Ask “What did the British Empire ever do for us?” and the usual answer you’ll get is “The railways.” In a matter of decades, engineers and railwaymen laid down enough tracks to lap the globe many times over, opening up entire continents like never before. Gold prospectors flocked west through the Americas; the Trans Siberian helped populate the Russian Far East. India’s railways made moving the masses possible, and the Cape to Cairo Railway, though incomplete, was one of the most ambitious communications projects ever conceived.
The golden age of railway travel lives on in a number of heritage and specialist railway routes. You can ride the rails through Rajasthan like royalty aboard the Maharaja Express, or ascend through the Sacred Valley of the Incas on the Hiram Bingham.
The appeal of such trains is manifold, starting with the views from the windows. These railway tracks cut through dramatic locations, often far from civilisation, and as the journey progresses, the scenery is ever changing. You travel in utmost comfort, with neither traffic nor bumps in the road. You can move effortlessly from cabin to bar, lecture carriage to dining car, with attendants to meet every need.