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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Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness