Trains have always been an effective mode of commuting and transportation for humans since a long time. Most of the cities in the world have efficient railways systems. A normal construction of a railway track is itself an engineering feat. However, the engineers in this world take credit for constructing some of the most imaginative and difficult train routes. Some train routes can be exhilarating and some can be downright bizarre. We shall now look at nine amazing railway routes in the world.
- Maeklong Market Railway (Thailand)
This is a unique railway line. It passes through the busy food market in Maeklong, Thailand. In fact, the market is located on top of the railway line. The shopkeepers pack their wares once the train approaches to let it pass. The trains having rumbled through, the shopkeepers get down to business again. This happens several times during the day. It is a mystery as to why there has not been any major accident involving loss of human life.
- Napier-Gisborne Railway, New Zealand:
At a first glance, this railway line does not seem unique at all. Now consider this fact. The railway route crosses the main runway of the Gisborne Airport. Whenever a plane approaches the airport, the train has to stop to let the plane land or take off. It is unique to find a steam locomotive in the middle of an airport runway.
- Tren a las Nubes, Argentina
The word literally means, “Train to the Clouds.” This is a tourist attraction today in the Salta Province, Argentina. The railway service connects the Argentine Northwest with the Chilean border in the Andes mountain range. Running at a height of 4220 meters, this is the third highest railway in the world. It is now just a tourist attraction. This railway line has 29 bridges and 21 tunnels in its route along the mountains. The route also comprises of 13 viaducts and 2 spirals along with 2 zigzags. The zigzags are necessary because the railway authorities did not make use of the rack and pinion arrangement for traction.
- Tunnel of Love, Ukraine
This is a picturesque location in a beautiful spot in Klevan, Ukraine. The railway line has to cross through a three-kilometer section through the woods to reach a fireboard factory. The train makes three trips on a daily basis. It has to pass through a green corridor making it one of the most beautiful pieces of eye-catching photography.
- The Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia
In fact, there is nothing to marvel about this railway other than the fact that this is the longest network of railway lines in the world. It connects Moscow to the Far East of Russia and the Sea of Japan. The railway passes through countries such as Mongolia, China, as well as North Korea. Earlier the railway used to connect Moscow with Vladivostok. It is still expanding today. The railway is more than 125 years old.
- The Landwasser Viaduct, Switzerland
Switzerland is a very small country. However, the density of mountains in Switzerland is very high. The Swiss engineers were a very talented lot. They used imaginative and innovative ideas to build a highly complex but efficient mountain rail system. The construction involved terrific planning to construct bridges and tunnels to cross the various mountains. The entire railway line is an engineering marvel. The main attraction is the Landwasser Viaduct. This is one of the most famous railway bridges in the world. This is a very popular tourist attraction in Switzerland.
- Georgetown Loop Railroad, USA:
The Georgetown Loop Railroad is a three-foot narrow gauge track. It was an engineering marvel at that point of time. The railroad is in existence since 1884. The loop railroad connects the two mining towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume. The towns are just two miles apart. However, the engineers designed a corkscrew route for about twice the distance to connect the two towns. The train gains an elevation of more than 600 feet in that small distance. This is truly a marvel. The route has horseshoe curves and very steep gradients in the range of 4%. The trains ran from 1899 to 1938 after which they abandoned the route. Subsequently the Colorado Historical Society restored the railway as a heritage route to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the construction.
- The Death Railway, Thailand:
The original name of this railway is the Burma Railway. This runs on a 415-kilometer railway line between Bangkok and Rangoon. During the construction of this railway, more than a hundred thousand men lost their lives. This formed the backdrop of the famous Hollywood movie, “The Bridge on the River Kwai.” The train passes through difficult cliffs and a number of dangerous wooden bridges.
- The Batasia Loop, Darjeeling, India:
This engineering marvel is part of the railway line between Kurseong and Darjeeling in India. This is a spiral loop railway created to reduce the gradient of ascent of the railway line. At one point, the track spirals around itself through a tunnel over a hill. It makes a thousand foot fall within a very short distance making it one of the steepest gradients in the world. The railway line passes through ‘Ghoom’ station. This is the highest located railway station in the world.
You have seen nine marvelous railway lines in the world. These are engineering marvels in their own right. With railways as interesting as this, a train journey cannot be boring at all.