For some travellers, nothing compares to the romance of the train, and in recent years, specialist vintage train travel on some of the world’s most famous rail routes has become one of any enthusiast’s must do’s.

Because of this highly popular nostalgic appeal, many historic trains have been renovated in recent years, often at great cost, and put back into service, their restored vintage carriages offering splendid special itineraries through iconic scenery.

Perhaps none is more globally famous than the Venice Simplon Orient Express, which passes through the majestic Swiss Alps on the route from London to Venice.

Despite the route’s iconic status, featured in many famous novels and films, the original train became an anachronism and fell into disuse and disrepair, with the advent of high speed trains travelling across Europe, with much improved journey times.

The train was rescued by US businessman James Sherwood, who having purchased two of the original carriages at an auction in 1977,  began a phenomenal quest to acquire more, in which he spent some sixteen million dollars, then a truly vast sum, in the pursuit of a collection comprised of thirty-five sleeper, restaurant and Pullman carriages.

The historic train journey was restored in 1982, and quickly became one the single most aspirational luxury train journeys in the world.

Now owned by the luxury Belmond Group, the train is a byword for sumptuous luxury travel, and with such amazing success the company now runs several historic train routes, including the magnificent Eastern and Oriental Express, a luxury rail service from Singapore to Bangkok.

The same team that lovingly restored and remodelled the remarkable luxury perfection of the European Pullman train also applied their considerable flawless expertise to the renovation of the Silver Star, a sleeper service which originally operated between Auckland and Wellington, in New Zealand.

Designer Gérard Gallet, who masterminded the lavish interiors of the Venice Simplon train, evoked the historical themes of refined colonial elegance in his design for the likewise sumptuous décor and impeccable service of the oriental service.

Considerable re-engineering of the Silver Star was required to adapt the train for use on the Malaysian and Thai railways, and also saw the installation of a discreet air conditioning system to cope with the tropical climate.

There are four compartment types available on the train, Pullman Single, Pullman, State and Presidential, all of which are defined by fine decorative marquetry and plush fabrics. Each cabin is fitted with British-style electrical outlets and an en-suite facilities room, including a shower, washbasin and wc.

The basic entry level Pullman compartment is essentially a luxury version of the twin bunk sleeper cabin, with the upper bunk folded into the wall during the daytime and the lower bunk serving as a finely upholstered sofa, converted into a bed by your steward while at dinner. Single Pullman rooms have only one bed but are otherwise identical. In both cases the cabins have a full size carriage window and fold-down table.

Endowed with a greater sense of spaciousness, the Staterooms are double the size of the Pullman rooms, featuring two carriage windows and are presented during daytime with a larger fold-down table, sofa, armchair, and freestanding chair. Again your steward will convert your room while you are dining into two ground level single beds.

The Presidential Suites, of which there are only two, are larger versions of the Staterooms, with a sofa and two freestanding chairs and also feature a more spacious en-suite room.

There are two elegant dining carriages, which enjoy the same legendary reputation for refined dining and the high class champagne lifestyle as the European train, and exudes colonial decadence.

A Saloon carriage provides a space for relaxation and a boutique, while the Bar carriage is a lively place to enjoy a drinks from the well-stocked bar and mingle in the company of fellow travellers form early morning to late at night.

The teakwood Observation carriage at the rear of the train is another wonderful place to mingle and enjoy the passing scenery by daytime, and doubles as an entertainment carriage at night.

There are a choice of trips available, all of which include off-train sightseeing opportunities.

The main 3 day/2 night route begins in Singapore and visits Kuala Kangsar in Malaysia, disembarking for a tour of Ubudiah Mosque Perak Royal Museum and the Sultan Shah Gallery, before continuing on to the Bridge on the River Kwai, where passengers will board a river cruise in the company of an historian and to visit the war museum, before arriving in Bangkok. The reverse journey follows the same pattern but is a 4 day/3 night journey.

The ultimate route is the 7 day/6 night adventure from Singapore to Bangkok, a holiday in itself, which leaves from Singapore after an included night in the famous Raffles hotel. Travelling into Malaysia and onward to Kuala Lumpur, passengers can enjoy a choice of sightseeing visits of Malaysia’s capital, before a coach transfer and an overnight stay in the Cameron Highlands.

After enjoying a choice of tour in the famous colonial tea plantations, visitors re-join the train at Ipoh, and continue on to Butterworth, for a day trip to the island of Penang, before travelling on into Thailand. In Thailand, a day excursion visits the fishing town of Baan Huay Yang, south of Hua Hin, the island of Ko Chaan and Hat Wanakon beach befor re-joing the train and travelling on overnight and arriving in Bangkok the following morning.

For those simply wanting to savour a shorter experience of the luxury train, a 2day/1night journey from Kula Lumpur to Bangkok takes in trips to Kuala Kangsar and the Kwai Bridge.