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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Michael Williams: Reporters need the right to say 'No'

A conscience clause would allow a journalist to refuse to do anything illegal

Louis Vuitton presents a platform trend during its show in Paris

I had eyes for one thing only (and it wasn't the clothes)

In a world dominated by anoraks, bobble hats, enamel badges and vacuum flasks, railways and fashion are not obvious partners. Most of us boys gave up finding trains sexy when we discovered girls. And most girls – of any age – have never found trains sexy at all.

Brunel's magnificent terminus at Paddington

Hunt on for Britain's ghost trains that stop nowhere useful

Could there be anything less ghostly than the scene at London's Paddington station on this bright December morning? Yet waiting for me on Platform 14, in one of the darkest, dankest, greasiest, most inaccessible corners of the station, is one of the spookiest trains in Britain, the 11.36am "ghost train" to Gerrards Cross in Buckinghamshire.

The hunt for Britain's ghost trains

The 11.36 from Paddington to Gerrards Cross is designed to be as inconvenient for passengers as possible. Why? Michael Williams reports

READERS' EDITOR: Let's not be nasty to the Americans

We're in the dock this week in the distinguished company of Tony Blair. Here's the indictment from Angela Crum Ewing of Reading, who writes: "We may have a Prime Minister who thinks the American way is good. But I don't. Why is The Independent on Sunday using the American spelling of `practice/practice'? Every well educated person knows that the noun is `practice' and the verb `practise'."

Island hopping in steps

It's all action in Greece: Michael Williams sets out on foot, while, opposite, Louise Jury succumbs to the lure of the sea

The train that passed in the night

Michael Williams rode the very last British Rail service, ending the nationalised era

Network built on the greed and nerve of a robber baron

Sir George Young's announcement that London Underground is to be privatised was met by a predictable chorus of opposition from Labour MPs, union leaders and commuter organisations.

When trekking in the Himachal Pradesh, travel light: take just a crate of eggs, sacks of rice, porridge and lentils - and a folding table, chairs and tablecloth

The man in the turban raised the shotgun and squinted down the muzzle directly at us. Over his shoulder a Himalayan tableau of boulders, mountains and sky shimmered. We froze. It all looked horribly familiar from those staged group photographs we had seen on the front pages for months.

Rarely can a tomato have shared such a noble vista

Given the perfect greenhouse -- his office - Michael Williams decided to see what his seedlings made of life on the 18th floor
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Day In a Page

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Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
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Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

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5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
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Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
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A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
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The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

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Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
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Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

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