UK DEPARTURES

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The Independent Travel
Two new train books on the appear this week. The weightier is the National Rail Timetable, whose 1,600 pages cost pounds 7.50; it will become obsolete in September when the winter schedules begin. The lighter, in every sense, is the Great British Railway Disaster (published by Ian Allan, pounds 5.99), an account of the "catalogue of mishaps and gaffes" surrounding rail privatisation.

The author, Christian Wolmar, is transport correspondent for the Independent and its Sunday sister. His book is an anthology of contributions to the `Mad' railway column , which began examining the impact of privatisation on travellers in January 1995. "The editors expected that it would run for a few weeks and then, like most such series, run out of steam. Instead, like Topsy, it grew and grew".

The book explains why the next locomotive may be arriving on the M5 (it is cheaper to move them by lorry than to pay Railtrack for the use of its lines) and why the incontinent should not change at Bolton.

Tomorrow, some lucky tube buffs will be visiting the now-disused Aldwych station on a tour run by the London Transport Museum (0171-379 6344). This weekend's trips are full, but the museum intends to run more soon.

It also has a summer series of "Meet the Curators" events at its premises in Covent Garden. LT's design heritage is discussed on 7 and 14 August; on 28 August the topic is the development of the suburbs. Usual admission prices apply.

The British Tourist Authority has aimed its new Internet site at foreign visitors, but there is, of course, nothing to stop UK residents accessing http://www.bta.org.uk for information on transport and accommodation.

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