Trains are the safest, most environmental, and often the fastest and most comfortable means of land transportation. Trains are generally cheaper than planes, but fares can still constitute a sizable portion of your budget. Planning ahead is helpful, sometimes essential, in making the best use of the railways.
There are simply no comparisons between the view from a train and the view from the highway, or the fast-food restaurant where buses stop versus the dining-car food on the railroad. There’s no better or easier way to see the scenery of the continent than by train.
Passes, Tickets and Reservations.
The most important thing to find out about the trains you intend to take, is whether you need to make reservations or buy tickets in advance, either to get seats on the schedule you want or to get a better price. All of the First World countries in which you are most likely to travel by train, have special passes or fares for foreign visitors. These are often cheaper than tickets purchased locally.
Worldwide Passenger Rail Links
The Web’s largest directory of passenger rail links. Not all passenger railroads have websites, but if they do, this site probably list them.
Transcontinental Train Routes:
The best-known of the rail passes is the Inter Rail. InterRail is the flexible European train ticket for all ages. Discover 30 countries by rail with the classic Global Pass. Or choose one of 27 One Country Passes. Take as many trains as you want with one InterRail Pass!
Rail Europe: provides Eurail pass, regional and country-specific rail passes, and tickets for all passenger trains in Western Europe. Rail Europe represents Eurail Pass and BritRail Pass participants as well as the Eurotunnel, although each of the three requires separate tickets or passes.
Central Asian Rail Routes
Trans-Siberian railway is the world’s longest and most famous train route that goes through Russia. It crosses the whole continent, starts in Moscow, passes through the European Russia, crosses Urals mountains (which separate Europe and Asia), continues into Siberia’s taiga and steppes, and finishes in Vladivostok — the Russian Far East coast on the Pacific Ocean – or up to Beijing.
For foreigners in India, the advantage of an Indrail Passes is not the price but the priority it gives you for otherwise unavailable space on sold-out trains.
Japan Rail Passes: Like point to point tickets on Japanese trains, Japan Rail Passes seem expensive but offer good value for money. Prices are fixed in yen, so prices in your home currency will fluctuate with the yen.
Japan Rail is an English language timetable and point to point fare information site.
Speeds of trains in the United States and Canada lag behind the Western European average, but usually exceed those of cars or buses, particularly on longer routes.
USA Rail Passes for 15 or 30 days of unlimited travel, either throughout the States or only within certain regions, are available also to foreign visitors.
Amtrak depending on the number of stopover and time of travelling in the United States; Amtrak can offer good prices.
The North American Rail Pass is more expensive than either the national USA Rail Pass or the Canrailpass. But it’s valid throughout both the United States and Canada. It’s probably the best deal if you want to include both countries, coast to coast. The pass is available from either Amtrak or VIA Rail.
National Association of railway Passengers NARP
Passenger service on most lines, including almost all international and trans-Andean routes, has been discontinued. Services on many of the remaining routes are infrequent or erratic, however, sometimes limited to certain seasons, one train a week, or only unscheduled special trains for tour groups.
There are rail services across Australia, but the train costs as much as flying, and its route – apart from The Ghan – skips most of the attractions of the interior. The transcontinental trains run only twice a week, on a route noted for its monotony. Most independent travellers take the train only between Adelaide and Perth, and take buses elsewhere.
Rail Australia offers several varieties, of rail passes, including the nationwide rail-only Austrail Pass, regional rail-only passes, and combination passes for bus and train travel.
Africa, not suggested to travel by train