Weaving words for European Rail News is an engaging sideline for us. We do much else besides, including looking after and publishing hidden europe magazine.
A new issue of hidden europe appeared just this week. It is all about journeys and places, mainly offbeat ones. We favour slow travel, always opting for buses and trains over planes. So no surprise that every issue of hidden europe includes many descriptions of rail journeys: stories that capture the spirit of rail routes and railway stations across Europe. And in the latest issue of the magazine, we have a special five-page article to celebrate forty years of InterRail. You can see the table of contents of hidden europe 37 online.
hidden europe 37 kicks off on a train that runs deep into the Polish forests, stopping just short of the border with Belarus. This is no ordinary rail route. Last year, just a single passenger train ventured east to Bialowieza.
Elsewhere within the pages of hidden europe 37, we have a three-page article on the curious arrangements that prevail in Basel (or perhaps we mean Bâle) where a French railway station sits cheek by jowl with its much larger Swiss counterpart. The departure boards still have a little colour at Basel, with through trains to Minsk and Moscow. But no longer can you board a train in Basel and alight in Spain, Romania or England. Yes, there really once was a night sleeper from Basel to London.
We hear what Thomas Cook, HG Wells and Carl Gustav Jung made of railway affairs in Basel and then look at how Platform 30 of the French station adventurously morphs into Platform 4 of the Swiss station.
In hidden europe 37, we look at the unusual route taken by a new train service, just launched this summer, from Budapest to the coast of Istria. And we find out why it is so difficult nowadays to travel by train from Warsaw to Vilnius.
We note Dan Kieran’s gloss on slow travel which involves speeding 2500 kilometres across Europe by train in a day, and we meet Manfred Weis, a record-breaking doyen of InterRail who once clocked up over 30,000 kilometres in a month as he criss-crossed Europe with a rail pass. We cannot match Dan and Manfred for their speed. We take things slow, stopping off here and there and engaging with communities along the way. Indeed, the most interesting train we discovered while researching hidden europe 37 was one that has not moved for years. That was in San Marino.
San Marino recalls an earlier age in Europe. Just as hidden europe magazine recalls an earlier age of publishing. Impeccably researched and beautifully written, hidden europe is a nice reminder that details and good writing still matter. And when it comes to European railways, we know our stuff. Not for nothing that Engineering and Technology magazine last year described us as “the doyennes of European travel and the subtle connoisseurs of Europe’s railways”.