You will board a British Rail Class 175, a diesel passenger train which travels from England to Wales. Running from Crewe on the West Coast Main Line to Holyhead on the Isle of Anglesey, this ride will take you through rugged mountainous landscapes and lush green countryside to quaint seaside resorts and towns. Starting off from Chester city, you’ll pass through the lush countryside before hitting the coast and continuing west.
12Flåm Railway, Norway
This dreamy 12-mile route will take you along the Norwegian landscapes in a 40-minute breathtaking ride from the train driver’s point of view. Known to be one of the most beautiful train journeys, the Flam train route passes over a river running through the rugged terrain via the longest and deepest fjord in Europe, the Sognefjord. This scenic train route runs through the valley of Flåmsdalen connecting Myrdal and Flåm in Aurland and Norway. Also known to be one of the steepest standard gauge railways in the world, you’ll pass waterfalls, deep ravines, snow-capped mountains, and high-altitude farms in this virtual train ride.
Out Of These Virtual Rail Experiences, Which One Has Caught Your Eye?
While we all are trying to entertain ourselves during this lockdown period, why not travel virtually? The above mentioned virtual train rides offer a new way to bring a change in our usual boring scenery while satiating the wanderlust in us. Grab some popcorn, pick whichever seat you want (how about the driver’s one?) to get the BEST VIEWS thanks to these virtual train rides that you can board for free!