10 Most Dangerous Train Routes in the World

Since the invention of trains, humans have embarked on great journeys and even have taken strides to develop many technologies to better the trains. Trains have managed to even alter the culture of many regions around the world. Trains have brought access to many secluded nooks and corners of the world. However, it was not easy. Some routes took advanced engineering techniques and even some risky track routes to provide train services. Today, these dangerous routes have become a tourist attraction for those who are looking for an adrenaline-pumping action.

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1. Georgetown Loop Railroad of Colorado

Georgetown Loop Railroad of Colorado

Route: Ancient silver mining route of Colorado

Danger Element: Train runs through 100 feet tall bridge named ‘Devil’s Gate’

Do not think you were not warned. The bridge is literally named as the ‘Devil’s Gate’ for a reason. At the beginning of the 19th century, Colorado received silver mining permits in this region and train tracks were built primarily for transporting materials. Later, it was used to transport workers in and out of the mine. When the train reaches the 100-feet tall Devil’s Gate, the train runs in dead-slow speed (no pun intended). Do you know the reason for the slow speed? According to experts, if the train runs any faster than that speed, the bridge would rattle tremendously. If you have the stomach for it, you can peek down the valley from the windows of the train, when it is panting its way on the bridge. However, the train is vividly colored with bright colors for a little touristy look.

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2. Bamboo Train of Cambodia

Bamboo Train of Cambodia

Route: Through many regions of Cambodia

Danger Element: handmade propelling train cart made with bamboo

When Cambodia was under the control of France, it constructed many train tracks around the region. However, due to the outlaw actions of the Khmer Rouge regime, the train tracks were heavily damaged. To aid transportation, the locals started to use small bamboo train carts, which are hand-propelled. These carts are just a platform, where you will have no security walls around you, while the cart splashes through the tracks. However, some of these carts are fortified for tourism activities. If you are looking for adventure time, there is always an original bamboo cart around the corner for you.

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3. Aso Minami Route of Japan

Aso Minami Route of Japan

Route: Aso Minami region

Danger Element: Train runs through the most active volcanic area of Japan

Japan holds many active volcanoes. However, how about taking a train through the most active volcanic region of the country? On one side, you will be running very close to the volcano, which can erupt at any time and on the other side, you can calming gaze at the lava burnt remains of a large forest, which indicates that the volcano can erupt at any moment. While on this journey, you will be under the complete mercy of Mother Nature and her decision to let you live.

Read More: 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites You Can Explore by Train

4. White pass route of Alaska

White pass route of Alaska

Route: Yukon – White Pass

Danger Element: Tracks clinging to steep mountainsides just by the skin of its teeth

Alaska is famous for its exclusive view and the iced mountain panoramic background. The region is famous for numerous mountain train routes and the route between Yukon and White Pass is one of the most nail-biting trips of the world. If you are looking for an adventure time, try riding this train, whose tracks are laid on the edges of a mountain cliff, which no more room to spare. This train track was built for transporting materials during the famous Klondike Gold Rush. Today, it is a thriller adventure activity among tourists.

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5. Rameshwaram Sea Route Train

Rameshwaram Searoute Train

Route: Chennai – Rameshwaram

Danger Element: Train track runs over the sea, very close to the water

This train route connects mainland India with Rameshwaram Island. The train runs at a normal speed in a normal route for most of its journey. However, once it is nearing Rameshwaram, it runs through 2.3 km stretch of Pamban Bridge, which is laid very close to the water, over the sea. While the train is at full throttle, passengers can experience splashes of seawater, when the tide is high. During strong wind season, the train reduces speed to avoid whirlwinds and runs at just four m/s. The bridge stands with 145 pillars of concrete and sometimes, the track is filled with water.

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6. Condor’s Aerie of Ecuador

Condor's Aerie of Ecuador

Route: Alausi – Sibambe

Danger Element: Nose of the Devil

This is a mountain train that ascends a little more than half a kilometer in just 12 km. It is more of a hike than a train journey. However, this is not even close to what the actual danger element that is in await. The train runs almost vertical along the valley of Nose of the Devil, with no side rails to avoid plummeting into obvious bereavement.

To add more to the adventure, the train runs with switchbacks, which would feel like the train falling back for a second before moving front, every few seconds, which would give it an eerie feel of the train trying too hard to move forward. The switchbacks were the only engineering solution for building train tracks through this almost-impossible route. Around 4000 people worked on this track and around 2000 perished while construction.

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7. Pilatus Railways of Switzerland

Pilatus Railways of Switzerland

Route: Alpnachstad – Pilatus Kulm

Danger Element: Tagged as the steepest route in the world

The train ride ends at an altitude 7000 ft above average sea level. From there, the train covers many alpine meadows and valleys. The route is laid along the steep slopes of the mountains and it has the steepest curve. The train travel is just 30 minutes but, you would get a lifetime worth of adrenaline and vista of beauty, no matter when you visit (summer or winter).

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8. Maeklong Railway of Thailand

Maeklong Railway of Thailand

Route: Maeklong railway market route

Danger Element: Runs right through busy markets filled with people

You are reading about train routes, where you would fear falling into steep valley or water bodies. How about fearing that you would crash into a vegetable shop or a crowd of people? Well, if you want to experience it, it is time to choose the Maeklong railway route. This train runs through (literally through the middle of the) the largest seafood market in the country. The locals would be shopping and selling on the tracks and minutes before the train arrives, they would hastily remove their products. You can actually watch them clear away from tracks as you ride. The worst part of all, the train does not have a signal for its arrival.

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9. Tren a las nubes of Argentina

Tren a las nubes of Argentina

Route: Salta – Polvorillo

Danger Element: 29 bridges, 13 viaducts, 21 tunnels, and zigzag route

This route took almost three decades for construction. For a train track that mostly runs at 4,200 m above sea level, this route has too many zigzags. This train route was built in mid of the 20th century for tourism purposes. The train runs through some of the most amazing natural beauties of the region covering Argentina to Chile, including landscapes of Andes. However, to experience this vista, you need to sit through spiral tracks, free-standing bridges, rugged tunnels and a body fueled with gallons of adrenaline.

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10. Argo Gede Train of Indonesia

Argo Gede Train of Indonesia

Route: Jakarta – Bandung

Danger Element: Chikurutug Pylon trestle bridge

Argo-Gede route is a very famous adventure route and a dangerous one too. The route runs through the Chikurutug Pylon bridge, which runs over a very deep subtropical valley. The train also makes a deep slide down through the valley, giving a shock to the travelers. On the other hand, the train runs through exclusive wild destinations rewarding you with fascinating natural sceneries.

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World’s engineering masterminds have come up with much more interestingly dangerous train routes like the Kurada Scenic railroad of Australia, The Death Railway of Thailand, Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe train of South Africa and many others. Do you want to experience the world from a different perspective? It is time to take these trains for a ride.

In India, IRCTC run Palace on Wheels which is the most famous luxury train in the World.

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