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Train Travel

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Old World Glamour of Train Travel

Below: Seven Stars in Kyushu
Japan’s ultraluxe rail line traverses the dramatic mountainous island of Kyushu, stopping at the rustic town of Yufuin, a destination famous for its hot springs.
Photos: Courtesy of Kyushu Railway Co.

Every detail is considered in the Seven Stars’ passenger suites. The walls feature Kumiko latticework, made by local craftsmen in Okawa, Fukuoka, without the use of nails. The sinks, meanwhile, were created by the late Sakaida Kakiemon XIV, a celebrated potter.

In the dining car, extensive rich wood detailing, from the chevron parquet pearwood floors to the coffered, arched ceiling, competes with epic views of Japan’s countryside.

Below: Rovos Rail
South Africa’s Rovos Rail has one of the largest fleets of refurbished trains from the late 1960s and early ’70s, and operates painstakingly restored vintage coaches.
Photos: Courtesy of Rovos Rail

Given the spatial limitations of a train coach, transforming one into a luxurious sleeper is no easy feat, requiring all kinds of architectural strategizing.

Period details abound on the Rovos coaches, including the carved-teak pillars of the dining car, which emulate the design of a 1924 train restored by the South African firm.

Below: Al Andalus
The Al Andalus traverses southern Spain’s scenic Andalusian region, departing from Seville (or Grenada) and stopping at various gastronomic and cultural destinations.
Photo: Courtesy of Renfe

Several of the coaches used for the Al Andalus were originally built in the 1920s and welcomed British monarchs traveling from Calais, France, to the Riviera. The interiors have a mix of period details, like the metalwork and lighting, and Belle Epoque–inspired flourishes.

Below: Andean Explorer
Traveling through the highlands of Peru, the Andean Explorer overlooks dramatic terrain, from Cusco to Lake Titicaca. A bar car with panoramic windows and an open-air observation deck provides an ideal vantage point.
Photo: Courtesy of PeruRail

The wood paneling, bronze details, and elegant geometry of the ceiling of the dining car summon the Pullman trains of the 1920s, the inspiration behind the Andean Explorer’s design.

 

Below: Golden Eagle
The Golden Eagle’s Trans-Siberian Express tour travels through the Ural Mountains, across the steppe, and around Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake.

Photo: Courtesy of Golden Eagle Luxury Trains

The Golden Eagle’s bar car is fit for a czar, with traditional Russian furnishings, including crystal from the centuries-old Dyatkovo factory and ceramics from the Imperial Porcelain Factory in St. Petersburg.

Below: Belmond Royal Scotsman
The Belmond Royal Scotsman weaves its way around the picturesque Highlands and glassy lochs of Scotland.

Photo: Courtesy of Belmond

Polished marquetry walls give warmth and elegance to a Belmond Royal Scotsman sleeper car, while historic prints and carefully chosen textiles add a sense of traditional Scottish style

Below: Eastern and Oriental Express
Belmond’s Eastern and Oriental Express passes through a variety of Southeast Asian locales. The dining car windows of the train were extended to allow for more panoramic views of the scenery.

Photo: Courtesy of Belmond

The interior design scheme of Belmond’s Eastern and Oriental Express combines Southeast Asian touches with colonial embellishments. Chinese and Thai lacquer abounds, while the observation car is covered with teak paneling. The Presidential Suite, pictured here, features inlaid wood, antique brass fittings, and campaign-style furniture to accommodate the room’s small dimensions.

Below: Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
The original Orient Express took its first trip in 1883, departing Paris for Istanbul. Today’s iteration, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express continues to represent the height of luxury European travel but travels a different route, leaving London for Venice via France, Switzerland, and the Austrian Alps.

Photo: Courtesy of Belmond

The exquisitely restored Art Deco coaches of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express convey the spectacular craftsmanship of the era, with stunning exotic wood paneling and fine metalwork. French artist René Prou designed the six sleeper cars, each of which is inlaid with an Art Deco marquetry design.

The formal dining car of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express evokes the golden age of European travel, the 1920s and early ’30s, with elaborate table settings and top-shelf crystal and china. René Lalique designed the Tulip wall lights throughout the train as well as a series of Bacchanalian-themed wall panels.

 

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