Flåm Railway, Norway

The rail journey across southern Norway from Bergen to Oslo – northern Europe’s highest mainline railway – is so beautiful that all seven hours of it were broadcast in 2009 on Norwegian television as the first ever Slow TV (Sakte-TV) programme. However, for passengers who alight at remote and tiny Myrdal an even greater pleasure awaits. The branch line from here down to Flåm is one of the world’s steepest railway lines, dropping 867m in just 20km, and was created in 1940 to serve villages along Sognefjord. Along the way, it provides vistas of the fjord, along with mountains, the picturesque Lake Reinungavatnet and myriad waterfalls, including the mighty 93m Kjosfossen.

In Scotland, a steam train chugs across the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

West Highland Line, Scotland

Although the Cambrian Coast Line in Wales and the Highlands’ Kyle of Lochalsh Line both make compelling claims to be Britain’s most scenic railway, there’s really no competing with the West Highland Line for the variety and splendour of the landscapes it passes through. Running from Glasgow north to Mallaig, with a branch line off to Oban, the line passes hills and mountains before hauling itself up onto Rannoch Moor, a slice of wilderness that brings a sense of awe. The remote station at Corrour – familiar to fans of the Trainspotting films – is the highest in Britain (408m), while beyond lies Glenfinnan Viaduct and the craggy coastline, with its views out to the Small Isles.

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