For decades, trains have served as the cheapest, oldest, comfortable, spacious, and just fun, mode of transportation in the world. Despite the emergence of other mediums of transportation such as aeroplanes, electric cars, and ships among others, trains still stand out when it comes to moving passengers or large amounts of goods from a country to another.
Currently, there are so many trains operating across the world, and the number is likely to increase as China continues working on its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that focuses on connecting the rest of the world to Beijing.
In terms of regions with the longest railway systems, United States (US) is at the top of the leader-board followed by China and then India. The US railway network operates over 250,000km hence forming the longest one across the universe with freight line covering 80% of the total railway network while passenger transportation spans to about 35,000km.
China is second with a network covering about 100,000km, and it is quite extensive. By 2050, the figures will change to about 300,000km as the country continues with the rapid expansion of the high-speed railway network in the region. In Russia, we have the third-largest railway network where the state-owned Russian railway corporation has a system covering about 85, 500km. It has about 12 major lines and just like China; this is expected to change by 2050 as the country continues partnering with China to introduce high-speed railway systems to Moscow.
The other railway systems cover about 65,000km and below. India, 65,000km, Canada, 48,000km, Germany-41,000km, Australia-40,000km, Argentina-36,000km and France-29,000km.
While the US has the largest railway network, it does not have the most extensive railway line in the world. Chinese train services have the spotlight. The top ten longest railways in the world are as follows:
1. China-Europe Block Train- 13, 000km
The journey begins at Yiwu, East of China, crossing Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Germany, Poland, and France in a trip that takes about 20-21 days. It ends in Madrid, Spain. The train is famously called Yixinou, and since it was launched, it has been considered a vital wholesale-distributing hub for commercial owners between Shanghai and Madrid. As a long-distance cargo-line, the train can pull over 1400 tons as it switches the engines about 16 times for the entire trip to Spain. Read more: China to Europe Railway
2. Trans-Siberia railway- 9,289km
Trans-Siberia is the longest passenger railway line that takes about six days to complete its journey. It starts from Moscow to Vladivostok and while it has already been surpassed by Yixinou, as the longest railway in the world, as a passenger train, it is still the longest since 1916. It is likely to grow longer as new branch lines continue to be expanded through Mongolia, China, and North Korea.
3. Moscow –Beijing railway- 8,986km
The third longest railway has some parts of its route pass through Trans-Siberia line as it runs from Moscow to Beijing. It travels for about six nights, and ever since it started operating in the early 1900s, it has only been using the first and second class coaches. Tourists highly appreciate this train since they get to hitchhike on it and while it is considered the most-interesting passenger train, it can only make a trip once a week.
4. Toronto- Vancouver, Canada- 4, 446km
Located in Canada, the Toronto-Vancouver railway line is the fourth in our list. It is a passenger train that takes about three days to arrive at its destination, and as a result, it makes three trips a week despite being the longest in North America.
5. Sao-Paula Metro, Brazil
The railway line in Brazil forms the fifth largest railway line, and it is likely to expand in the future at plans are underway to construct additional 10, 000km of new train-lines by 2042.
6. Indian Pacific railway
This railway covers about 2, 704 miles in a journey of four days starting from Perth to Sydney.
The other four trains include:
7. Vivek express which covers about 2,650 miles starting from Dibrugarh to Kanyakumari.
8. Peking-Lhasa which covers about 1,240 miles from China to Tibet and it is also the world’s highest railway with 5, 076 m above sea level.
9. Belmond Eastern and Oriental Express cover about 1,200 miles from Singapore to Thailand.
10. Blue train covers 994 miles from Pretoria to Cape Town.