I, Writer
Tim Richards
Freelance Writer

Follow Me:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

LinkedIn

Home | Australia | Pacific | Europe | Asia | Americas | Africa & Middle East

Rail Travel



Coastal Pacific: One of the World's Great Train Journeys
Traveller
, 11 November 2019

"Considering all the excellent sauvignon blanc that's made its way to me across the Tasman Sea, it seems fitting I should pay it a visit in return. Blenheim is the hub of New Zealand's Marlborough wine region, so there must be sauvignon blanc tastings galore here. I'll never find out, however, as I'm just passing through aboard the Coastal Pacific. This train is one of New Zealand's great rail journeys, passing as it does down the east coast of the South Island..."

Taking the Coastal Pacific train on its route between ocean and mountains in New Zealand.

[Read the full article here]

Travelling the Glacier Express in Excellence Class
Traveller
, 13 September 2019

"Someone might be having a less-than-excellent day somewhere in Switzerland, but it isn't me. Sipping a glass of Laurent Perrier as I roll out of St Moritz aboard the Glacier Express, I am officially enjoying a day of excellence. For I'm not slumming it in first class or even (shudder) second class – I'm in the brand-new Excellence Class carriage aboard the famous train which takes eight hours to cover 291 kilometres between St Moritz and Zermatt..."

Enjoying a new luxury experience aboard the Glacier Express train in Switzerland.

[Read the full article here]

Travelling Europe by Train is Easier than Flying
Executive Style
, 10 September 2019

"It's chilly in Zürich's main train station at 7am, but it has all the atmosphere I desire at the beginning of a European train trip. The main concourse sits beneath a grand hall of arched windows, and there's an air of purpose as the people around me head to their trains. After an assignment in Switzerland I need to get to London, and it occurred to me that rail travel might be a viable alternative to flying..."

Travelling business class aboard trains from Zürich, Switzerland, via Paris, France to London, UK.

[Read the full article here]

My Window Seat Through Canada’s Amazing Wilderness
Escape
, 15 August 2019

"Given that we’re starting in the Canadian Rockies, it doesn’t take long for remarkable scenery to appear. A couple of hours in we pass Mount Robson, the highest peak in the range. An announcement tells us there’s only twelve days in the year when you can see the whole mountain – and we can see it today. It seems a good omen. We’re soon running between two great mountain ranges – the Rockies to our right, the Cariboos to our left..."

Catching a train along a scenic route from Jasper to Prince Rupert, Canada.

[Read the full article here]

London to Glasgow on the Caledonian Sleeper Train
Traveller
, 25 July 2019

"The Club Car, as it's known on the updated train, is a combined bar and dining car. I slip into one end of a table for four, happy to share. Because the train has departed late the staff are rushed off their feet with orders, but when handed a menu I'm impressed with the range and quality on offer. The Caledonian Sleeper makes a point of filling its menu with ingredients from the north, so it's easy to feel a Scottish vibe even as we're navigating the London suburbs..."

Riding the rails from London to Scotland, UK, aboard a newly updated sleeper train.

[Read the full article here]

Spirit of Queensland Rail Journey: Like Business Class on a Plane
Traveller
, 4 April 2019

"'WARNING: plastic snakes on station to deter birds.' This yellow-and-black sign at Townsville's railway station is undeniably eye-catching. It strikes me that plastic snakes might also deter humans. I look all around, but I can't find see any fake reptiles. No matter. What's more important is the train waiting for me at the platform. The Spirit of Queensland takes 25 hours to cover the 1681 kilometres from Cairns to Brisbane..."

Riding aboard a modern sleeper train along the coast of Queensland, Australia.

[Read the full article here]

Here's How to See Australia by Train
lonelyplanet.com, 23 March 2019

"Australia is such a huge country that it seems logical to cross it by plane. But there is another option, one that becomes a memorable holiday in itself: the train. Piecing together connecting routes, it’s possible to take a great rail journey across the continent from savannah to forests to tropics, immersed in ever-changing scenery. Here’s how to do it..."

Describing how to travel around Australia by rail
, from Queensland through NSW, Victoria and South Australia to either Darwin or Perth.

[Read the full article here]

A Magic Bullet to Busan
Traveller
, 7 March 2019

"As I enter Seoul Station, I have half an eye out for zombies. A week before flying to the South Korean capital I watched Train to Busan, the excellent 2016 movie about a train journey overtaken by a plague of the undead. It managed to both evoke horror, and depict Korail's high-speed rail network in a good light. In the midst of the action the rail company's staff were unfailingly cool under pressure (except when turned into zombies themselves, of course)..."

