Rail road, also known as train transport, is another mode of transferring both goods and passengers to another location.
According to some, the first railway was developed way back in the 6th century to transfer boats between Corinth and Greece. For some reason, it was pulled over. However, it was in 1350 during the Dark Ages when railways became more accessible around Europe. Back then, rails were actually made of wood, and a hemp haulage rope. If not humans, people would use a horse to control it. Most people often refer to it as “wagonway” back in 1550. It was in 1776 when the waggonway developed into tramways. Woods have been replaced with iron, still with horses holding the power. Yet, it was in 1803 when the steam-powered vehicle was created to replace the horse-drawn tramways. A lot of changes had happened, until it was introduced to America in 1815.
As the years go by, most engineers would develop it to become more up-to-date with the upgraded tools and mechanics around.
In some countries, trains are used as a mode of transportation from one state or province to another. However, there are also places that connect different cities with their railroad.
However, instead of having the oldest rail, here are the top 10 highest railways in the world that you should know:
10. Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Located in the state of Colorado in the United States of America, Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is the number ten highest railroad in the world. Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad travels from Durango to Silverton at 45.4 miles during summer season from May until October. The winter trips are set from November to early times of May, running 26 miles. If you have any health concerns, you better check with your doctor first while riding along with Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad due to its altitude. Durango is standing 6,512 feet above sea level while Silverton elevation is 9,305. For safety, passengers are required to drink plenty of water.
9. Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad
Originally built from 1880 – 1881, Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad is considered as number 9 among the highest railways in the world. As of these days, it is considered as the highest narrow gauge steam railroad in the United States. The railroad got its name since it passed through Cumbres Pass and Toltec Gorge. Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad runs between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado. It measures 64 miles (103km) in length including siding and yards. Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad has an altitude of 7,863 to 10,015 feet. This is actually the reason why they would prefer you to get advice from your doctor if you have any breathing or heart concerns.
Placed in the Swiss canton of Valais, Gornergratbahn Railway is considered as the eight highest railroads around the world while it is also believed to be the second among the railways in Europe. Gornergratbahn first opened in 1898 and got the title as the first electric rack railway created in the whole of Switzerland. Surrounded by 29 peaks rising above 4,000 m, Gornergratbahn is considered as a mountain rack railway. Most of the hikers would choose this as their starting point for their activity. With an altitude of 3,089 m (10,135 ft), Gornergratbahn also became a popular as Skiing area.
Landing as the seventh highest railroad in the world is the Jungfraubahn Railway. This meter gauge is running 9 km from Kleine Scheidegg, Bernese Oberland and Valais in Switzerland. Jungfraubahn is also one of the four lines around the globe which uses three-phase electric power. Most people would say that taking this ralway could be the most exciting experience you could have. Since Jungfraubahn passes through Jungfraubahn Tunnel, passengers can observe a gorgeous view of the mountain where they can also get off and enjoy the snowy surroundings. However, with the elevation of 3,454 m (11,332 ft) the air will be so thin, which may cause altitude sickness.
Also named Huaytiquina, Salta-Antofagasta is the sixth highest railway among the rest in the world. This non-electrified single track railway was built, making easier connections as it links both Argentina and Chile by passing through Andes. Salta-Antofagasta has an altitude of 4,220 meters (13,850 ft) making it one of the highest railways in the world, and third in South America. It’s the reason why most people would say that Salta-Antofagasta is a train to the clouds. Way back in 1921, Salta-Antofagasta was built not just for passengers, but to serve the borax mines of the area as well.
5. Manitou and Pike’s Peak Railway
Manitou and Pike’s Peak Railway is considered as the fifth highest railway in the world. It can climb the very famous Pikes Peak since it is an Abt rack system cog railway. Because of this peak, Manitou and Pike’s Peak Railway somehow varies depending on the weather’s situation. Sometimes, the railway is open and ready to embark due to the strong demand. But according to Wikipedia, the railway was generally closed from mid-December through mid-March unless the snow plows were able to clear the line; however, in 2006, the railway began year-round service. Most people would advise that if you are afraid of heights, you better stay on the train or visit the gift shop when Pike’s Peak is reached.
4. Cusco-Lake Titicaca
As for the fourth highest railway in the world, Cusco – Lake Titicaca took the spot. With an altitude of 4,313 m (14,150 ft), you definitely have to consult your doctors first before boarding and passing through this railroad. If you’re into an exquisite view, this can be a perfect way for you. PeruRail is the best railway operator that would pass the Cusco-Lake Titicaca. It would make a stop at La Raya Pass – the one with the highest altitude. Despite the fact that this may cause problems from those with heart and breathing concerns, it offers a one of a kind experience with its overlooking views. Standing all alone in the middle of the Andean plateau, it offers an exhilarating experience while located at above.There is also a beautiful old chapel in the area, as well.
3. Rio Mulatos-Potosí
With the highest elevation of 4,786 m or 15,702 ft), Rio Mulatos-Potosí is considered as the third highest railway in the world. This has a line length of 440 km (273 mi) and its track gauges at 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in). Rio Mulatos-Potosí, located in Bolivia, was supposedly created for the transferring of silver. Later on, it was also used to pass by different passengers in reaching certain places. Because of its high elevation, most would require those with heart and breathing concerns to consult and get advice from doctors before boarding. With its highest peak, thin air is produced in the area when you reach the place.
Taking the spot of the second highest railway in the world, Lima-Huancayo will take you up to 15,688ft in crossing Andes to Galera. There is actually very limited information about Lima-Huancayo all over the net, but according to some, oxygen is provided within the ride. This is considered as the world’s most scenic area, as well. But due to its high elevation, the company would require very serious and strict planning in traveling with this railway. The train was once in the service for one time in a month. But as of now, the company would open it to the public twice a month between May and November.
Xining-Golmud-Lhasa is considered as the number one highest railway in the world. However, according to Tibet Travel, there is actually no train directly from Golmud. But since Lhasa is a city, it is one of the many stopovers in Golmud that lies along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway extending from Xining to Lhasa. Because of the high altitude, each train is equipped with oxygen supply and altitude display. The train is sealed lightly to maintain the normal air pressure, as well. However, despite the fact that it may be a concern to people with air sickness, it provides a one of a kind view atop some parts of China.