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World's Best Train Tours

Luxury Train Travel: Ride the Rails

Whether it's the rumble of the tracks beneath your feet or the wind in your hair that gets you going, the excitement of trains — a travel staple for decades — appeal to all ages.

Recently, the Society of International Railway-Travelers awarded "Tops-in-the-World" status to 25 trains, from the U.S. to Siberia.

What does Europe's very dignified grande dame, the Venice Simplon Orient-Express, have in common with India's wheezing, narrow-gauge geezer, the 100-year-old steam "Toy Train"?

They're both members of the select group.

The Society is a fellowship of intelligent, experienced travelers who prefer the comfort, romance and fun of going by first-class trains worldwide. Some trains on the list are over-the-top luxury, such as Rovos Rail's Pride of Africa. Others are the most stylish and comfortable way to see remote regions, such the Trans-Siberian Express, which offers sweeping itineraries in Russia and beyond.

Looking to traverse the tracks yourself? Following, in geographical order, are the winning trains:

North America
1) Canadian (Canada)
2) GrandLuxe Express (US)
3) Canadian Rockies Steam Express (Canada)
4) Rocky Mountaineer (Canada)
5) Royal Canadian Pacific (Canada)
6) Sierra Madre Express (Mexico)

South America
7) Andean Explorer (Peru)
8) Hiram Bingham (Peru)

9) Blue Train (South Africa)
10) Pride of Africa (Rovos Rail) (South Africa)

11) Palace on Wheels (India)
12) Eastern & Oriental Express (SE Asia)
13) Shangri-La Express (China/Tibet)
14) Toy Train (India)
15) Viceroy of India (India)

16) Northern Belle (United Kingdom)
17) Royal Scotsman (Scotland)
18) Bernina Express (Switzerland)
19) Glacier Express (Switzerland)
20) El Transcantabrico (Spain)
21) Trans-Siberian Express (Russia, Ukraine)
22) Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (Europe)

23) Ghan (Australia)
24) Indian Pacific (Australia)
25) Sunlander (Australia)

To read ROAD & TRAVEL's detailed review on some of the above train rides, click here: Luxury Train Overview. (Source: Society of International Railway-Travelers)