Catching high-speed trains from Seoul to Busan, South Korea.

[Read the full article here]

See Remote Queensland's Flora and Fauna Aboard the Gulflander Train
Traveller
, 5 February 2019

"It's not easy to catch a train from Normanton, a remote town in the Gulf Savannah region of northwest Queensland. For one thing, the Gulflander train only operates once a week. And if you try to catch it at the tail end of the wet season, as I am, you run the risk of being washed out. But we've been given the go-ahead by the track crew, and the landscape looks beautiful as we enter the savannah, dotted with slender dark-trunked trees..."

Riding the memorable "train from nowhere to nowhere", in Outback Queensland, Australia.

[Read the full article here]

How to Do a Car-free Day Trip from Melbourne
lonelyplanet.com, 10 January 2019

"Melbourne may love its trams, but its excellent public transport system also allows travellers to take excursions into neighbouring regions of Victoria on a budget. Natural forests, towns and the seaside are all within easy reach of the city, and taking the train means you can slow down, enjoy the scenery (or even a craft beer) without the stress of driving or being stuck on a tour timetable..."

Detailing a collection of day trips by public transport from Melbourne, Australia
.

[Read the full article here]

Full Steam Ahead
Paradise, January-February 2019

"To a train fan there’s nothing more exciting than the hiss of a steam locomotive, and the peal of its whistle. Even more so when it’s about to bear you through a picturesque area of Japan. I’m about to board the SL Taiju, a loco which worked on the northern island of Hokkaido from 1941 to 1974. Recently granted a second life in the Nikko region north of Tokyo, it runs 35-minute trips between the hot springs town of Kinugawa Onsen and Shimo-Imaichi..."

Exploring the Nikko region of Japan for the inflight magazine of Air Niugini.

[Read the full article here]

Lonely Planet: Amazing Train Journeys
(section on Eastern & Oriental Express)

October 2018

"Tracing a route between the busy cities of Bangkok and Singapore, the Eastern & Oriental Express is an appealing way to sample the sights of South-east Asia. Passengers experience a little of everything on the two to three-night journey: luxurious comfort within finely-crafted décor; quality dining with a choice of Asian and European dishes; beautiful scenery as the tropical landscape slips past the train windows; and cultural knowledge..."

Describing a luxurious way to travel by rail between Thailand and Singapore, via Malaysia.

[Find the book here]

A Rail of a Time
Discover,
Spring/Summer 2018

"Then it’s time to hop aboard the most impressive train of all: the Indian Pacific. A two-night journey west to Perth includes top-quality dining, stark desert scenery, and dinner in a remote ghost town. It’s a fitting finale to an almost 8000 kilometre rail odyssey..."

Detailing how to catch trains round Australia from Far North Queensland through NSW, Victoria and South Australia, all the way to Western Australia.

[Read the full article here]


Poetry in Motion: The London Underground
Traveller
, 28 July 2018

"As it's been built in fits and spurts since the 19th century, the Tube possesses none of the bland uniformity of more recently built systems. The most atmospheric stations are those that opened along the first line in 1863, from Paddington to Farringdon. Standing on one of the oldest platforms at Baker Street Station, with its curving brick roof, it's easy to fantasise stepping aboard one of its long-vanished steam trains alongside Sherlock Holmes..."

Describing the appeal of the London Underground in the UK, as one of a series of transport delights (scroll down for my segment).

[Read the full article here]

The Grand Island Tour, Rottnest Island
Traveller
, 11 July 2018

"Wildlife aside, Rottnest Island has had a fascinating history. Most visitors focus on the physical pleasures of its beaches and restaurants, but there's plenty of scope for exploring its chequered past. The Grand Island Tour, which I'm on today, is a good way to start. The first section is aboard an open-sided train which follows the route of the original army railway of the 1930s. From a stop in The Settlement, it tracks slowly upward to Oliver Hill..."

Joining a tour of Rottnest Island, off the coast of Perth, Australia.

[Read the full article here]

Cape Town to Pretoria by Train – Diamond Empires to Shanty Towns
Traveller
, 18 June 2018

"A young man in a suit stands at the entrance, proffering a tray of champagne glasses. Beyond him, the 52 passengers on this two-night trip are settling in among the deep sofas, high ceilings and chandeliers, drinking bubbly and enjoying salmon or cucumber sandwiches. The day before, I'd been at this same station on a solo excursion to the city's south via the suburban train network, keeping an eye on my valuables and avoiding slashed train seats. Today's ride is clearly in a different class altogether..."

Taking the luxurious Pride of Africa train from Cape Town to Pretoria, South Africa.

