In Vietnam recently I took some over night trains and each one of them was an experience I will never forget.
My favourite though was when I had reserved a bunk in a six berth second class cabin. I was my first train journey in Vietnam and didn't have any expectations.
When I arrived there was already 7 Vietnamese (luckily for me - all female) settled in! I came through the door weighed down with my bags. They all jumped up to help and made sounds that resembled an apology for sitting on my bunk. I just smiled and insisted (through gestures) that they return to the bunk and chill out. Only one spoke a little English.. a twelve year old girl. It made for some hilarious conversation with her trying to translate. I had a great meal courtesy of the Mum, or Grandmother or Greatgrandmother not sure. I slept like the baby who was in the top bunk with one of the other kids, and felt like family as I left them at the station in Danang. I have the address for the little girl, so I'm sending her postcards from where ever I travel to. A really sweet kid.
I have several favourite train journeys.
The first one would have to be a generic love for historic narrow-gauge steam trains in Germany. Particularly the "Molly" connecting Bad Doberan with Heiligendamm (where the G 8 was), the "HSB" up to the Brocken in the Harz mountains and the "Rasender Roland" on Ruegen.
The second would be the scenery along the west coast of Scotland, from Mallaig to Fort William and then to Glasgow. The trip across the Firth of Forth was also cool and I somehow count this as a seperate part of the above.
Third favourite are 2 - the luxury train from Luxor to Cairo, because it was so nice and comfortable and I slept like a baby and the trip from Tehran to Tabriz in an Iranian night train. The Iranian women I met on this trip were so cool!
Finally I have some fond memories of my trip to the Czech Republic - taking a piglet taxi from Nove Udoli to Czesky Krumlov through the Sumava national park and going from Prague to Dresden along the Elbe River.
Worst train rides ever were 1) travelling from one end in Germany to the other with Weekend-Ticket (SWE) on local trains only for 16 hrs (it might have been cheap but was absolutely exhausting and very boring) and 2) riding trains in Italy while taking a bike along. Never again!
just finishing out Ocean to Ocean experience travelling across Canada on the Trans Continental train as we speak.
Started in Montreal, went to Halifax (Atlantic Ocean) then back over to Winnipeg and have spent the last week and a bit sitting on the train both up and back to Churchill...
We snorkelled with Whales (Beluga's) and also saw 2 polar bears !!!
Fantastic and highly worth the 17 hour delay on the way up..... and the 26 hour delay on the return journey!
The good thing was we got a free nights accomadation in Churchill and free meals all the way back to Winnipeg!
head now to Jasper and then onto one of the "supposidly" most scenic train rides in the world.... between Jasper and Prince Rupert...2 days travel!
Would recommend the rail pass to anyone as it allowed us to get off the beaten track and get up to churchill !!! Fantastic place and very very friendly.... well.... we did however have a Polar bear stalking the streets on our last day early in the morning in the centre of town.... had to be "shoo-ed" away (use of Shot guns etc. as these things aren't exactly the next door neighbours cat
the train from Lima to Huancayo,only the last weekend of the month running.
12 hours,over 60 tunnels,about 50 bridges to cross,great scenery along the way.
got a lot of coca te against high sickness to drink.the stop on the highest point of the trip,a little bit under 5000 meter high.
tried to go on a train in Cuba,but was always told that the train is not leaving or full.I think the dont like to have tourists using the train,never spotted a train,have no idea how the look like.
Going up the Atlas mountains on the Red Lizard train in Tunisia was absolutely amazing.
Interestingly, my best and worst rail journeys happened right after each other.
I was on a train from Ulaan Baatar to Jining, China, heading eventually to Beijing. I got on the train in UB, and was sharing a cabin with a Mongolian woman and her older parents. The woman had lived in Italy for a while, and spoke a little bit of French, as I do, so we could speak with each other. They were very nice, shared their very excellent meal with me.
After I left them in Jining, I found out that the train I was not on the train I had thought I was on, instead I was on a train 4 hours later, leaving at 1 in the morning. I had no Chinese money, and couldn't find an ATM, so I ended up just sitting in the station, which was a completely depressing experience, as there were a number of drunk and/or mentally disturbed people (presumably homeless) hanging around in the station.
Once the train came, I was in a dorm bunk by the end of the train, close to both the bathroom and the coal samovar (water heater). I got no sleep, and got more and more depressed. Arriving in Beijing, we didn't even arrive at the train station I expected, and I found myself in a part of Beijing for which I had no map.
Also, I just recently took the Eurostar from London to Brussels, and was quite excited about going through the "chunnel," a chance to see this amazing technical achievement. The train ride was, however, disappointing. The train was very quick and comfortable, but the problem is, on the train, the chunnel is just a dark part of the journey, you can't really see anything. I don't know what I had expected, but I had expected something a lot more interesting then a dark tunnel.
the nice one would be Tehran - Mashhad one.
Jungle train ... from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bahru ...
amazing scenery.... plus u save a night's rent for hostel... plus not many tourists take that... so u feel like a rare specie, u get to meet locals ... a very nice malay family actually gave me lift to city bus station... which otherwise would have cost me 20MYR ...