In this age of immediate results, train travel still holds so much of its romantic appeal. Whether you're winding through snowy mountains or charging across the desert, travelling by rail is usually more about the journey than the destination. Although you could probably fly there in half the time, here are 10 trips that are so much better by train.
Lima to Huancayo, Peru
The Ferrovías Central railway runs right through the middle of the Andes, and if that's not reason enough to take a ride, keep in mind that it's the second highest railway in the world. Although the trip from Cusco to Machu Picchu is more well-traveled, this lesser known tourist train is sure to impress with its drama and splendour. The whole journey takes 12 hours, beginning in the capital of Lima and ending in Huancayo.
Seattle to Vancouver, Canada/USA
The Rocky Mountaineer Railway's glass-topped cars give passengers an unrivaled view of the Canadian Rockies. There are several routes that travellers can take, but the Coastal Route is the most popular. Encompassing Seattle and Vancouver, and passing along the Pacific Ocean, Puget Sound and Banff National Park, the trip takes about six hours. Other routes travel farther into Canada with overnight stops and even more untouched wilderness.
Salta to La Polvorilla, Argentina
The Tren a las Nubes, or Train to the Clouds, zigzags across mountain pass after mountain pass before ending at the magnificent Polvorilla Viaduct. The curved ironwork bridge is 735 feet long and was completed between 1930 and 1932. It takes two hours to get to the viaduct and two hours to return, but buses are also available for the return journey.
Ben Nevis to Arisaig, UK
The Jacobite steam train takes visitors along 84 miles of track, wending its way through the pristine Scottish Highlands. Starting near one of the UK's highest peaks, Ben Nevis, passengers pass two of the deepest lochs in Britain: Loch Morar and Loch Nevis (the deepest saltwater loch in Europe), and over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which many may recognize from the Harry Potter films.
New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling, India
"The Toy Train" travels 50 miles to Darjeeling and back. Mostly for tourists, the two-hour scenic leg of the trip from Ghoom to Darjeeling is an experience in and of itself. The mountain views are spectacular, but the quaint locomotive is the star of the show. The railroad was the first of its kind to be built in India, and the steam engines used for tourist trips are antique British B-Class models.