[Read the full article here]

Poland to Ukraine by Sleeper Train
Traveller
, 7 June 2018

"According to old movies, there were two types of European long-distance train. One was the sexy, luxurious sleeper such as the Orient Express, carrying exiled duchesses to elegant cities like Paris. The other was a shabby train packed with foreign agents and shady smugglers, hoping to slip unnoticed past the Iron Curtain. You might think that age of exoticism and intrigue on the rails is gone; replaced by shiny high-speed trains with bland open carriages, zipping across unmonitored borders. But you'd be wrong..."

Riding overnight on a train between Poland and Lviv, Ukraine; then on to Kiev.

[Read the full article here]

Alaska to Canada by Rail
Traveller
, 29 May 2018

"It's an extraordinary engineering achievement. From sea level the railway climbs almost 900 metres over a 30-kilometre route, twisting and turning as it negotiates slopes, bridges and tunnels. The WP&YR closed in 1982, defeated by a new road and a mining slump, but reopened six years later for tourism. Nowadays it draws its riders from the cruise ship passengers who swarm the docks where Soapy met his end; along with hikers walking the popular Chilkoot Trail..."

Catching a narrow-gauge train through the mountains from Alaska, USA to Yukon, Canada.

[Read the full article here]

Life on the Rails in Porthmadog, Wales
Traveller
, 14 January 2018

"In every British summer, so I've been told, there's one perfect sunny day. And it seems I've jagged it today, as my narrow-gauge Welsh Highland Railway train trundles through the countryside to Caernarfon. After we depart Porthmadog, a former slate-mining port on a pretty estuary, its urban backyards are replaced by craggy hills behind meadows with sheep and cattle. With a blue sky above, and the mirror-calm water of lakes along the route, each view seems a postcard cliche..."

Catching trains along three narrow-gauge railways from this town in Wales, UK.

[Read the full article here]

Q Train Brings Glamour Back to Rail Travel
Traveller
, 6 January 2018

"A tourist train offers a trip into nostalgia, but it's usually a journey to the Golden Age of Rail rather than the pop hits of my childhood. But the Club Loco bar was once the disco car of the Sunlander, the Brisbane-Cairns sleeper train that was retired in 2014. Now, painted sky blue, former Sunlander carriages comprise a new dinner train that runs to the coastal town of Queenscliff and back..."

Enjoying the delights of this restaurant train from Drysdale to Queenscliff, Australia.

[Read the full article here]

52 Weekends Away: Indian Pacific
Good Weekend
, 28 October 2017

"One of the world's great rail journeys, the Indian Pacific crosses the continent over 4352 kilometres of track – including the longest dead-straight section in the world, 478 kilometres across the flat and empty Nullarbor Plain. It's a spectacular route through mountains, cities and vineyard country, past outback ghost towns, and across stark deserts..."

Detailing the experience aboard this long-distance train from Sydney via Adelaide to Perth, Australia, as part of a collection of recommended accommodation.

[Read the full article here]

How to Build a DIY Rail and Cruise Tour of Canada and Alaska
lonelyplanet.com, 14 September 2017

"A luxury rail journey combined with a coastal cruise is the hottest way to see western Canada and southeast Alaska. Each summer, thousands take a gourmet train journey through the Rocky Mountains, then admire the Inside Passage by sea. If you’re an independent traveler, however, it’s possible to bypass the expense and crowds by piecing together your own rail tour and cruise..."

Piecing together a train and ferry journey to western Canada and the coast of Alaska, USA
.

[Read the full article here]

Spirit of the Outback: into the Wild, Wild West
Traveller
, 8 September 2017

"The adjoining Tuckerbox restaurant car is similarly colour-coded, but more eccentrically decorated. The dividers between table booths are each topped by metal frames containing livestock brands of famous cattle and sheep stations, such as Bowen Downs, Wellshot and Isis Downs. Above the tables there's a curve of corrugated iron, a reminder of rural Australia's favourite building material. The effect is that of a quirky Outback-themed eatery. Tacky or fun? I'm going with the latter..."

Talking the sleeper train from Brisbane to Longreach in Queensland, Australia.

[Read the full article here]

Coast to Coast: Across Australia by Rail
lonelyplanet.com, 12 June 2017

"For almost half a century, Australia's Indian Pacific train has traced a three-day journey by rail between Sydney and Perth. Its 4,352km route between the Pacific and Indian Oceans takes in mountains, native bushland, desert, wheat fields and urban sprawl. Those taking this trip gain a close-up experience of Australia’s immense size and diversity, as its dramatic landscape slides past..."

Travelling by rail across Australia through New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia
.

[Read the full article here]

Melbourne to Sydney to Adelaide by Rail
Traveller
, 5 February 2017

"Catching a train from platform one of Melbourne's Southern Cross Station is like boarding a flight from gate one of an international airport – rarely done, and all the more special for that. With its undulating wave-like roof, Melbourne's main station is an exciting place from which to depart on a long-distance rail adventure. This is a full-on rail trek, which will take me to three state capitals through a range of terrains, and home again – without boarding a single plane..."

Travelling through three states of
Australia via three different long-distance trains.
 

[Read the full article here]

Ocean Rail: Riding the Pacific Surfliner
Traveller, 12 November 2016

"The year 1915 was a big one for San Diego. To celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal, California's southernmost city threw a two-year-long party: the Panama-California Exposition. To welcome visitors to this event, a new train station, the Santa Fe Depot, was built in the pseudo-Spanish Mission Revival style. I'm at that station to catch Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner train, which runs north through Los Angeles and Santa Barbara before terminating at San Luis Obispo..."

Heading north along the Pacific coast by rail, through Southern California, USA
.
 

[Read the full article here]

10 Things in Australia You Can Only Experience by Train
Traveller
, 29 August 2016

"It's a big country, and there's no better way of experiencing its vastness than by train. Australia is blessed with two transcontinental rail journeys: the Indian Pacific which runs east-west to link Sydney with Perth; and The Ghan which runs north-south between Adelaide and Darwin. Along these two routes, and others, there's an array of unique experiences..."

Discussing unique aspects of long-distance train travel in Australia
.

[Read the full article here]

Sleepers to Seattle
Traveller
, 21 May 2016

"'The last of the great train stations.' When it opened in May 1939, no-one could foresee that Los Angeles' Union Station would soon receive this accolade. Train travel had helped knit the vast territory of the United States together, after all, and every major city wanted a rail terminal that proclaimed its significance and prosperity. Even now that aircraft have taken most of the market for long-distance travel, LA's main station remains a magnificent piece of architecture..."

Taking a sleeper train from Los Angeles to Seattle, USA, via San Francisco and Portland
.

[Read the full article here]

West Coast USA by Rail
Get Up & Go, Summer 2016

"In my view, a good breakfast is the foundation of a long-distance rail journey. So it’s lucky that Philippe the Original is a short walk from Los Angeles’ Union Station, on the edge of Chinatown. You couldn’t ask for a more genuine slice of Americana before heading on a train journey up the USA’s west coast. I eat a sprawling omelette studded with spinach and onion, on a bed of hash browns; then I walk to the most beautiful railway station I’ve ever seen..."

Taking the train all the way north from Los Angeles to Seattle, USA.

[Read the full article here]

How to Travel Around Poland by Train
lonelyplanet.com
, 23 October 2015

"Forget the car – with a rail network that radiates to all parts of Poland from its biggest cities, a much better way to experience the country is by train. Whether departing from shiny new stations or crumbling old ones, along busy main lines or sleepy branch lines, aboard brand new trains or communist-era carriages, Polish train travel is never dull..."

Explaining the ins and outs of train travel in Poland
.

[Read the full article here]

Express Yourself
The Sun-Herald
, 26 July 2015

"It didn't take long for Sinatra to show up. I may be sitting in the beautifully appointed piano bar aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express, a luxury train rattling along the rails of Thailand, but New York, New York is being crooned by the Singaporean pianist. Seated near him is a cluster of passengers, still in suits and finery from dinner, singing self-consciously under our breath while clutching drinks. I'll have to give that song a more determined effort later. For the moment, however, there is plenty to explore..."

Riding the rails from Thailand via Malaysia to Singapore, aboard a luxury train.

[Read the full article here]

Converts' Guide: Long-Distance Train Travel
The Sun-Herald
, 15 March 2015

"There are many types of long-distance trains, from regularly scheduled services to those that resemble luxury cruise liners. What they have in common is ever-changing scenery. A train is a unique mode of transport, akin to a small town on wheels; always in contact with the world outside, but also slightly separate. It's difficult to get bored as the entire planet passes by your window: people, farms, forests, dramatic landscapes, and the normally hidden backyards of vibrant cities..."

Promoting the benefits of long-distance rail travel, in one of a set of travel essays; including the Indian Pacific train across Australia.

[Read the full article here]

To Berlin by Rail
Get Up & Go, Summer 2015

"Most travellers arrive in London looking for history, but it’s also there on your way out. I’m sipping great coffee within the cavernous interior of Caravan, a sleek modern cafe on Granary Square at Kings Cross. The huge brick building it’s located in was once a storehouse for grain brought in by rail and barge. With that transport history, it seems the right place from which to set off on a grand rail journey to the Continent..."

