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About the book
  • Published: 15 April 2011
  • ISBN: 9781848092082
  • Imprint: Arrow
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208
  • RRP: $22.99

On The Slow Train

Twelve Great British Railway Journeys

An unashamed tug at the heartstrings for a lost era, a time before Dr Beeching chopped the heart out of the British countryside. Renowned railway writer Michael Williams takes us on 12 of the most beautiful and historic railway journeys in Britain.

Never was the sadness of the end of an affair so poignantly expressed than in Flanders and Swann's elegy The Slow Train. This beautifully-packaged book will take the reader on the slow train to another era when travel meant more than hurrying from one place to the next, the journey meaning nothing but time lost in crowded carriages, condemned by broken timetables. On the Slow Train will reconnect with that long-missed need to lift our heads from the daily grind and reflect that there are still places in Britain where we can stop and stare. It will tap into many things: a love of railways, a love of history, a love of nostalgia. This book will be a paean to another age before milk churns, porters and cats on seats were replaced by security announcements and Burger King. These 12 spectacular journeys will help free us from what Baudelaire denounced as 'the horrible burden of time.'

  • Pub date: 15 April 2011
  • ISBN: 9781848092082
  • Imprint: Arrow
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208
  • RRP: $22.99

About the Author

Michael Williams

Michael Williams is a writer of plays, musicals, operas and novels and the Managing Director of Cape Town Opera in South Africa. He has written operas for young people based on African mythology, as well as the libretti for symphonic operas that have premiered around the world.

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Praise for On The Slow Train

“The author's superb narrative, interspersed with dry humour, acute observations and some excellent anecdotes that make you feel you know the lines so well that you want to travel on them ... there are some wonderful bitter-sweet moments emerging from the pages, as the reader is taken on a fascinating series of journeys ... I enjoyed this book immensely. It's a great anytime read and hope the publishers can be persuaded to to commission a second volume.”

Railway Magazine

“A magical world barely changed since the golden age of rail”

Daily Mail

“Williams manages to meet a range of characters who enliven the book and provide evidence of a Britain that is as forgotten as the lines on which he travels. That is the strength of the book. Williams does not just offer the journey but takes us through the history of each line and importantly meets the people who have campaigned to keep them open or ensure their smooth operation ...”

Christian Wolmar, The Oldie

“Deep in our soul, the railways represent an idyll that we love”



Sunday Express

“On track to a trip back in time”

Daily Telegraph

“The author does take us along memory lane , but his description of each route also encapsulates a taste of 21st century Britain gleaned from talking to the people he meets along the way ... an intriguing social snapshot.”

Heritage Railway

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