Travelling by train is a good experience along with watching the beauty of nature and different sceneries when you go long distances. Many people believe that it is safe to travel on rail routes, of course there’s a certain degree of risk with any kind of transportation, but some railways look really harrowing and unpredictable.
Here are the world’s scariest and most exhilarating train journeys chosen by Look4ward.
1 – George Town Loop Railroad, Colorado, USA
During the 19th century, one corner of Colorado was used in the business of silver mines. At that time, a narrow gauge train running on steam was made to commute on the path. In this path, the scariest point is the Devil’s Gate High Bridge. The bridge is 100 foot high and in between mountains and train crosses it has to move at a very slow speed. If you’re afraid of heights this train ride may not be for you.
2 – Narizdel Diablo or Devil’s Nose Train, Ecuador
The “Devil’s Nose” train travels between Alausi, close to the Andean city of Riobamba, and Palmira, around 50 miles to the south. The train chugs along at a very leisurely pace, giving passengers plenty of time to enjoy the sight of Ecuador’s “Avenue of the Volcanoes”. Unfortunately, travellers are no longer allowed onto the roof of the train, where the best views are to be found. The “Devil’s Nose” itself just a small part of the route, consisting of a steep climb up a series of switchbacks, and a nerve-shredding descent.
3 – Death Railway, Thailand
More than 90,000 labourers and 16,000 Allied prisoners of wars died during the construction of a 258-mile railway between Bangkok and Myanmar, a horrific episode that forms the backdrop for David Lean’s The Bridge on the River Kwai. A ride on a surviving section of the route is now a popular activity for visitors to Kanchanaburi, to the northwest of the Thai capital. The train hugs the sides of sheer cliffs, and passes over a number of rickety wooden bridges.
4 – Chennai-Rameswaram Route, India
The Rameswaram route is 1.4 miles long bridge entirely built in between the huge Indian ocean in 19th century. The train crosses this bridge at a very slow speed due to the opposing force of strong winds. Thus it takes around twenty minutes to cross this bridge. Because of the strong prevailing winds, the slow speed run, 1.4 mile pass, from one side to the other takes over fifteen minutes. There have been many unfortunate accidents on this route and the last major one was in 1964 when a full train was swept away in a storm. Scary bridge!
5 – Aso Minami Route, Japan
Aso Minami Route, Japan’s most dangerous railroad owing to its proximity to Mount Aso – the nation’s biggest active volcano – passes through the region of Kumamoto, connecting Takamori to Tateno Station in Minamiaso.
The train tracks are next to the foothills of the volcano and visitors risk witnessing an eruption at any time. Hot lava is normally visible burning in the forest close to the tracks and visitors can watch steam rising from the volcano during fall.
6 – Tren a las Nubes, Argentina
Tren a las Nubes or the ‘Train to the Clouds’, a train service passing through the Andes mountain range over a distance of 217km, connects Salta in north-west Argentina to La Polvorilla on the Chilean border. The railway line, opened in 1948 after nearly 27 years of construction, was originally constructed for socio-economic purpose but is now a tourist train departing from Salta on the 15-hour, 434km round-trip journey.
The zigzag railway route passes through 29 bridges, 21 tunnels and 13 viaducts including the Polvorilla viaduct. The viaduct is 224m-long and 13,845ft (4,220m) above sea level making it one of the world’s highest railways.
7 – Kuranda Scenic Railroad, Australia
The Kuranda Scenic Railway which was built in 18th century between Cairns to Kurandis is a spectacular journey that will give you the most breathtaking views of World Heritage Listed rain forest. It passes from really steep ravines and picturesque waterfalls that may scare you sometimes. But the thrill travelling from this dangerous route is sure to be memorable.
8 – Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, New Mexico, USA
Built in 1880, Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad is a 64mi heritage railroad operating between Chama in New Mexico and Antonito in Colorado. The narrow gauge track was originally constructed as part of Rio Grande Railroad’s San Juan Extension. The railroad has been carrying tourists through the scenic southern Rocky Mountains since 1971.
The route derives its name from the 800ft-high Toltec Gorge and the 10,015ft-high Cumbres Pass through which it passes. Cumbres Pass is the highest rail pass in the US. The steam-powered locomotive also negotiates through narrow ledges, a number of loops, trestles and tunnels to reach its destination.
9 – Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe Train, South Africa
Completed in 1928, the spectacular Outeniqua Choo Tjoe connects the towns of George and Knysna in South Africa’s Western Cape. The 42-mile route takes around two hours, hugging the country’s Garden Route coastline before crossing the lagoon at Knysna. Unfortunately the train ceased operations last year, although South African ministers have spoken of their desire to get the service up and running again.
10 – White Pass and Yukon Route, Alaska, USA
The 110mi-long White Pass and Yukon Route, originally built during the Klondike Gold Rush to connect Skagway in Alaska and Whitehorse in Yukon Territory, Canada, was opened in 1900, but closed in 1982 following the collapse of the mining industry. It was, however, reopened in 1988 as a heritage railway for tourists to enjoy the steep gradients, cliff-hanging turns and scenic backdrop of mountains, glaciers and waterfalls.
The route climbs as high as 3,000ft in 20mi and includes two tunnels as well as the 110ft-long cantilevered Captain William Moore Bridge built in 1901.