Detailing a rail journey from London, UK to Berlin, Germany with stops at Brussels, Belgium and Cologne.

[Read the full article here]

Secrets of the London Underground
Traveller
, 30 December 2014

"Inevitably, every visitor to London forms a relationship with the Tube. In other cities, underground railways are practical, no-nonsense ways to get around town quickly. But the London Underground has always seemed more than that. Its distinctive logo, its iconic route map, its many stations with curious names, and the strange unearthliness of its deep-level platforms, give it a personality all its own..."

Uncovering five Tube secrets in London, UK, including fake facades, a missing crypt and a heart-wrenching memorial.

[Read the full article here]

Cirque du Wheels
The Sun-Herald
, 17 February 2013

"On my left are lofty mountains, covered with greenery and occasionally interrupted by villages. On the right is the vast blue-grey St Lawrence Seaway, its distant opposite shore barely visible through the morning mist. Directly opposite me, across a table, is Pierre, an avionics engineer from Montreal. Pierre and I get on like a maison en feu (that'd be a house on fire), politely offering each other dibs on the last muffin while chatting about the difficulty of taking photos through the carriage windows..."

Taking a luxury train journey into the Charlevoix region of Quebec, Canada.

[Read the full article here]

Wild Ride
Medical Observer, 23 November 2012

"The cog system stays engaged as we ease down the slope to our next stop, the strangely spelled Dubbil Barril. Rather bizarrely, this was once the site of an isolated dairy farm, which sent out its milk in cans via the railway. There are lots of theories about the odd place name, but the one that most appeals to me is that of the semi-literate local who ordered a double-barrelled shotgun from Melbourne but misspelled the order..."

Exploring the west of Tasmania, Australia, aboard the West Coast Wilderness Railway.

A Theatrical Journey into Canada’s Charlevoix
BBC Travel
, 19 November 2012

"The Charlevoix Railway carried passengers until 1959. Fifty years later, Gauthier wanted to give something back to the region that had kick-started his success, and upgraded the line to make it viable for a luxury train, hoping to encourage travellers to visit the Charlevoix from Québec City. Two versions of the Le Massif train leave each morning from a suitably dramatic locale, the spectacular Montmorency Falls..."

Catching the Le Massif gourmet train into the Charlevoix region of Quebec, Canada.

[Read the full article here]

Sydney by Tram
Medical Observer, 4 November 2011

"'He shot through like a Bondi tram!' It’s fading now, but this colourful expression was part of the Australian idiom for many decades, meaning to depart at high speed. Whether Sydney trams were ever that fast is another question; but since the city’s tramways were closed in the 1960s, there’s been little chance to find out. There is, however, one exception..."

Exploring inner-city Sydney, Australia by light rail, from Paddy's Markets to Jubilee Park.

A Moving Experience
Medical Observer, 23 September 2011

"As we approach the Rocky Mountains the landscape grows ever more impressive, high and craggy with snow-capped peaks, until we stop for 90 minutes at Jasper. The mountain town is an attractive blend of both natural and human-made attractions, as all the notable civic buildings around the station have been built in a harmonious style involving stone, timber frames and steep pitched roofs..."

Taking an epic train journey between Vancouver and Toronto, Canada.
More travel writing: 
Australia | Pacific |
Europe | Asia | Americas | Africa & Middle East
Travel: By Rail

I'm a member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers. This page contains examples of my writing about rail travel, in reverse chronological order, with a link to the original published
article where available.

If you'd like to republish one of these pieces, or would like a new piece written about the same topic, please get in touch via the contacts below:

.
Archive
All articles in this archive are available for republication (fee to be negotiated). Articles can be rewritten to meet your style or length requirements. Please contact me by email with your query.

articles by subject:
Travel

Arts

Life

Science & Technology

Pets

 

.
Contact

postal:
Tim Richards
507/225 Elizabeth St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Australia

email:
tim@iwriter.com.au

phone:
0411 242327
(international +61-411-242327)

.
Follow me
.
Buy my books


Take action
Blog
Read my weekly travel blog Aerohaveno
Books
Browse my books (including ebooks)
Travel
Check out my published travel articles by location
Arts
Look over my arts-related articles
Services
Discover my skills, services, courses and talks


General: Services | Archive: Travel.Arts.Life.Sci/Tech.Pets
Travel: Articles | Books | Blog
Follow Me: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn
.
All content © Tim Richards 2004-2019