9 useful rail maps featured in our new brochure
Our whole office smells like new brochures! They have been completely redesigned with one goal in mind - to inspire travellers, travel agents and ourselves to discover the world by train. One great feature that we decided to expose this year are maps - an amazing tool that not only gives you a quick glance at your future travel plans but also makes it easy to explain, understand, and book trains across the globe.
The 2018 brochure includes 9 easy to read maps that showcase different continents, national carrier networks, scenic trains and private lines. Let's map them all out!
European rail network
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The granddaddy of all rail maps - the massive European rail network that cannot possibly fit on a single page. So extensive that it sometimes scares even the biggest rail experts. With over 200,000 km of railway lines, you have loads of choices when you are creating your next itinerary. We definitely recommend you keep the map handy - even though you can get from most A's to B's easily, there are some blind spots that need some extra planning. To make it a bit easier, we've added a list of popular train routes with approximate travel times. Compare these to travelling by plane or car, and you will wonder why anyone would choose not to travel by train.
If the first map was complex and full of twists and turns, Eurostar makes things simple. With 3 major destinations and a handful of seasonal routes, it's easy to see why it's a popular choice for passengers travelling between London, Brussels and Paris. It's also one of the most popular routes of last year, as you can see on our top 5 list. No surprise - with 18 daily departures that take just a bit over 2 hours, you can have breakfast in Paris and be in London in time for morning tea.
With all the countries in Europe, it might seem hard to keep up with all the destinations that are included on your Eurail pass. You don't exactly need a map to know that there are very few places you can't travel to. But have a quick glance at page 14 to make sure which 28 countries are covered. If you are travelling in just one or a couple of countries, don't forget about the Single-Country Passes and the Select Passes that enable you two travel in two, three or four neighbouring countries.
Swiss Scenic Trains
Switzerland - a train lover's paradise! There are so many scenic journeys to discover, you will need a map. And you can find one on page 19! It features the most popular scenic journeys, such as Glacier Express, GoldenPass Line, Bernina Express and Gotthard Panorama Express. If you are still unsure, just do the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland and you get it all covered.
Don't forget that a Swiss Travel Pass will cover the classic scenic routes, the public transportation systems of 75 Swiss cities and 50% discount on most mountain-top trains & cable cars.
While not as extensive as the European counterpart, the North American rail network packs in some serious long-distance routes. Toronto to Vancouver and Chicago to LA are the longest train journeys in the world outside Russia and China. How epic will that journey be.
The simple, yet majestic network of the Rocky Mountaineer - this is very useful when you are trying to decide between all the different available options. Have a look at all the famous spots like Whistler, Jasper, Banff and Lake Louise to connect the dots the way you want them.
- Rainforest to Gold Rush will take you from Vancouver to Jasper via Whistler and Quesnel.
- Journey Through the Clouds travels from Vancouver to Jasper via Kamloops.
- First Passage to the West leads you from Vancouver to Lake Louise or Banff via Kamloops
- Or pick the Coastal Passage and combine it with one of the other journeys.
It took 12,000 workers, 5,000 horses and 300 dogsled teams to complete the Trans-Canada Railway. The journey from Vancouver to Toronto takes 4 nights, so you'll have plenty of time to study the map. If you'd rather take a shorter journey, pick your favourite with the help of the image above.
Amtrak serves more than 500 destinations in 46 states across the continent where over 85,000 passengers ride more than 300 Amtrak trains daily. To keep better track of how to go from point A to B, have a look at the massive US network - yes, it's more than just Washington to New York.
Our top picks include:
- Adirondack from New York City to Montreal
- Sunset Limited from New Orleans to LA
- Empire Builder from Chicago to Portland or Seattle
- Coast Starlight from Seattle to LA
- California Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco
Last but not the least - possibly one of the most advanced networks in the world, Japan Rail makes travelling around the country fast and comfortable. And if you grab a Japan Rail pass, it also gets affordable. Since there are several regional passes available, you might want to keep this map handy when you decide the best option for yourself. Generally, the best bet is the national Japan Rail Pass, which allows you to visit all the major destinations like Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima, however, the following regional passes might work better for you if your travel is limited to a single region:
- JR Hokkaido Pass for the island of Hokkaido
- JR East Pass (2 passes): one for Nagano, Niigata area, the other for Tohoku area (both include Tokyo)
- JR West - Kansai Wide Area: perfect for Kansai Area: Shiga, Tsuruga, the Nankai Area, the Okayama Area and Kinosaki-Onsen
- JR All Shikoku for the island of Shikoku
- JR Kyushu for the island of Kyushu
- JR Northern Kyushu for the northern part of the island of Kyushu
That's it! A "map" of all the maps featured in our new brochure which makes planning your next rail journey a breeze. Download your brochure here or grab one at your preferred travel agent.