If you have looked at the travel pages you will know that most involve travelling by train, and Ted and I have enjoyed many of the classic rail journeys in Western Europe. We prefer local trains to high speed trains, to see more of the country at a reasonable pace. In cities, a few hours travelling around by tram, bus, or metro, away from the tourist sites, is a good way to get the feel of the place. And travelling by public transport means we can have a beer or two along the way. This page focuses on travel by train and other public transport, with an emphasis on some of the more unusual journeys:
- Railway journeys and stations – away from the mainline:This is a collection of journeys, by local train, city transport, tourist or heritage railway,s and a few of the more unusual stations along the way.
- Just another train journey: travelling by train in the UK train today: I don’t usually take notes of routine or regular journeys, but I’ve started to take along the notebook, and this section is an attempt to describe the reality of train travel.
- Transport in Glasgow: I grew up in Glasgow and it had its transport oddities (still has – ride the Subway) and I’ve included some of them here.
- Train and railway miscellany:This is information for those interested in rail travel in Europe and some resources for those interested in the more arcane subjects of railway maps and timetables.
Railway Journeys and stations – away from the main line
A few odd journeys, from Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, the Isle of Man, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland
Steiermärkischen Landesbahnen operate several isolated lines in Steiermark (Styria), Austria. This railcar and its partner, built in 1931, shuttle between Feldbach and Bad Gleichenberg four times a day. All the other passengers on this journey were in their eighties, but still mobile enough to clamber on and off. The Gmunden tramway shuttles between the town of Gmunden and its railway station, though I didn’t see any Macdonalds en route.
Karakolo – Olimbia. Most of the Peloponnisos network in Greece has been closed (‘austerity’) but this short line seems to have survived. Ideal for taking passengers from cruise ships to Olympus. When I was here the cruise people insisted the line didn’t exist and we should take their coach, at 15 times the price – we ignored them.
The Isle of Man
The Isle of Man is well known for its heritage railways and tramways, but there a couple of less well known railways run by volunteers. The Great Laxey Mine Railway runs for a few hundred yards in Laxey and is a reconstruction of the network that served the mines. This loco is Ant – the other one is Dec. The Groudle Glen Railway was originally built to serve a zoo by the sea and has been reconstructed running along 0.75 scenic miles from Lhen Coan to Sea Lion Rocks.
This is the Elevador da Bica in Lisbon. Through a door is this little funicular which runs up and down a grotty street between rows of washing hanging from the windows, to and from the Bairro Alto.
Lisbon also has the best tram journey in Europe , hurtling (relative term) through the street on the No 28. and the Elevador Santa Justa one of the Great Lift Journeys of the world.
The train from Nova Gorica through the mountains to Jesenice, at Bled Jezero station. My tour group of 35 of us had just got off the train, with our cases, and into deep, uncleared snow.
Line C-9 of the Madrid suburban railway network is a narrow gauge line from Cercedilla, which climbs the Sierra de Guadaramma on the steepest gradients in Spain to the second highest station in the country – Los Cotos – where there are a couple of restaurants, walking in summer and skiing in winter.
This photo, taken in 1998, is of the FEVE line in Oviedo. This section of line has now been diverted into a modern station, and new trains have taken over the route. However, the trains still take 4.5 hrs from Santander to Oviedo and 6.5 hrs from Oviedo to Ferrol. Whether the prostitutes still service their clients on the gap site in front, in full view of our hotel window, I don’t know.
Stations – the rush hour away from the main line
A view from the end of the platform at Rannoch (Perth and Kinross), on the West Highland line from Glasgow to Fort William, taken in 2015 while waiting for a pleasant hour for the connecting Broon’s Bus to Kinloch Rannoch.
And finally two stations which are unusual for other reasons.