CHAPTER ONE: PREHISTORY-THE DAWN OF TIME • Grotte de Rouffignac, Vézère valley, France-An electric cavern train that carries you past friezes and engravings of rhinos and mammoths • Caspian Odyssey, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan-Explore countries on the east and west of the Caspian Sea including 6,000 prehistoric rock engravings at Gobustan in Azerbaijan • Grand Canyon Railway, United States-Take a steam or diesel-pulled guided tour from Williams, Arizona to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park, in beautifully restored vintage railcars • The Glacier Express, Alps, Switzerland-Witness spectacular "Ice Age" glacial scenery from Zermatt, at the foot of the Matterhorn to Saint Moritz • Crossrail, London United Kingdom (opens 2018)-This 62 mile (110 km) feat of engineering across London has unearthed a layer cake of history beneath its streets including prehistoric animal bones
CHAPTER TWO: THE ANCIENT WORLD-DAWN-600 CE • Trans Mongolian Express, Russia, Mongolia, China (easternbound)-Follow the ancient tea route from China to Russia, taking in the Great Wall of China • Desert Express, Namibia, Africa-More wildlife safari than train ride, see giraffes, zebras, elephants, dolphins and the Welwitschia mirabilis, Namibia's most famous plant, some of which are said to be over 1,500 years old • Athens to Thessaloniki, Greece-This 4.5-hour, domestic InterCity service includes stunning views of Mount Olympus, the mythical home of the Greek gods • Rome to Ostica Antica, Italy-A classic route from the magnificent Colosseum to the beautifully-preserved ruins of Ostia, the old port city of Ancient Rome • Cairo to Alexandria, Egypt-An Egyptian odyssey from historic Rameses Railway Station in Cairo, gateway to Giza's Pyramids, to Alexandria's "Pearl of the Mediterranean" via the palm-dotted plains of the Nile Delta
CHAPTER THREE: MIDDLE AGES-600-1500 CE • Eastern and Oriental Express, Thailand -This most exotic of train services includes a route through the "Ancient Kingdom of Lanna", from Bangkok to the northern Thailand cities of Lampang and Chiang Mai • Copenhagen to Roskilde, Denmark-Take a "Viking Voyage" from the capital's National Museum to the island of Zealand to witness Viking ships excavated from the nearby Roskilde Fjord • Balkan Explorer, Istanbul to Venice-Explore Ottoman and Byzantine sites and the turquoise coastlines of the Balkan and surrounding nations • Vodkatrain, The Marco Polo, Istanbul to Beijing-Follow in the footsteps of the Italian explorer Marco Polo along the Silk Road, linking Europe with Asia • Paris to Chartres, Frances-An enlightening day trip to the double-spired, stainedglass, Gothic splendor of Cathedral Notre-Dame de Chartres
CHAPTER FOUR: TOWARD THE MODERN WORLD-1500-1800 CE • Palace on Wheels, India-Match the palatial, Rajput-inspired interiors of this famed ride with a round tour from New Delhi through royal Rajasthan • The Ghan/Indian Pacific, Australia-Explore the vast continent that is Australia, with this epic train ride down country from Darwin to Adelaide, then on to Sydney, where the first British colony made its base • Florence to Venice, Italy-From the "City of Water" to the birthplace of Renaissance Italy, with non-stop architectural and artistic splendour along the way • The Hague to Haarlem, Netherlands-Ride to the heart of the Dutch Golden Age from Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring in The Hague, to "Tulip Mania" in blooming Haarlem • Konkan Railway, Mumbai to Goa, India-Travel to the namesake town of Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama, and beyond to beautiful Goan beaches, on a stunning route through lush valleys and mythical mountains
CHAPTER FIVE: 19TH-CENTURY RAILWAY JOURNEYS • Trans Siberian Express, Moscow to Vladivostok, Russia-Experience the vast Russian landscape via one of the longest train journeys in the world; and be glad you didn't have to help build it • Venice Simplon-Orient Express, Paris, France to Istanbul, Turkey-Make like Hercule Poirot and travel in the tracks of the original Orient Express' 1883 inaugural journey in a luxury Art Deco coach • Settle to Carlisle Railway, Yorkshire Dales to Scottish Borders, United Kingdom- Highlights of this bucolic journey include limestone scenery, Victorian architecture and the impressive 24 arches of the Ribblehead Viaduct, built 1870-1874 • Rocky Mountaineer, Vancouver to Banff/Calgary, Canada-Follow the former "Kicking Horse Route", now "First Passage to the West", over the famous Canadian Pacific Railway (opened 1885) with epic views of the monumental Rockies • Arctic Circle Train, Kiruna, Sweden to Narvik, Norway-Experience the midnight sun, polar night and the Northern Lights, in one of the northernmost railways in the world, a nod to the nineteenth-century "Race to the North Pole"
CHAPTER SIX: 20TH-CENTURY RAILWAY JOURNEYS-PRESENT DAY • The Blue Train, Pretoria to Cape Town, South Africa-This most lauded, luxury train of "kings and presidents" first set off in 1923, complete with butler service, gold-tinted picture windows and black tie • Marrakesh Express, Tangier to Marrakesh via Fez, Morocco-Hit the 1960s hippie trail meandering past olive groves and goats in trees, to reach colorful and exotic souks, medinas, riads and kasbahs • The Pride of Africa, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to Cape Town, South Africa-Lovingly restored Pullman Carriages hark back to the halcyon days of 1920s luxury train travel at its most romantic: visit the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls and Table Mountain • Shanghai Maglev (Shanghai Transrapid), Shanghai, China-The first commercially operated high-speed magnetic levitation train in the world; don't expect to see much scenery at a top current speed of 268 mph • The Eurostar, London to the South of France-New stops on this twenty-year-old, highspeed, multi-destination route under the English Channel include gastronomic Lyon (also HQ of the French Resistance in World War II) and the sunshine-soaked, rough diamond port of Marseille