Trouble spots

Rail travel around the world; something to declare
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The Independent Travel
Information from the new edition of the Thomas Cook Overseas Timetable (pounds 8.40)

United States: "All the trains that were expected to finish last year, when Amtrak [the operator] ran out of money, have now ceased to run. However, the rolling stock saved by the termination of these trains has been redeployed to permit the daily operation of several others, and the California Zephyr and the Empire Builder now run daily throughout."

Senegal/Mali/Togo: "We are advised that, apart from the international service to Mali, all passenger rail operations in Senegal have been suspended. Apparently, the system in Togo still struggles on, with two locomotives kept running by cannibalising others. What will happen if one of these breaks down remains to be seen."

Argentina: "Trains are faster, there are more of them, and we understand that they often run to time as well, which is a new experience for many rail travellers in that country where years of neglect has led to trains operating anything up to 24 hours late as a matter of course."

Philippines: "The railway, long considered a hopeless case, and with services so few and far between that people were actually living on the track, has made a revival of sorts. Promises are being made of reintroduced services to the south."

Tunisia/Algeria: "In the last issue we advised that the international train from Tunis to Algeria was probably suspended. Confirmation has now arrived, and all services, freight as well, are suspended because of the destruction of a bridge by rebels in Algeria."

Information on surface transport is always wanted by the compilers; you can fax them on 01733 503596.

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