Travelling by train can be an incredible experience, taking you to majestic landscapes and fascinating sites, but not all railways are the same and many offer an unusual experience from the moment you step on board the carriage.
Lovers of trains who fancy taking a trip with a difference will love the world's quirky railway journeys, which can be found everywhere from the streets of Germany to the cliffs of Thailand.
Many come with unique history and take passengers completely off the beaten track, while others pass through weird places, including a bustling market and even an airport runway.
The world's coolest train rides don't always come with traditional carriages either. Cambodia's Bamboo Train is proof that there are many one-of-a-kind rail journeys to be found. Visitors to Germany can even enjoy a ride on its hanging railway.
Explore some of the planet's oddball train rides, from the Molli to the Maeklong Railway.
World's quirkiest train rides
World's quirkiest train rides
Germany's Wuppertal Suspension Railway, or Electric Elevated Railway, is a hanging railway which runs along the Wupper Valley in the Ruhr. Built over 100 years ago, the unique monorail straddles the Wupper River and is a serious part of the region’s transport infrastructure, carrying over 20 million passengers a year. It runs along a route of eight miles at a height of 39 feet and at one point crosses a motorway. Ffestiniog Travel offers a Trams & Trains of Northern Germany holiday which takes in the railway.
Running at speeds of around 18 mph, Battambang's Bamboo Train offers a one-of-a-kind rail journey, which takes travellers four miles south-east from O Dambong to O Sra Lav on a norry, a three-metre-long wooden frame with slats made of bamboo. The cheap trains carry up to 15 people and operate daily.
Inlandsbanan is an 850-mile inland railway which travels from Kristinehamn in Central Sweden, north to Gällivare in Swedish Lapland. There's no rush on this slow train as the driver might stop for photo opportunities, make time for you to pick wild strawberries or even enjoy a swim in a lake. The unhurried train stops at little train stations and halts for meal breaks, with orders phoned ahead.
Thailand's unique Maeklong Railway passes right through the Maeklong Railway Market, one of the largest fresh seafood markets in the country. Centred on the railway's track, the market's vendors pull back their produce as the train approaches and immediately put everything back as it was once the train has passed through. The railway is one of the slowest in Thailand and travels through the market three times a day each way.
The Tunnel of Love railway line starts at Klevan and reaches Orzhiv, stretching for four miles, with around three miles covered by a forest. It passes through around two miles of beautiful green arches and is used by trains carrying wood a few times a day. Visitors can walk through the botanical phenomenon and legend says that couples who go through the Tunnel of Love should make a wish which will come true.
Running through the streets of Bad Doberan, the Molli is a narrow-gauge steam-powered railway in Mecklenburg. Created by German aristocrats in the 19th century to serve their favourite Baltic beach resorts, the train picks up passengers outside the shops on cobbled streets and has stationmasters to wind up the level crossings by hand. Ffestiniog Travel’s Narrow Gauge Steam in Eastern Germany tour takes in the railway.
Starting at Villefranche-des-Confient on the eastern side of the Pyrenees, the Little Yellow Train snakes its way through tunnels, gorges and over breathtaking viaducts up to Bolquere, France's highest railway station at 1200 metres. The historic metre gauge electric railway then drops down to Latour-de-Carol at the end of the 63km journey. Opened in 1909, many of the original carriages are still in use along with open-air carriages. Book a ride with Loco2.com.
Built after World War II, the Children's Railway, or Pioneer's Railway, is run by children under the supervision of adult railway workers. From selling tickets to traffic management, the little workers aged between ten and 14 do various types of jobs. Dreamt up by Hungary's communist authorities to instil work ethic in the young, the Children's Railway is still rumbling through the hills around Budapest and is a popular excursion for families.
The Napier-Gisborne Railway passes directly across the Gisborne Airport runway, with trains stopping to seek clearance from the air traffic control tower before they continue down the line. The track splits the middle of the runway and often both the train and aircraft stop until one of them travels on.
Built in 1942, the Burma Railway earned its name as the Death Railway because of the more than 100,000 Allied prisoners of war who died during its construction. Once completed, it stretched 250 miles from Ban Pong in Thailand to Thanbuyuzayat in Burma. Today, the railway is popular among visitors who ride the train as it passes sheer cliffs and along wooden bridges.