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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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

Staging the NFL at Wembley is a start, but the future of American Football in the UK lies with the kids

Unlike bubblegum, Jimi Hendrix and the Geller siblings and co, American sport has not enjoyed a sustained level of success in Britain.

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Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz