As airlines continue their irrevocable tailspin, weighed down by industrial unrest, the wrong sort of ash and low-cost contempt for passengers, travellers everywhere are getting back on the tracks. Rave press reviews of Benedict le Vay’s first edition Britain from the Rails saw the title sold out in under six months; now the paperback is about to go on sale offering new readers insights into an increasingly important passenger rail network. So forget the BDSM scene of air travel, leave your Chelsea Tractor in its shed, keep your bank balance in the black and the environment in the green and take a fresh look at Britain’s railways.
‘We live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world – sit back, relax and enjoy the ever changing landscape of Britain from the Rails!’
Pete Waterman OBE, Chairman of the Waterman Railway Trust
‘Whether you’re a first-time visitor or time-served commuter, Benedict le Vay’s book will open your eyes to the sights and history of Britain’s best train journeys. And his choice of the top ten British train routes is spot on!’
Mark Smith, The Man In Seat 61
‘A quite superb, indeed incomparable, combination of maps, railway trivia, engineering insights and breathtaking landscape features to look out for.’
Michael Gove, The Times
‘Britain from the Rails: A Window Gazer’s Guide by Benedict le Vay, tells you what you should look out for from your carriage window on rail journeys from Aberdeen to Penzance and all points in between. This is a book that will gladden the hearts of all who love train travel.’
Frank Barrett, The Mail on Sunday
Britain from the Rails is not an exhaustive gazetteer of the UK’s railways, nor is it a trainspotters’ manual or a backpackers’ guide to cheap fares. Instead, author Benedict le Vay has applied his considerable skills of observation to Britain’s most notable rail journeys, recalling in amusing and sometimes eccentric style the landscapes framed by railway carriage windows from Aberdeen to Penzance and all points between. To your left nuclear missiles, to your right the inspiration behind the witches of Macbeth and at the end of the line, Victoria – a tale of two stations. Dedicating his book to ‘the great railwaymen and women of Britain’, le Vay is sincere about his own affinity with rail travel. Indeed he’s on record stating that ‘I’ve asked for my ashes to be blasted from the chimney of my favourite steam locomotive at my funeral. Hasn’t everybody?’ Even if you’re not quite as enthusiastic about trains as the author, there’s no denying that rail travel has undergone a renaissance in Britain with passenger traffic reaching levels never before seen in peace time. As a paperback companion of pleasing pastel tones, Britain from the Rails provides a commentary to enrich long-distance rail travel and, in the absence of flying boats, airships and ocean liners, revel in one of the few forms of transport to retain an aura of romance.
Benedict le Vay says he loves train travel because it’s romantic, fun, comfortable, civilised, sociable, fascinating and doesn’t damage the wonderful places you go to. When he’s not travelling the rails, le Vay works full time on the Daily Mail. He’s the author of several Bradt Eccentric guides, including Eccentric Britain.
Title: Britain from the Rails
Author: Benedict le Vay
Publisher: Bradt Travel Guides
Publication: May 2010
ISBN: 978 1 84162 333 7