Interesting steam train routes in Europe: Today we’re going to share a few historical European rail tours that prove that the echoes of the “Golden Age” of steam locomotive travel are still being heard today.
The seven most interesting steam train routes in Europe
- Britain’s most luxurious train
Rides on the Northern Belle, dubbed “Britain’s most luxurious train” or “The Grand Duchess of Luxury Trains”, were launched in 2000. The train has been restored by some of the UK’s finest craftsmen, including marquetry specialists, muralists, and mosaicists. The oldest of its seven lavishly decorated 1930s-style carriages, called The Duart, was once used by the Queen of Britain as a private carriage.
Northern Belle offers several routes, in total there are 5 head cars that pull the train. One of them is the 88-year-old Princess Elizabeth locomotive. The steam locomotive is known as “Lizzy” was named after the then young princess who later became Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.
The train usually carries up to 300 passengers, but during the pandemic, this number will drop by about 2 times when it hits the road again in April. Tickets for a trip to Edinburgh cost 356 euros. Passengers are served a glass of champagne after boarding the train in Derby, East England, before a three-course brunch followed by coffee.
On the way home, passengers are served champagne as they board the train again, followed by a five-course gourmet dinner made with the finest produce from the British Isles.
- Achensee railway, Austria
Europe’s oldest coal-fired steam locomotive. Since the end of the 19th century, it has been carrying passengers from Jenbach through alpine meadows and forests to the shores of the Achensee lake.
The steam locomotive will lift you 440 meters above sea level, covering 7 kilometers during this time. When you reach the top, you can take a steamboat and continue your “steam” journey across the lake.
- Fourka railway, Switzerland
The Furka steam line is the second highest railway in Switzerland after the Bernina railway. It runs between the beautiful villages of Rilp in Uri and Oberwald in Valais, crossing the magnificent mountain scenery of the Central Alps and offering views of the Rhone glacier. An intermediate stop at the Furka station takes travelers to the highest point of the route at 2160 meters.
- Cévennes steam locomotive, France
The 13 km drive between Anduze and Saint-Jean-du-Gard is a unique way to enjoy the countryside of Provence. The Cévennes steam locomotive carries passengers over the viaducts over the Gardon river, stopping to visit the botanical garden of La Bambuzeret, 2 km from Anduze.
- Steam tram, the Netherlands
Travel through the tulip-filled Amsterdam countryside on the steam ‘tram’ from the Horn Railway Museum to Medemblik. You can continue from Medemblik with a scenic boat ride across the IJsselmeer to Enkhuizen, then take a modern train back to Horn to complete the journey known as the “historic triangle”.
- Brocken Railway, Germany
The Brocken Railway passes through fabulous villages perched on the snow-capped peaks of the Harz mountain range in northern Germany. Named after the highest peak in central Germany, the Brocken first opened in the 1890s but was closed after being damaged during World War II. During the construction of the Berlin Wall, it was used as a military base, and supplies were transported by rail. The railway was reopened to passenger traffic in 1992 after German reunification.
- Brienz-Rothorn mountain railway
By rail, Brienz-Rothorn is driven almost entirely by steam locomotives. On the way from Brienz, it passes through breathtaking landscapes and runs 7.2 km to the peak of Mount Rothorn at an altitude of 2244 meters.
The Brienz Rothorn Bahn was first put into service in 1892, and from 1953 to 1990 it was the only rack railway that was entirely steam-powered in Switzerland.