Watching and Riding Trains Around the World

Living in the Yukon, I don’t get many opportunities to see trains other than those of the White Pass & Yukon Route, but they’re one of my favourite subjects when I travel, and I never pass up an opportunity to ride on a new railway. When I started looking for images for this post, I was actually surprised how many I have – here’s a small sampling.

I’ll start at home, with WP&YR’s locomotive #96 crossing the bridge over the Nares River at Carcross. This engine was built by General Electric (construction number GE 34593) at their Erie, PA plant in March 1963.
WP&YR train at Carcross, Yukon
The snow in the White Pass is still deep in late May. This is the view to the south at about Mile 19.
WP&YR train in deep snow near the White Pass Summit
It’s easy to miss the train shed at the Dawson City Museum – it’s not mentioned on the museum’s Web site, and is only opened for a couple of hours a day. It houses 3 locomotives from the Klondike Mines Railway, including this 2-8-0 Baldwin that was built in 1885.
A 2-8-0 Baldwin steam locomotive from the Klondike Mines Railway
The other railroad that’s fairly close by is the Alaska Railroad, but I’ve only ridden it 3 times because when I was anywhere along the line I was usually driving a tour bus. This is the view looking south along the Nenana River as the train nears Denali National Park.
The view from an Alaska Railroad train along the Nenana River
An Alaska Railroad train arriving at Denali with one of my tour groups.
Alaska Railroad tarin arrives at Denali Park
The most dramatic section of the Alaska Railroad by far is the one from Seward to Anchorage, run as the “Coastal Classic” and by special cruise ship charters, which is what we were on when I shot this photo at the most famous section historically, called “The Loops”.
The view from an Alaska Railroad train in The Loop
In the Alaska Railroad station at Fairbanks, you can see a large model railroad layout built by members of the Tanana Valley Model Railroad Club. Members fire it up for southbound train passengers every morning during the summer from 07:00 to 08:00.
Model railroad at Fairbanks, Alaska
Northern Alberta Railway Park is located at Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek, BC. the 4-acre park features this coach-caboose rail car also known as a “comboose,” which had been owned by the NAR (Northern Alberta Railway) and became known as the “Blue Goose Caboose”.
Northern Alberta Railway Park, Dawson Creek
In the old train station at Dawson Creek (part of Northern Alberta Railway Park) is a small railway museum. The last of the classic grain elevators is now a very good public art gallery.
Northern Alberta Railway Park, Dawson Creek
One of the classic train-spotting locations in the world is certainly Morant’s Curve on the Canadian Pacific Railway line just outside Lake Louise, seen from the Bow Valley Parkway. There is no sign marking this spot – you just have to recognize it driving north, and there’s a parking lot on the opposite side of the highway from the railway.
Morant's Curve on the CPR
An extremely long Canadian Pacific Railway train nears a field of ginseng along the Thompson River near Walachin, BC.
Canadian Pacific Railway train nears a field of ginseng along the Thompson River near Walachin, BC
A Canadian National Railway train roars past the 1915 Canadian Northern Railway station at Fort Langley, BC. I was a member of the Langley Heritage Society’s management team that directed the restoration of the station in the early 1980s.
1915 Canadian Northern Railway station at Fort Langley, BC
The railway station at Calgary’s Heritage Park Historical Village is a re-creation of the station the Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.) built in downtown Calgary in 1893. There are many other train-related exhibits at the park – even an operating steam train that you can ride.
Heritage Park Historical Village in Calgary
The railway station at Glencoe, Ontario, is the sixth to be built at that location. It was constructed by the Wabash-Grand Trunk Railway in the summer of 1904 in a Queen Anne style. It was closed and boarded up in October 1993 but was bought by the community for $1 and restored.
Railway station at Glencoe, Ontario
A large trestle at St.Thomas, The Railway Capital of Canada.
A large trestle at St.Thomas, The Railway Capital of Canada
The tourist-oriented trains of the Port Stanley Terminal Rail travel over the tracks and roadbed of one of Ontario’s oldest railways, the London and Port Stanley Railway, which was built between 1853 and 1856 to run the 23 miles between Port Stanley and London.
Port Stanley Terminal Rail
This passenger car was one of the early displays in the Toronto Railway Museum in downtown Toronto is a grand scheme that is building steam nicely (pun intended 🙂 ).
Toronto Railway Museum
The Niagara Falls Incline Railway carries up to 1,600 passengers per hour between the hotel area high above the falls and Queen Victoria Park, on the edge of the falls.
Niagara Falls Incline Railway
This bridge across the Dungeness River near Sequim, Washington, was built in 1915 by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railway (later The Milwaukee Road). They used it until going out of business in 1980, and a successor, the Seattle and North Coast Railroad, ran across it until 1985 when the last train rolled across it. Its center span, consisting of 2 Howe trusses, is 150 feet long. It was opened to the public as part of a walking trail in 1992.
Old railway bridge across the Dungeness River near Sequim, Washington
Even sand-castle trains can be fun, like these ones at Port Angeles, Washington 🙂
Sand-castle trains
The sugar mill in La Romana, Dominican Republic, is the largest in the Caribbean, and is served by the Central Romana Railroad, which was established in 1911 and now has 757 km (470 mi) of rail line. This photo was shot from the deck of the cruise ship Costa Mediterranea as we arrived from Catalina Island.
Central Romana Railroad, Dominican Republic
Getting around Basel, Switzerland, is made very easy by BVB’s rail and bus system, and we rode many of the trains while there. This photo was shot at the main Basel SBB railway station.
Local trains in Basel, Switzerland
There are about 2,000 arrivals and departures each day at the Basel SBB railway station, but I caught a few quiet seconds for this shot.
Tracks at the Basel SBB railway station
We made a day trip to Lucerne, and took this train, a Bombardier ICN Tilting Train, which can hit 200 kmh. This photo was shot at Lucerne.
Bombardier ICN Tilting Train
The train we caught for the trip from Lucerne back to Basel was much older than the Bombardier ICN, but still very comfortable.
Train car in Switzerland
The main railway (the Rechte Rheinstrecke), and a little tourist “train” that we rode in Rudesheim, Germany.
Trains in Rudesheim, Germany
This maintenance and cleaning facility at Boppard, Germany, is owned by Rhenus Veniro, operator of the Hunsrück railway since 2009. This view is from the chairlift that takes people to a viewpoint and restaurant high above the Rhine River.
The Rhenus Veniro train maintenance building at Boppard, Germany
A modern train and ancient fortifications in downtown Luxembourg City.
Luxembourg City
Arriving at the Hauptbahnhof in Cologne, Germany, this train is on the Hohenzollern Bridge across the Rhine River. The bridge is most famous for the tens of thousands of “love locks” that have been placed on it.
Train on the Hohenzollern Bridge across the Rhine River
The railway system in New Zealand, operated by KiwiRail, has some very good scenic routes, though we didn’t ride any, and in fact saw very trains running during our month on the North Island. Some of the trestles are very impressive – this one is along the highway (SH1) from Waitarere to Taupo.
Railway trestle on New Zealand's North Island
At Waihi, New Zealand, we took an hour-long ride on the very scenic Goldfields Railway. This is the Price 0-4-0 diesel locomotive, built in 1944, that we rode behind, but they also operate several other locomotives, both diesel and steam.
Price 0-4-0 diesel locomotive on the Goldfields Railway, New Zealand
The Goldfields Railway takes passengers on a slow wander though very pretty country
Goldfields Railway, New Zealand
The most unique railway I’ve ever ridden on is certainly the Driving Creek Railway on New Zealand’s Coromandel peninsula. The whole Driving Creek facility kept us shaking our heads in amazement that one man could accomplish this. While we usually think of railways as industrial projects, this one is more of a whimsical work of art that you truly have to see to believe.
Driving Creek Railway, New Zealand
To climb the mountain, the Driving Creek Railway requires 2 spirals, 3 short tunnels, 5 reversing points and several large viaducts. There are small artworks are everywhere you look – incorporated into walls, hanging from trestle beams and set in the forest. The view over the Hauraki Gulf from the No. 5 reversing point on the railway (seen below), and at the Eyefull Tower at the end of the line, is wonderful. From the point on that trestle where the train stops, though, it’s a long way down!
Driving Creek Railway, New Zealand

