Trains Of Thought
March 16, 2004 2:49 AM   Subscribe

The A-Train For Armchair Travellers The Man in Seat 61, a train-mad Brit called Mark Smith, provides a wonderful guide, with lots of useful information, to train travel in Europe - though obviously catering mostly to British passengers. Choo Choo!
posted by MiguelCardoso (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Wow. This is a good resource. If Zimbabwe ever sorts itself out, I totally recommend the Harare - Bulawayo - Vic Falls trip. I loved it. The trains were great too.

Also, a little tip for those short of money and wanting to see game in Zambia/Tanzania on the (very, very) cheap. Take the early Kapiri Mposhi - Dar-es-Salaam train. It passes through the Selous game reserve in daylight.

Admitedly, all the game you see will be high tailing it away from you, but I saw lions, giraffe and elephant during the journey.

I love train travel. Not for commuting, but for traveling. It really is the best way to go. This trip is one of my ultimate dreams, the trans-siberian.
posted by davehat at 3:05 AM on March 16, 2004

This guy must be on some sort of backhander from the UK train companies - British trains are expensive, dirty, old and over-full.

There's nothing quite like having an absolute *arse* of a day working in London to then having to fight your way through the Euston 'which-platform-are-they-putting-the-Birmingham-train-on-today' lottery scramble. Then, once you board the train, finding out that there's no seats left (despite there being three empty 1st class carriages - no one buys 1st class tickets as they're 3-4 times more expensive than 2nd class, yet they provide nothing more than a slightly wider chair and complimentary drinks) and having to stand up, underground-style, for the 2-3 hour trip home.

Travelling by train in the UK should be avoided, at all costs.
posted by metaxa at 3:32 AM on March 16, 2004

fantastic post cheers .. i used to live in singapore, and don't like flying much .. always wanted to get the train back from singapore to the uk .. but was never brave enough to take the plunge.

i'm very tempted to go back that way now .. cheers for this link !
posted by mrben at 4:07 AM on March 16, 2004

ps metaxa .. i know the trains out of london suck, but if you're lucky on the virgin services you can get on the new funky Pendolino trains. perhaps i'm easily pleased but they really beat the old stinky rattling Intercity carriages
posted by mrben at 4:12 AM on March 16, 2004

mrben: I was referring to Virgin's 'new' Pendolino and Voyager trains. It's all very well having a shiny new train with power sockets and seat-side radios, but what's the point if you can't actually sit down!
posted by metaxa at 5:21 AM on March 16, 2004

The voyager trains that go "cross country" only ever seem to have 3 1/2 carriages for second class (Voyager trains, I think). The Pendolinos I have used seem to have at least 2 more carriages, but most of the extra space does seem to be first class.


I understand your point about commuting to London, but this guy's site is not (at least as far as I can see) about commuting. Its about journeying by train:
Maybe you don't like flying. Or perhaps you just prefer classic travel by express train and ocean liner, where you eat in a restaurant, sleep in a bed, and get to see where you're going... This website will tell you how to travel comfortably by train or ship for many journeys where you might think that air was now the only option.
This is the first line of text on the site. I'm not sure commuting to London by air is common practice yet.
posted by davehat at 6:24 AM on March 16, 2004

Very nice, thanks Miguel! I entered in a couple of nice destinations the other side of Europe from London, and got some very evocative itineraries back.

*daydreams of long train journeys*
posted by carter at 7:07 AM on March 16, 2004

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