The Resurgence of Luxury Train Travel in the Modern Era

‘It’s about the journey, not the destination’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson

By Salonie Ganju 

There’s something to be said about the slow, rhythmic motion of a train journey. In a world where we’re all on the go and are striving for efficiency and speed, the steady movement of train travel urges you to slow down, pause for a second, and take in your surroundings.

Lush sceneries that mimic a painting, landscapes that are endless and expand beyond what the eye can see, the various shades of blue and green that are as pleasing to the eyes as they are to the mind, there’s a reason luxury train travel has made a comeback.

The timeless allure that comes with train travel takes me back to a time that was much simpler, a world before technology, before things were so fast-paced and fleeting, when places and people were less busy, when life was less complicated. It’s this old-world nostalgia that I associate train travel with and what makes it a more sought-after experience over any other mode of transportation.  There’s a certain sense of grandeur that train travel brings that can’t be compared to flying, even if it’s a private jet.

Simplistic, however, is not the adjective I would use today to describe train travel. Opulence, luxury, experiential, old-world charm, are all words that are more fitting with its current description.

Why now?

Because when a trip to the Maldives has become passe, how else do you top your last year’s Mediterranean cruise party or your friend’s destination wedding at Lake Como?

In a society where choosing your holiday destination has become more of a status symbol than a choice based on leisure, train travel offers that unique advantage of being an “off the beaten path” choice, a sort of novelty. Celebrating birthdays or anniversaries on a luxury train trip gives it that added edge of pizzazz that people are looking for.

Aside from the breathtaking visuals that are the background view of your journey, luxury train services are known to spoil its guests with an experience that’s nothing short of a royal treatment.  Think evening champagne showers, personal chefs, personalized fluffy bathrobes, grand suites that are as high-end as any 5-star hotel suite, art decor interior design with rich velvet upholstery, and intricately embroidered carpets, transporting you back to a time of elegance and charm.

Some of the most popular luxury train services include:

  • Golden Pass Express, Switzerland:
    • Departure & destination: from Montreux to Interlaken
    • Duration: 3 hours
    • Why you should consider it: this is perfect for someone who is new to luxury train travel, the brief but breathtaking journey is sure to make it to your top 3 most scenic luxury experiences of your life
    • Price: A one-way Prestige class ticket costs ~CHF130


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  • La DolceVita Orient Express, Italy:
    • Departure & destination: multiple routes within Italy
    • Why you should consider it: In addition to the expansive services & experiences offered on-board, passengers also have the option to partake in off-board experiences such as, tour vineyards and take in the rich culture that Italy has to offer.
    • Cost: Prices start at €2,500 (£2,140) per person per night in a Deluxe Cabin

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  • The Maharajas’ Express, India:
    • Departure & destination: It runs on four different routes, crossing the most beautiful spots that hold the rich cultural heritage of India within them. The routes are mainly centered around the state of Rajasthan, and the four different routes are as follows
    • Why you should consider it: It gives you a real taste of Indian service, along with a lavish cultural experience. From multi course cuisines to private butler service, they are known to leave no stone unturned
    • The fare for a journey on this majestic train starts from $4890 to $24980.

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Ultimately, it’s the promise of an unforgettable memory that makes people drop the kind of serious cash that they do when travelling. The key word here being memory or memorable – people will spend whatever it takes to create that special memory for themselves or their loved ones.

In a social media driven world where we’re constantly looking to one-up our peers and transcend the ordinariness of life, luxury train travel is the breath of fresh air that the new-age, luxury obsessed traveler has been looking for. Even if it’s only to enhance their Instagram feed or to casually throw in as part of their next dinner table conversation when the topic of summer holidays comes up.

Disclaimer: prices, features and details included for the specific train services are subject to change, these have been taken from official websites and may vary with time.

By Salonie Ganju (Writer, storyteller & content strategist)

Salonie is a skilled content, communications and media specialist with over a decade’s worth of experience in strategic storytelling, brand building and purpose-driven content creation.