• Most luxurious train/s in the World

  • Tell us where you were and what you saw!
Tell us where you were and what you saw!

Moderator: David Benton

  by CarterB
What would the posters consider THE most luxurious train in North America and World:

A) North America
B) The World

a) Prior to 1939 1) day 2) overnight
b) 1939 to 1971 1) day 2) overnight
c) Post 1971 1) day 2) overnight

Reasons why also. Consider accommodations, diner, lounge/obs cars, service/s, comfortable ride.
  by Gilbert B Norman
CarterB wrote:What would the posters consider THE most luxurious train in North America and World:

B) The World

b) 1939 to 1971 1) day
Having ridden both in this life, two that I consider a tossup, the SNCF Paris-Nice Le Mistral with its Budd licensed stainless equipment and the British Rail London-Manchester "Midland Pullman".

  by John_Perkowski
B) c) 1)

I will have to put my vote in here for the TEE Rheingold, which in 1984 was the name train of the Deutsche Bundesbahn fleet.

She was the only DB train to have both a diner and a lounge car. She was also the only all First Class train in the DB fleet.

The cars were "a bit better" kept than the First Class cars working the Inter City assignments on the same run. The Rheingold, as I recall, was one of about 10 dailies working their way from Basel to Cologne!

  by John_Perkowski
B) c) 2)

I have to vote for any Schlafwagen of the Modern Universal (MU) (13 single, double, or triple bedrooms, roughly akin to a pre-Amtrak 11DBR car) operated by the Deutsche Schlafwagen und Speisewagen Geselleschaft mBH (DSG) under the Trans Euro Nach (TEN) brand!
  by Ocala Mike
For A)a)2) & A)b)2) it's a slam-dunk gimme.

NYC's Twentieth-Century Limited, complete with art deco style and a red carpet down the platform of Track 34, GCT. You left out a reason in your mix, though: the sheer charisma and social standing of many of its regular riders.

  by John Laubenheimer
I'll agree with the 20th Century Limited (the all-Pullman version, not the one with coaches and sleepercoaches added) for North America. This train just ever-so-slightly beats out the Super Chief. Once the coaches were added to the Century, the Super Chief takes over the North American title. Close (well, not really that close) runners up would be the Panama Limited and the Capitol Limited.

My world choice (actually, European choice) would be the 4 TEE trains that operated in to/out of Gare Austerlitz in Paris: Aquitaine & L'Etandard (to Bordeaux), and the 2 Capitoles (du matin and du soir - to Toulouse). Of all the TEE equipment that I have experienced, these were the best. (These were NOT the Budd-like trains that operated north to Brussels or south-east to Nice.) And, nobody in Europe knew how to operate a dining service like the French. And, for 360 miles in 4 hours and 5 minutes from Paris to Bordeaux, you couldn't beat this equipment's riding qualities. Just superb!
  by Ocala Mike
I agree with this exacta: The all-pullman Century/Super Chief.

Once upon a time the brightest stars of Hollywood and Broadway actually spent 3 days going coast-to-coast on that combination, and the two trains' respective schedules were meshed for that trip. Always had to change in Chicago, though!

By the way, I now realize that the official name of the train is the "20th Century Limited"; never "Twentieth" spelled out, like I had.

Ocala Mike

  by pennsy
Hi All,

Depends on what you consider to be the best.

For the US, I would start off with the Super Chief, California Zephyr, and segue into some of the other Santa Fe and the Union Pacific luxury streamliners. Today the American Orient Express would be up there.

For Europe, the Orient Express is worth mentioning. I have also heard some good things about the long distance Russian trains. Depends on how much Vodka you like to drink. I would imagine that after a goodly number of shots of Vodka, the train would be the best in the world. In any event, lot to be said about first class in Europe.

  by the sarge
I knew an old porter who worked the 20th Century over a 20 year span. The most surprising thing he told me was why the train would make an unofficial scheduled stop north of Grand Central and another outside Chicago. Anybody willing to guess the reason for these two stops? Hint-it has nothing to do with engine changes or actual railroad operations.

I have relatives who rode many trains in the 40’s and 50’s and few in the 30’s all around the country and I picked their brains pretty good through the years. Surprising to me, the Union Pacific was very high on all of their lists.

For most luxurious train outside NA, I’ll add the continent Africa into the hat. My father rode South Africa’s “Blue Train” years ago- best service he ever experienced. A couple of years ago, he traveled on one of the AEO excursions. He enjoyed it and said it was worth the money, but did not compare to the Blue Train.
  by Ocala Mike
Well, the only thing I can think of in NY would be the Waldorf-Astoria platform at around 50th St., from which notables like FDR would be spirited on the train. Don't know about the Chicago stop, though.

Ocala Mike
  by Gilbert B Norman
Ocala Mike wrote:By the way, I now realize that the official name of the train is the "20th Century Limited"; never "Twentieth" spelled out, like I had.
Mike, that is a real "flip a coin" point. There simply appears to be little consistency.

In order to prepare this post, I reviewed a 1951 NYC "thousand and one' (Form 1001; public system Timetable), on the consist page 'Twentieth" is spelt out. From reviewing Dubin, I note any drumheads said "20th" yet there are quotes from railroad material saying 'Twentieth'.

Beebe titled his treatiste "20th Century'.

Reviewing my own collection, I find a 'welcome aboard' flyer clearly noting '20th". I think I rode "The Century' about six times pre-Dec 12, 1967.

  by the sarge
The Century stopped north of GCT and stopped just before Chicago (Both directions) to pick up and drop off “Ladies of the Night”.

  by 3rdrail
I agree, and along with the ladies went liquid libation during prohibition for big spenders.

  by pennsy
Hi Paul,

You might also remind us that many a romance sprung up on such trains.

I do remember such things myself in the coach lounge, lounge, etc. etc. Some of these were quite meaningful.

Then of course, we come to the encounters you mention. I'll venture a guess that a lot of the Kennedy family "imported" hootch was consumed on these trains as well.

  by 3rdrail
Hi Alan. It's nice to hear from you.
I'd say more than their hootch rode the rails on those trains. Marilyn loved the RR.