I would be the first to tell you I have not traversed our great earth by rail. But I have circled the globe using a combination of rail and air. My journey is highlighted in italics, as follows:
Now train enthusiasts can ride the rails around the world on one 57-day trip. Conveniently planned by Railbookers, an independent rail vacation operator, this Around the World by Rail journey takes travelers across four continents, making stops in more than 20 cities and five national parks (four in the United States and one in Mongolia!) along the way.
Beginning in Chicago, you’ll board Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited to New York for your first of 11 overnight train rides. After a few days exploring the city, you’ll fly to London and take the Eurostar from St. Pancras Station to Paris. From there, you’ll crisscross the continent by train to Geneva, Rome, Venice, Vienna, Prague, Hamburg, and up to Scandinavia for stops in Copenhagen and Stockholm.
Visits in St. Petersburg and Moscow are followed by a long train journey across Mongolia (with a stop to explore Terelj National Park) before heading into China to see Beijing, Xi’an, and Hong Kong. Another flight is required to reach Australia, but after two nights in Perth you’ll board the Indian Pacific train—the Southern Hemisphere’s longest train ride—for a three-night journey all the way across the country to Sydney.
From there, you’ll fly back to the United States for a national park tour of the southwest by train, including stops at Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Capitol Reef National Park with rides on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief and the Grand Canyon Railway. To end the trip, you’ll take Amtrak’s California Zephyr back to Chicago.
With departures available every Thursday through 2020, this epic two-month long journey does come with a bit of sticker shock, of course. Starting at $19,079 per person, the package includes 43 nights of hotel accommodations, 11 overnight train stays, and one night on a ferry between Stockholm and Helsinki. Sightseeing activities and 52 meals along the way are also included in the price, but flights between continents must be booked independently.
I started in San Francisco, and flew to Tokyo for a few days. I visited with our dear friend, before flying over to Seoul, then on to Vladivostok. This Pacific Ocean port is the eastern end of the TSR. I did the trip “backwards”, as most people start in Moscow, and end in Vladivostok.
From there, after interesting stops at Lake Baikal and Ekaterinburg, I ended up in Moscow for a few days. From there, I took the train up to St. Petersburg for about a week, before flying home, via Frankfurt, to SFO. Yes, I did circum-travel the globe, by air and train.
I have a new friend who extended this trip even further. She started in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), connected to the TSR via Mongolia, and then tacked on a train to her hometown area near London. And to her, I honor and salute her, as she (Katy) has become my new travel hero!!!!