Andrew Martin – Railway Writer

w527702We’re in the middle of our local book festival. I went to listen to the railway author, Andrew Martin, speak about his new book. This is a book in which he re-traces the journeys of the great named services of the past. It’s a book about the present, through the prism and contrast of the past.

For Martin, the past means the golden-age of railways – that’s the Edwardian age of steam…luckily, the graphics from that period are terrific too…

The services he re-visits are

p-br-55The Brighton Belle

golden-arrow-pullmanThe Golden Arrow service between London and Paris

CornishRivieraThe Cornish Riviera Express – non-stop to Plymouth and beyond

4e1de29b87cb49231b2af40144eaeedbThe Flying Scotsman to Edinburgh

6a00d83456217b69e20111684875b8970c-piand

The Caledonian Sleeper – overnight service to Scotland

 

Martin makes these journeys using the contemporary services…and points up the differences. No restaurant cars and no romance, for a start. It’s a kind of psychogeography of the railway journey…amidst the bleak functionality of modern life.

A number of these services used the luxury carriages provided by the Pullman Company. Pullman provided food and drinks; notably, the quarter bottle – of Champagne!

It’s progress, he suggests; but we’re also going backwards…bring back the Champagne, that would help.

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