Simon Calder at 25: The man who pays his way in his own words

Travel correspondent Simon Calder is celebrating 25 years at The Independent this week. Over the past quarter of a century, almost everything about the way we go on a trip has changed – he has documented it all

Wednesday 29 May 2019 16:29 BST
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2016: Simon at the edge of Greenland’s ice sheet
2016: Simon at the edge of Greenland’s ice sheet (Charlotte Hindle)

Twenty-five years after walking into The Independent offices at 40 City Road, London, for my first day as travel correspondent, I will walk out of The Independent offices at 2 Derry Street and unlock a bicycle using a small radio-frequency identification tag. I will pedal northeast across central London for half an hour and deposit the bicycle outside a station which, in 1994, looked on the verge of dereliction – as did the miserable diesel trains that wheezed in and out.

Today St Pancras is back as the finest railway terminus in the world and, thanks to Eurostar, undisputed British champion of exotic destinations. The departure screens invite you to contemplate Amsterdam or Alfreton, Brussels or Brighton, Calais or Cambridge...

Eurostar had launched in 1994 – but from Waterloo station, south of the river. Only in 2008 did it move to the magnificent cathedral of locomotion at St Pancras, when HS1 (the Channel Tunnel Rail Link) opened between London and the Kent coast.

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