All aboard for a new track record! Travellers can now go all the way from Portugal to Singapore on the longest continuous railway journey in the world
- Route stops at Paris, Moscow, Beijing, Laos and elsewhere, ending at Singapore
- Hypothetical 11,654-mile journey could be done in 21 days, say the travel experts
- Route was calculated by users of Reddit with help from train buff Mark Smith
Lasting at least 21 days and covering 11,654 miles, it is the ultimate challenge for train buffs.
Experts believe a new record has just been set for the longest possible continuous railway journey.
Thanks to the opening of a railway in Laos earlier this month, it is now possible to travel from Lagos, in southern Portugal, all the way to Singapore by train with just a few changes.
The 11,654-mile journey could be done in 21 days allowing for overnight stays to make connections and sort out visas and other paperwork, say experts.
It tops the previous longest possible rail trip by around 1,000 miles and has been made possible by the opening on December 2 of a railway connecting the Laotian cities of Vientiane, the capital, with Boten, near the Chinese border.
The journey, which does require some very short interchanges between stations, has been calculated by users of the Reddit website with help from British train enthusiast Mark Smith.
How it’s now possible to travel by train from southern Portugal in western Europe to Singapore in East Asia
Starting with an Atlantic dip in Lagos, on the Algarve, you would wend your way across Europe and Siberia.
Then you would head south through China, Laos, Thailand and Malaysia before eventually you could end up enjoying Singapore Sling cocktails in the Long Bar at Raffles hotel in Singapore.
The railway in Laos was built by the Chinese and is the first in the landlocked country.
It allows the intrepid rail traveller to get from Beijing to Bangkok by rail – a gap that would previously have to have been largely crossed by bus – and then on to Singapore.
Previously, the rail traveller would have had to finish in Vietnam, a journey of around 10,500 miles.
Mr Smith, from Quainton, Buckinghamshire, a former station manager at Charing Cross and Cannon Street stations in London, said: ‘Previously, you could only go as far south as Saigon and then go by bus through Cambodia to go to Bangkok.
The 1,000-plus mile trek would see travellers pass through Paris (pictured) and onto Moscow in Russia
From Moscow (pictured) travellers can get a train to Beijing
After travelling through Laos and other East Asian countries, the final destination would Singapore (pictured)
‘But now there’s the cross-Laos railway. It’s a very impressive achievement.’
Mr Smith, who runs the seat61.com website which advises travellers on long-distance rail journeys, believes it will take around 21 days to complete the trip.
It will be this long because travellers will have to stay overnight along the route, for example in Lisbon, Madrid and Paris, and they will have to stay two nights in Moscow and two in Beijing.
But to make the complete journey they will have to wait because two of the longest legs – Paris to Moscow and Moscow to Beijing – are currently suspended due to the pandemic. The trip could cost a little over £1,000.