Travel news: Hit the rail trail
The best deals, the latest hot spots and what's new in travel
Saturday 14 January 2006
Rail travel is booming in Asia, according to the editor of the Thomas Cook Overseas Timetable, Peter Bass. This month, the "blue book" celebrates its 25th anniversary,. "In China, when the first edition came out we showed only six trains from Beijing to Shanghai, with the quickest taking 19 hours. We now show 16, and journey times have been cut to 12 hours."
Japan's main bullet-train line is now 30 per cent faster. Korea has introduced high-speed trains, and Taiwan is testing a 186mph service.
Elsewhere, the omens are not so promising. In 1981, Canada boasted daily transcontinental services; today there are just three a week. In Mexico, the number of rail services has fallen from 47 to eight, two of which are cruise trains. Of the rest, says Bass, "only the Chihuahua-Los Mochis service can be relied upon" - the Copper Canyon Railway.
Indian Railways still thrive, despite the growth of low-cost airlines. Standards have improved since 1981, when the Timetable warned: "Indian trains become extremely full, though electrification has done a lot to reduce the numbers travelling on the roof."
But elsewhere, rooftop travel is still popular: the introduction in the new edition to the chapter on Ecuador explains that, on the nation's scant railway network, "there are two classes of accommodation, coach and roof, with fares being identical".
Thomas Cook Overseas Timetable, £11.50
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 5 YouTube social experiment shows just how easy it is to kidnap a child
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...
£24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...