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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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.

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
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