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Off the rails: 9 of the world’s best train carriage accommodation

Take your next holiday in some of the world’s most luxe locomotive accommodation.

Ruwenzori Retreat, NSW, Australia

If you travel a lot with work you might need a break from hotel accommodation, so why not check in to an unusual getaway in some of the best converted train carriages around the world.

Rail aficionados have created quirky retreats by transforming heritage carriages into mind-blowing destinations, without sacrificing traditional interiors or history. The vintage train cars may not function as they once used to, but these nine locomotive suites promise to stun guests with intriguing details in every corner.

Ruwenzori Retreat, NSW, Australia

Whether you want to spend the night in The Dining Car , The State Car , The Pullman or the The Caboose, the Ruwenzori Retreat offers a unique experience in each.

Ruwenzori Retreat, NSW, Australia

Stunning antiques create a sensory wonderland with the lavish emerald velvet furnishings of the original 1920 TAM car, and you’re transported back in time to 1890 with a grand dining area and 19th century memorabilia.

Indulge yourself with a glass of vino as you soak up the tranquil surrounds of Australian bush in the multi-level garden complete with a water fountain and cast-iron seats.

Just metres from inviting outdoor area are the three century old railway carriages decorated in Orient Express style luxury embellished with red velvet curtains, dark timber and intricately detailed ceilings.

Nestled high on the Great Dividing Range in New South Wales, the secluded retreat is the perfect hideaway – and not just for rail enthusiasts.

Ruwenzori Retreat from A$150 p/n

Seabank Selsey, UK

For a whimsical seaside holiday with the crystal-blue waters of the English Channel right at your doorstep, Seabank Selsey is the place to be.

Seabank Selsey, UK

Two vintage train carriages, Clarrie and Annabel (famously pulled by Thomas the Tank Engine), have been transformed into a quaint cottage embraced by pastel blue hues to emulate the charming British coastline for cosy getaway.

The characterful beach front villa captures the eccentricity of many eras through marrying the history of the 19th century Stroudley railway carriages with modern beach style.

The endearing cottage was built around the two restored vintage locomotives, creating a cosy living quarters with “uninterrupted sea views” for families or solo travellers.

Seabank Selsey from £500 (A$896) p/n

Alojamiento Vagon Rural, Spain

Complete with an outdoor swimming pool and tropical garden, Alojamiento Vagon Rural is the ideal sultry oasis for rail admirers.

Alojamiento Vagon Rural, Spain

Make yourself at home in the vibrant red caboose or soak up the sunshine on a relaxing outdoor lounge deep in the Mediterranean.

The 1950s train carriages ooze chic style with monochrome interiors running through the idol train with a refreshing backyard swimming pool a welcome presence in the balmy Spanish weather.

Alojamiento Vagon Rural from €49 (A$78) p/n

Platform 1346, US

A WWII train car with a murky green exterior is more than meets the eye. Revamped into a sophisticated country retreat, the caboose oozes charm with rustic floorboards, French provincial kitchen and spacious living quarters.

Resting at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in the US, Platform 1346 swaps between being a winter wonderland and rich summer oasis, offering a peaceful retreat any time of year.

The historically rich carriage does not sacrifice comfort with a generous sized kitchen, rustic floorboards and a baby blue free-standing claw bath creating a charismatic destination in the heart of American wilderness.

Platform 1346 from A$205 p/n

Upscale 1926, US

Spending a night in an endearing, fire-engine red caboose complete with marble stone kitchen bench tops and sky lights is bound to linger in your memory for many years to come.

The tranquil escape at Upscale 1926 will be hard to match with earthy waterfalls and acres of lush green forests painting a perfect picture.

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Upscale 1926, US

Upscale 1926, US

Upscale 1926, US


The striking rouge carriage with black trims is hard to miss as it sits atop authentic rustic rails from the 1920s in the depths of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee, offering a boutique experience complete with a romantic outdoor shower.

The 1926 train was once part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway and has been given a second life beside the idyllic bath house, the Depot , which boasts a luxurious kitchen, Verg Wang Egyptian Cotton bed linen and a laundry.

Flowing from the quaint porch of the Depot lays an endearing paved courtyard with wooden chairs surrounding a snug fire pit with the essence of thick forest just metres away.

Upscale 1926 from U$214 (A$353) p/n

Southern Bell, UK

Boasting traditional carriage doors with brass handles, long white corridors with heritage panelling and expansive ocean views, Southern Bell is the quintessential seaside retreat.

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Southern Bell, UK

Southern Bell, UK

Southern Bell, UK


Two heritage locomotives have been transformed into a fresh coastal holiday destination nudging the English Channel’s picturesque shores lapping Hayling Island.

Soft blue walls umbrella the 144-year-old trains, which were once third-class coaches built for the London, Chatham and Dover Railways between 1874 and 1919, disguising it as a charming beach cottage.

The significant trains were restored in 2014 and feature five bedrooms and two bathrooms making it perfect for a peaceful escape for large groups.

Southern Bell from £737 (A$1,322) for three nights

Rovos Rail, South Africa

Touted as being the most luxurious train in the world, Rovos Rail offers several African itineraries to be explored from the comfort of opulent wood panelled locomotives.

While it is not a stationary restored carriage accommodation, Victorian baths, sitting rooms oozing with Edwardian prestige and inviting king sized beds are just some of the five-star features of the revamped carriages from the bygone era.

The luxurious train features royal suites, deluxe suites and pullman suites where no televisions or radios are included on board to harbour the spirit of travelling in a bygone era.

Guests can indulge in four meals a day, announced by the striking of a gong, in dining carts full of charming Victorian essence.

Expeditions with the prestigious trains can be taken along the old pioneering trail of Cape Town or among a South African safari on short two-day journeys or with lengthy 15-day trips across the country.

Rovos Rail from R20,600 (A$1,928) for a short journey

The Blue Train, South Africa

Harnessing the power of steam to showcase South Africa to the world, The Blue Train allows guests to escape reality through the “moving five-star hotel on wheels”.

The Blue Train, South Africa

Despite not being a fixed carriage hotel, the vibrant locomotive offers ensuites with spacious bygone suites, elegant lounges and fine dining services to make your trip unforgettable.

Guests can relax on journeys across South Africa from the Cape all the way to Cairo and soak up breath taking scenery in the comfort of a deluxe suite, luxury suite or elegant lounge which are all a nod towards the locomotive’s glittered past.

Exploring the country’s most southern and northern points, the 1920s train was used in World War II before being transformed in 1946 and was later refurbished into the stylish icon it is today.

The Blue Train from R16,430 (A$1,537) for a one-way journey

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