There are over a million kilometers of rail tracks around the world. Some are long, some are short. some are brand new, while others have been around for decades. Some support slow moving and heavy trains while others only briefly feel the weight of the fast-moving cars. They all have one thing in common though; they all play a key role in the transportation of goods and people around the world. With this said, there are many historical and famous routes, and some are quite interesting and they deserve a mention.
The Northeast Corridor is the busiest passenger train route in the United States. It runs from The Boston South Station all the way to Washington Union Station. It is owned and operated mostly by Amtrack. It is home to America’s only current highspeed train system known as the Acela Express. Operated by Amtrack, the Acela Express reaches a maximum of 150mph/240 kph on some sections. The route passes through many busy cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City.
In New Mexico you can find the Santa Fe Rail Trail. This route begins at the Santa Fe Depot and ends near Lamy at U.S. Route 285. These 15 miles of track may seem inconspicuous, but they have been used in several movies. The tv show Breaking Bad used this as a location for the famous train robbery scene. Filming took several days, and the train that was being used actually broke on the very first day. This train route is a multi-use trail with a lovely desert backdrop.
The Trans-Siberian Route is known as the longest train line in the world. It spans over 9000 kilometers and passes through beautiful scenery, such as the Ural Mountains and Lake Baikal. The locomotive and rolling stock use overhead electrified lines for power. The line itself begins in Moscow and terminates in Vladivostok. The entire journey takes about 6 nights to complete.
One of the most luxurious train routes in the world is Blue Train in South Africa. It runs from Cape Town, the legislative capital of South Africa to Pretoria, the executive capital. It began operation in 1923 and spans a total length of 1600 kilometers, which is almost 1000 miles. Trains are painted in an illustrious blue color, the interior has many amenities and sleeping quarters, and the scenery that the train passes through is unmatched.
Shanghai Maglev is currently the fastest train route in the entire world. This is no ordinary train route. It is a magnetic levitation train. It can reach speeds of 431kph/268mph. It was the first commercial maglev and also the fastest commercial electric train in operation. There are only two stations, as this train runs from Longyang Road to the Pudong International Airport. A journey that would normally take almost an hour by road now only takes about 8 minutes.
The Chernihiv Ovruch railway is very interesting. It is a partially operational route that runs between Chernihiv, Ukraine and Ovruch, Ukraine. What makes this line unordinary is the fact that is passes through the Chernobyl Exclusion zone, home of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster that happened in 1986. The train does not stop at the stations that are in the exclusion zone, as they have not been operational since the disaster. Travelers can get a glimpse of the areas including Pripyat, the power plant itself, and some surrounding forests and landscapes that are have been essentially frozen in time for the past 30 years.