Michael Williams

Michael Williams is author of ‘On the Slow Train’. His newest book, ‘The Trains That Passed’, will be published by Preface in spring 2015

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Rush Hour by Iain Gately, book review: No wonder commuters go off the rails

Today's travellers are packed in like livestock but Edwardians got breakfast on the Tube
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund

Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Williams married into a Jewish family and is bringing up his young children in his wife's faith

A train passes Battersea power station en route to London Victoria. Unlike on the Continent, only 58 per cent of UK railway running costs come from fares

Steamed up over rising train fares? Don't be, because the networks need the money

In this provocative essay, one railway enthusiast explains why our network is better – and better value – than ever

Track and field: The Eastern and Oriental Express makes its way towards Laos

Laos: Slow train to the land that time forgot

For now, there's only one international rail route into the seductively secluded nation. Michael Williams steps aboard the luxurious Eastern and Oriental Express

The future of the High Speed Rail 2 project looks in doubt as Labour prepare to stop backing it, and the Tory rebellion against it gathers momentum

The saving of HS2? Ed Balls is on the right track with plan to adapt route of Great Central Railway

Who says you can’t re-open a closed main line?

Victims: Parents grieve for their child, gassed in Ghouta

Michael Williams: Painful lessons – and Assad is still there

The Kerry-Lavrov accord is welcome. Now our leaders must make up for a series of blunders and tactical errors, and make diplomacy work

Tito's train

The return of Tito’s train: From Serbia to Montenegro - a track to the past

President Josip Broz Tito's Blue Train, scene of the dictator’s famed parties with world leaders, is back in service as a tourist attraction

The town of Qusayr is taken by Assad loyalists last week

Diplomacy: The art of reconciling foes

Iran, as Syria's most powerful ally, must be part of the Geneva peace talks if they are to succeed, despite French and US opposition

Railways are making a comeback

Rail reminders: Britain hits the buffers – then bounces back

Fifty years ago, Richard Beeching's damning report saw the railways diminished by a third. Now, they're making a return, says Michael Williams

Inside the Mezquita, Cordoba

On track for Andalucia's great cities: get there fast, then go slow

Michael Williams revels in the southern Spanish urban trio of Seville, Cordoba and Granada – and the glories of making high-speed connections

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Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
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Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
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No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
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Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
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Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect