The luxury train Danube Express left Turkey to complete its journey started from Hungary on 16th October and to end at Hungary by 9th November. The train will have done 17 000 km when it reaches to Budapest after visiting Istanbul, Cappadocia, Lake Van, Akhdamar Island and Van in Turkey and Zanjan, Esfahan, Shiraz, Persepolis and Tehran in Iran.
Although Danube Express was the most popular one in media, that was not the only train tour through Turkey. In September, another train departed from Gebze, Turkey by the organization of Lernidee ve Antonina. The train visited Ankara, Cappodicia, Adana, Malatya and Van in Turkey. Tabriz, Tehran, Isfahan and Shiraz were the stops in Iran. TCDD’s sleepers were used for this tour.
There was another private train tour in Turkey, Steamtour 2014, through Alasehir, Usak, Afyon, Dinar and Burdur. It was organized by Dietmar Kramer, where an old steam loco and old passenger coaches were used.
There were also 2 train tours, organized by Youth and Sport Ministry and TCDD. The tours were named “Young Discoverers”, where one for girls and other for boys. Trains departed from Edirne, and visited Bucharest/Romania, Wien/Austria, Zagreb/Croatia, Sarajevo/Bosnia&Herzegovina, Belgrade/Serbia, Skopje/Macedonia, Prize/Kosovo and Thessaloniki/Greece.
Of course, the most well-know train tour in Turkey was Orient Express, which continued till 1977 between Paris and Istanbul. Today’s most famous train tour is Trans Siberian Express. There are several alternatives which cross Siberia like only Russia, Russia-China, Russia-Mongolia-China, Russia-Kazakhstan-China with different formats and price levels.
Central Asia, South Africa, Scandinavia, Canada and China are other popular routes for train tours.
Since train tours have high costs and correspondingly high rates, “special” service is requested from railways. Thus, more train tours are expected to add Turkey to their routes after liberalization of railway transport in Turkey.
Photo: Erkan ©