THE densest railway network in Europe is in the former East Germany, according to Rob Dodson's Eastern Europe by Rail (Bradt Publications, pounds 9.95). The old DDR also boasts the steepest funicular railway in the world, in the woods of Thuringia, and steam trains still operate between Berlin and Kaliningrad (a chunk of Russia previously in Prussia).

The book also covers the railway networks of the Czech and Slovak republics, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Romania, where 'for a naturally unpunctual nation, trains tend to run remarkably punctually'.