Whether its zig zagging perilously through jagged mountain cliffs or trans versing unpredictable terrain that is partial to volcanic eruptions, there are some train routes that you might want to seek to avoid in order to stay safe. For the brave of heart, here are 5 of the most dangerous train routes in the world.
1. Chennai Rameswaram Route, India
Built in 1914, the Chennai Rameswaram route in India is one way of getting to the quaint island of Rameswaram in India – and by the far the most harrowing. The bridge is 2.3km long and is elevated above sea level in order for boats to be able to pass beneath it. Unfortunately, the somewhat rickety bridge often floods during times of ocean elevation and the winds can be extremely powerful, causing the trains that cross over it to slow to a crawl to ensure safe passage. Although not completely free from peril either, in this case its preferable to take the ferry or fly.
2. Maeklong Railway, Thailand
This railway in Thailand is not exactly dangerous to its passengers but is definitely worthy of notice because it runs directly through a street market! The famous Maeklong Railway Market has been in operation just outside of Bangkok since 1905. It moves at an incredibly slow speed and lets out a horn alarm, warning marketplace vendors to get ready before passing through the market multiple times a day. This gives them time to lift the awnings of their shops to get them out of the way and remove produce from the tracks (as well as get out of the way themselves!). The train goes too slowly to do any real harm, but there has probably been some stubbed toes and trashed fruits and vegetables over the years.
3. Nose of the Devil, Ecuador
This quickly ascending train that zig zags through almost 90-degree, perpendicular mountain ranges in Ecuador has had many fatalities in its past, claiming the lives of both workers and riders alike. The current train and subsequent route have undergone massive upgrades since its construction in 1905, so it is not nearly as dangerous as it once was. However, the last incident happened as recently as 2008, when two Japanese tourists sitting atop the train died by running into cable wires. As a result, passengers are no longer allowed to experience the relatively short ride this way.
4. Minami Aso Route, Japan
The Minami Aso route runs directly next to the bottom of an active volcano, Mount Aso, making this journey extremely treacherous due to its unpredictability. Small scale eruptions are fairly frequent but the last major eruption, which send over 11km of ash into the air and damaged the bridge, happened in 2016. The volcano currently has a 3/5 rating, meaning people should actively seek to avoid the surrounding terrain; coupled with the weakening of the track, this has rendered the Minamo Aso route barely usable, although it does still run on a much lesser scale.
5. Kuranda Scenic Railway, Australia
Consisting of almost 100 unsettlingly sharp corners and operating 3000m above sea level, the Cairns – Kuranda route in Australia has long been considered a distressing experience. Built at the end of the 19th century, along with its sharp corners it has 15 tunnels and over 40 bridges. It also weaves through craggy cliffs and heavy waterfalls amongst other natural obstacles, sometimes causing the train to slow way down. If you don’t mind the danger, it is a strikingly scenic route.
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