Well, I got a bit carried away with that, but that’s just a tiny look through the collection 🙂


Comments

Watching and Riding Trains Around the World — 3 Comments

  1. Very, very nice. I’ve always like trains also. I walked a railroad to school from the 1st grade to when I graduated from high school. When we (my brothers and I) hear a train coming we would grab a bunch of rocks from the railroad and get off the track. Once the engine went by all the cars until the caboose was in site was fair game for rocks. 🙂

  2. From my first trip to AK back in ’82, I was hooked on the ARR…unknown to me at the time, it literally ran past the end of driveway of my brothers mtn cabin…

    Last fall in freezing temps, I followed the Anchorage to Denali NP route…a hoot, as we caught the train at several crossings.

  3. I hadn’t realised you had managed to get to Driving Creek Railway while you were on the Coromandel. Thank you for those photos and comments. We think Barry Brickell’s railway is a wonderful ‘must-do’. He is one of our ‘earliest’/’oldest’ potters, and at 79 yrs. is still going strong as far as I know. He is an amazing person. Quote:
    “Brickell is renowned for his skill at building kilns. Most of the kilns at Driving Creek Railway were designed and built by Brickell using bricks made on-site from clay sourced on the same property. According to Christine Leov-Lealand’s biography, he built his first brick kiln at age seven, under the family house in Devonport, which was almost set alight. “