ORIENT EXPRESS - THE STORY OF A LEGEND‘Nothing starts with literature, but everything finishes with it, including the Orient Express.’ Brainchild of Belgian businessman Georges Nagelmackers, The Orient Express was a long-distance passenger train service between Paris and Constantinople created in 1883 by Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. Nicknamed ‘the king of trains, the train of kings’, the Orient Express soon became synonymous with glamour, intrigue and adventure – a showcase of luxury and comfort at a time when travelling was mostly still rough and dangerous. Famous passengers included notorious on-board seducers Leopold II of Belgium and Carol II of Romania, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, who insisted on driving the train through his own kingdom at breakneck speed. Others included Leo Tolstoy, Trotsky, Diaghilev, Marlene Dietrich, Lawrence of Arabia, Boy Scouts founder Robert Baden-Powell and the spy Mata Hari. The train stopped serving İstanbul/Constantinople in 1977 and 20 years later it ceased to operate. Today’s Venice-Simplon Orient Express, now a legend in its own right, is a private venture using original CIWL carriages from the 1920s and 1930s, running from London to Venice as well as to other destinations, including the original route from Paris to İstanbul. The train’s rich history has left a wonderful legacy in literature, featuring in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Graham Greene’s Stamboul Train and Travels with My Aunt, the short story ‘Have You Got Everything You Want?’ and novel Murder on the Orient Express (both by Agatha Christie), and From Russia, with Love by Ian Fleming. Many of these have been adapted into films and the train has also starred in television series and documentaries, as well as inspiring musicians and computer games. This sumptuously produced book celebrates a unique train and its famous passengers (both real and fictional), showing how it became such a great cultural icon. The story is told largely through a marvelous collection of archive photos of the train and its exotic destinations, as well as portraits of some of its passengers. ‘The Orient Express, in the collective imagination, embodies the golden age of travel. The fabrics, the silverware, the woodwork; their evocative fragrance… all contribute to this particular atmosphere, created by the best craftsmen of the time. The experience on board is absolutely unique…’ – Sir Kenneth Branagh.


USA by Rail bookAmerican trains have long had a firm hold on the popular imagination, inspiring countless stories, songs, scandals, films and legends. Attracted by the pace of life and an ever-changing view, more people are discovering the joys of taking to the rails to cross this vast continent in comfort, taking in attractions such as the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Yellowstone Park and Disney World along the way. This new, fully updated Ninth edition of the Bradt guide, USA by Rail, reveals in entertaining fashion the unique pleasures of North American train travel with Amtrak and VIA Rail. Author John Pitt’s book describes 37 long-distance rail journeys in the United States and Canada and features 500 destinations, including sightseeing and recommended accommodation in 38 cities. There are helpful maps and comprehensive route guides to trains such as the Coast Starlight and California Zephyr as well as all the practical information you need to make reservations, buy tickets and find your way about strange train stations. Details of Amtrak high-speed Acela trains are included, as well as useful advice on local transport, making this the ideal travel companion and essential reading when planning your itinerary. ‘The best guidebook for the journey’ – Sunday Telegraph. More information can be found here.


Great American Railroad StoriesThis fascinating and wide-ranging book features articles initially published in Trains magazine over the past 75 years. It includes rare, first-hand accounts that give historical insight into riding passenger trains, working on the railroad, and growing up in the era of steam trains. It includes rare, first-hand accounts that give historical insight into riding passenger trains, working on the railroad, and growing up in the era of steam trains. The book includes many fine historical photos and features the writings and reflections of founding editor Al Kalmbach, David Morgan, Lucius Beebe, and other well-known names. These are fascinating railroad stories from those who actual lived it. With a foreword by Kevin P. Keefe and an introduction by Jim Wrinn, the book includes tales of travelling the West by train as a salesman and riding along on the most famous train of the 19th century. We meet a locomotive engineer who survived a head-on crash with an 83-car freight train, find most scenic site in railroading, mourn the end of the Rock Island line, learn the truth about Casey Jones and discover that there is more to firing a locomotive than just shoveling coal. This excellent anthology showcases the passion and romance of railroads displayed by professionals and enthusiasts alike, with gritty and gripping tales – some of them decidedly tall!



The railway system in Great Britain is the oldest in the world, with the world’s first locomotive hauled public railway opening in 1825. The system was originally built as a patchwork of local rail links operated by small private railway companies but over the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries these amalgamated or were bought by competitors until only a handful of larger companies remained. The entire network was brought under government control during the First World War and a from the start of 1948, the ‘big four’ were nationalised to form British Railways (later British Rail). Covering the final years of steam on Britain’s railways, this vibrantly illustrated book presents a wonderful collection of over 200 colour photographs, many of them previously unpublished. Together with the author’s commentary, they form an evocative and nostalgic journey around Britain’s railways in the 1950s and 1960s. All the pictures are reproduced from original transparencies, carefully preserved away from daylight to protect the original vividness of colour. Colour photography from this period is scarce since most photographers worked mainly in black and white to serve the needs of publishers. Divided into ten chapters, each covering a different geographic area of Britain, long-time railway enthusiast Colin G. Maggs’ book provides an introduction to that area followed by a selection of photographs. The pictures are accompanied by informative captions, recording the date, location and engine details along with fascinating snippets of history and other points of interest. From express trains caught speeding through the countryside to engines hard at work in goods yards, these pictures will delight all railway enthusiasts. You can almost smell the intoxicating mixture of smoke, steam and hot oil in these resonant photographs that capture the spirit and charm of an almost disappeared era.