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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