10 Books To Read If You Love Train Travel

Channel the thrills of train travel with any of these great reads.


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Whether you're a seasoned train traveler or simply looking forward to a long-awaited cross-country trek via the railways, you know what pleasures there are to be found in train journeys. There are few nicer experiences than whizzing through the terrain from the vantage point of a cozy seat by the window. Rain or shine, trains have their own magic. Even if you can't hop a train car in the near future, you can channel the experience and the wanderlust it brings by immersing yourself in a book that incorporates rail journeys. Reminisce about travels past and daydream of journeys to come; we can't think of a better way to do it than with these books about train travel.

The Old Patagonian Express: By Train Through the Americas by Paul Theroux

The Old Patagonian Express


It's impossible to talk about books about train travel and not talk about the vast railway journeys that Paul Theroux, the prolific travel writer, has embarked on. In one of our favorites, Theroux takes a long, meandering journey swizzled in strangeness and awe, everyday figures and celebrities, elation and sadness, from Cape Cod to Patagonia.

Writing the Rails: Train Adventures by the World’s Best-Loved Writers, edited by Edward C. Goodman

This collection is filled with 101 stories of train travel, both real and imagined, by writers including Lewis Carroll, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. Dip into its pages, which include short stories and essays as well as poetry and songs, and you'll feel yourself speeding across the globe with a window-seat view in no time at all.

Food on the Move: Dining on the Legendary Railway Journeys of the World, edited by Sharon Hudgins

Food on the Move


Hop aboard historic train routes like the Orient Express and Santa Fe Super Chief as you read essays about the famed dining cars on these glamorous trains. Plus, hear detailed descriptions of their menus and get the recipes for famed dishes like "Santa Fe French Toast" from the Super Chief and the "Flying Scotchman" cocktail from the Flying Scotsman train. Each chapter is accompanied by vintage photographs, postcards, and advertisements.

So What's the Hurry?: Tales From the Train by Jane Fishman

"I like passing through Americana, easing into a one-story station in the middle of some small town not too far from a hardware store, a post office, a county museum, a courthouse or, in the case of Dillon, S.C., a town clock that towers over a new brick platform. I like watching family and friends waving goodbye until the last possible moment," writes Jane Fishman, a newspaper columnist from Savannah, in her fifth book. If you feel moved by this snippet, you'll love this beautiful selection of essays. So go ahead and pick up the book, slow down your engine for a while, and enjoy the ride.

Bullet Train by Kōtarō Isaka

Bullet Train by Kotaro Isaka

This high-flying thriller is set aboard a bullet train that’s speeding through Japan. The train cars are filled with assassins, who encounter more than a few bumps in the road on the way to fulfilling their missions. If you like your train journeys with a little more excitement and a little less tranquility, this is the fiction for you. The novel was recently adapted into a film starring Brad Pitt. 

The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lena White

This mystery novel was published in 1936 and garnered many fans with its tale of suspense aboard a train, however its reach extended even farther when it was adapted into The Lady Vanishes, the famed 1938 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Off the Rails: A Train Trip Through Life by Beppe Severgnini

Off the Rails


Zigzag across the world with a passionate train buff whose energy practically leaps off the page. In this reflective collection of colorful tales, readers get to join Severgnini on several journeys, including his honeymoon aboard the Trans-Siberian Express, a trip across the United States from Washington, D.C., to Washington state with his son, and several more memorable trips.

The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

The chronicle of another train journey documented by Paul Theroux, The Great Railway Bazaar recounts a four-month journey the writer took in 1973. This travels took him on a transcontinental trek through Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, where he rode many of Asia's most storied trains.

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

The Last Train to Key West


Florida's most famous historic railway is the Overseas Railroad, the connecting line dreamed up and brought to life by Henry Flagler. This novel takes place during the 1930s, when the railway brings together three women in South Florida amidst the shadow of a hurricane.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

One of the best-known books to use a train as a setting, Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express takes place on one of history's most famous luxury rail routes. The real-life long-distance railway ferried passengers along its stops for more than eighty years and provided Agatha Christie the backdrop for one of her most cunning mysteries, which was recently adapted into a film directed by Kenneth Branagh.

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