10 Most Dangerous Railway Lines In The World

Although railway travel is still considered as one of the safestways to travel, it can at times be dangerous, depending on the routes and pathsthey travel and the position of the railway bridges.

Factors like crime and accidents are what affect the railway industry. In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the most dangerous railway tracks and lines on the planet which crosses perilous locations from the Nose of the Devil, Ecuador to the Minamiaso route, Japan.

Here is the list of ten most dangerous railway routes in the world:

10. Nose of the Devil, Ecuador

This railway track was built in 1902 and connects Ecuador to the Andes Mountains. This route is considered one of the most dangerous train routes in the world. There is a section known as the devil’s nose which is located 9000 feet above sea level. Such ascends make the route one of the toughest rail climbing in the world. This route contains climbs and drops that are almost vertical. It’s a wonder that people travel this route and what’s more shocking is that passengers use the roof of the trains to enjoy the ride.

The construction of this difficult railway route took the lives of around 4000 workers. The Andean scenery is breathtaking at some places while you are still enjoying one of the greatest engineering marvels in the world. The 12km length of the track took 4 years to complete. The location is also believed to be haunted.

9. Outeniqua Choo Tjoe, South Africa

This train route was constructed to carry people through South Africa between the towns of George and Knysna. Those who used the train got scenic views of the Indian Ocean, but they also harbored some fears about it as it was situated very close to the ocean. In 2006, a flood damaged the train and the bridge so severely that it became non-operational on June 2009. This incident has scared passengers from boarding the train.

The journey is only 67 kilometers but takes 3 hours for a single-way journey. Kaaimans Bridge along the line is often regarded as the most dangerous stretch. The bridge is dangerously situated along the Indian Ocean making it vulnerable to danger. In 2002, the train carried nearly 115,000 passengers annually, 70% of them were foreigners. If you are courageous enough to experience the spectacular scenery, then this is the train route you need to check out when it is back.

8. Tren a las nubes, Argentina

The train route linking the Argentinian city of Salta to Chile’s Polvorillo is 217 km long and is called Tren a las nubes. This train route took 27 years to build and was completed in 1948. It was initially used for transporting goods to and fro, but passengers now ply this route. It features 29 bridges, 21 tunnels and 13 viaducts all of which are 4,200m high. This route usually gives newcomers quite the scare even though it showcases beautiful landscapes.

The railway gives adrenaline rush taking you through the beautiful Andes mountain range. It is the 5th highest railway in the world. The treacherous mountain railway is a heritage railway for Argentina. The 2 spirals and 2 zigzags in the route may give nightmares to the passengers when the train moves back and forth to climb up.

7. Ocean Shore Railroad, USA

The Ocean Shore Railroad was originally built to travel from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, California. The route passes near the Pacific Ocean and the bridge is located dangerously close to it. If the ocean tides get high enough, water can spray passengers. Looking out of the window while on this journey can make anyone afraid because it always looks as if the tides could sweep the train away.

The route was divided into two – Northern and Southern Division after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Then we have the dangerous San Francisco beaches known for riptides. Due to the unique geographical location of the place, this beach is vulnerable to riptides and high tides.

6. Georgetown Loop Railroad, USA

The Georgetown Loop Railroad connects Colorado with the town Silverplume. This track which was built in 1877 served to provide access to the silver mines in Silverplume. It opened in 1884. In 1939, it was dismantled. Again in 1984, it became operational as a tourist train. It now serves to carry tourists. The route contains two bridges; Creek Valley Bridges and the Devil’s Gate High Bridge and they are both located about 100ft. above sea level.

The over 100 years old heritage railroad ascends an elevation of 640 ft. covering a distance of 7.2 km through harsh terrains. The danger begins when the train passes through trestles, cuts, fills, and a grand loop. Devil’s Gate is the scariest section of the ride. The route has frightening horseshoe curves and the railroad is considered as an engineering marvel of its time.

5. Death Railway, Burma

The Death Railway train track was built by the sweat and blood of prisoners of war and local workers during world war two under the Empire of Japan. It connects Bangkok to Rangoon. This train which carries passengers to and fro travels through dangerous landscapes. It is often tagged as one of the most dangerous train routes in the world.

It is also called as the Burma Railway or Thai–Burma Railway and was built by forced laborers. More than 12,000 Allied prisoners and 90,000 civilian laborers died when constructing the line through the harsh terrains and poor working conditions. The Hellfire Pass, a stretch on this line was the most difficult to build. It was remote and the laborers lacked good construction tools. Many war cemeteries and memorials have been dedicated to those died during the construction.

4. White Pass and Yukon Route, USA

White Pass and Yukon Route is a 110-mile railway, which was built to connect Alaska with Canada. The train now carries tourists along this route. It is said that those who ply this route are very brave, as the path contain dizzying heights, turns, and backdrops. Some bridges on this track can be as high as 3000ft. Although the train ride offers scenic views of the Alaskan-Canadian landscape some of its features are frightening and potentially dangerous.

In 2006, a serious derailment of the train caused the death of a section worker. Again in 2014, the train derailed causing injuries to 19 passengers and four railroad employees. The narrow and dark tunnels add more scare to the line. The bridges in this routes can be scary and dangerous. The old wooden trestle is one such stretch.

3. Kuranda Scenic Railway, Australia

Kuranda Scenic Railway track connects Cairns and Kuranda in Queensland and is known for its scenic view and the frightening trip. The 37 km-long route features 15 tunnels, 93 sharp corners and more than 40 bridges which pass over cliffs and waterfalls. The waterfalls spray passengers with water. Many of the passengers have reported that they get quite queasy taking this trip. The bridges across the cliffs can be quite steep and possess terrifying drops and climbs.

Construction of the line began in 1886, completed in 1891 and operations began the same year from 25 June 1891. Until 2010, there were no derailments. In 2010, a landslide derailed the train causing injury to 5 passengers. The scenic railway route is Australia’s pride and heritage.

2. Minamiaso Route, Japan

Minamiaso Route is built around Mount Aso which is one of Japan’s most active volcanoes. While riding this train, passengers usually see lava burning from some distance away. No one knows when this volcano might erupt and if it does those traveling this route will be at the volcano’s mercy. If you are daring enough, then this is the railway journey you should try.

In 1928, the entire railway line opened to the public. In the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake, the railway bridge was severely damaged. Ever since then the bridge has become delicate and fragile. After the earthquake, the use of this railway line has been highly reduced. The landscape is not just scenic but frightening due to its vicinity of an active volcano and the dangerous bridge.

1. Chennai-Rameswaram Route, India

Connecting the Indian cities of Chennai and Rameswaram is a railway route which has a 2.3km long bridge. The railway line passes directly across the Indian Ocean. This bridge can divide to let ships pass. Trains that follow this route are at risk as the presence of powerful winds can knock it over into the ocean. This is why the management makes sure the train crosses this bridge at low speeds.


A double-leaf bascule section midway of the Pamban Bridge is the most dangerous section of the railway line. The region is prone to cyclones and high tides making it even more dangerous for the passengers. The bridge is located in the world’s second most corrosive environment after Florida. This has made the maintenance of the bridge a highly challenging task. In 1964, 150 passengers were killed after a 7.6 m storm surge struck which overturned the train in this area. Pamban Bridge is also the world’s most dangerous railway bridge.

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