Japan Railway & Transport Review No. 15 (pp.2 & 50–51)

Photostory
Tourist Trains in Japan

Throughout the post-war high-growth period, JNR passenger trains were built mainly to carry as many passengers as possible. With the exception of some luxury services on private lines (JRTR 13 Photostory), train design was as monotonous as economy seats in an aircraft. The newly-founded JRs changed this policy, and JR Hokkaido, JR East and JR West started running some luxurious sleepingcar services from Tokyo and Osaka to Sapporo, through the Seikan Undersea Tunnel opened in 1988. Since the journey takes 16 hours from Tokyo to Sapporo and 21 hours from Osaka, competing with airlines is out of question. However, after 10 years in service, these trains continue to attract many passengers who prefer a leisurely trip rather than a too-fast and too-efficient journey.

Photo: Dining car of JR East Hokuto-sei (Ursa Major) express linking Tokyo and Sapporo.
(M. Mashima Photo Office)
Photo: One of the Hokuto-sei trainsets has a quiet and relaxing dining car at the Tokyo end.
(JR East)
Photo: Different types of accommodation including twin suites are available on the Hokuto-sei.
(JR East)
Photo: Passengers have a choice of various types of bedroom including twin suites, single, and twin compartments on the Twilight Express.
(Railway Journal)
Photo: The Sapporo-bound Twilight Express covers the distance of 1515 km in 21 hours 6 minutes.
(JR West)
Photo: The Osaka–Sapporo Twilight Express is an irregular service, running mostly every other day. Coaches were remodelled from old ones, but the luxurious restaurant and lounge are very popular.
(M. Mashima Photo Office)


Tourist Trains in Canada and South Africa

Canada
The Canadian, run by the state-owned VIA Rail Canada Inc., still maintains the flavour of legendary transcontinental trains in North America, linking the Pacific port of Vancouver to Toronto. The train is famous for its viewing dome, lounge and dining car and various types of private bedrooms (further information at http://www.viarail.ca).

Photo: The spectacular Rocky Mountains seen from the famous viewing dome of The Canadian.
(VIA Rail Canada, Inc.)
Photo: Elk meeting The Canadian in a remote snowy mountain area.
(VIA Rail Canada, Inc.)
Photo: The Canadian covers a distance of 4467 km in 3 days and nights.
(VIA Rail Canada, Inc.)

South Africa
At the other end of the world, the Blue Train in South Africa still maintains its long-standing tradition of offering the comfort and luxury of a moving five-star hotel. The world-famous 1067-mm-gauge Blue Train is 380-meters long and has 18 carriages accommodating 84 passengers. In addition to the 74-year-old Pretoria-Johannesburg-Cape Town service (1600 km in 27 hours), tourists can now take this renowned train from Pretoria to Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe-Zambia border (further information at http://africanadrenalin.co.za/bluetrain/index.htm).

Photo: Blue Train leaving Cape Town to Pretoria, with Table Mountain in background.
(AfricanAdrenalin)
Photo: Apart from carrying 31,000 liters of water for passenger use, the Blue Train has a superb collection of wines and liqueurs.
(AfricanAdrenalin)
Photo: Passengers relaxing in the Blue Train lounge car.
(M. Mashima Photo Office)
Photo: Room service in private suite of Blue Train.
(AfricanAdrenalin)


Tourist Trains in Switzerland

Travelling in Switzerland by rail is fun. Swiss Federal Railways (SBB/CFF) runs clean, comfortable and frequent intercity trains. Good connections are assured at junctions with branch lines, including a large number of mostly narrow-gauge private lines. Despite geographical difficulties, train services cover most parts of the country, including world-famous tourist spots at high altitudes. Switzerland is known as a high-price country, but as far as rail travel is concerned, foreign tourists benefit from various discount excursion tickets.

Photo: The world-famous Glacier Express passing Landwasser Viaduct of the private Rhaetian Railway (RhB).
(Switzerland Tourism)
Photo: RhB offers attractive dining car services on express trains.
(Switzerland Tourism)
Photo: The Jungfrau Railway begins at the village of Kleine Scheidegg, goes through a tunnel built beneath the Eiger Peak
(background) and reaches an altitude of 3454 m at Jungfraujoch.
(EJRCF)
Photo: The private Pilatus Railway is known as the world's steepest railway with a gradient of 1-in-2 (more precisely, 48%), reaching an altitude of 2070 m using a special rack-andpinion system.
(EJRCF)
Photo: Adults and children resting at a station on their excursion.
(Switzerland Tourism)
Photo: The private Brienz-Rothorn Railway is Switzerland's only steam mountain railway with an Abt rack system, reaching an altitude of 2349 m.
(Switzerland Tourism)
Photos: The private Montreux Berner Oberland Railway runs the Super-Panoramic Express train, using specially-built rolling stock with roof windows.
(Switzerland Tourism)

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