Paris Gare du Nord is the busiest railway station on the European mainland. It is the arrival point for Eurostar services from London (photo © Viorel Dudau / dreamstime.com).
A brand new edition of our Europe by Rail book is published next month. And this 14th edition represents a considerable break with previous editions of the book. Never before in the long history of this title has there been such a profound revamp of the content.
In 2010, we assumed responsibility for the title. We have over the years given more emphasis to the actual journeys, rather than merely describing the towns and cities which might be visited while exploring Europe by train.
That changing emphasis in the book really comes to fruition with this new 14th edition. The book features 50 wonderful train journeys across Europe, which together cover most of the continent west of the Russian Federation – but we do not totally neglect the east. We have one journey to Russia, one which cuts through Belarus and three which end in Ukraine.
Most of the book is set fair and square in the mainstream tourist regions of western and central Europe. We have several train journeys through the Alps, and plenty of options in France, Spain, Germany and Italy.
Many of the journeys are of sufficient length that you could base an entire holiday around a single route, stopping off here and there along the way. You might opt to explore the Riviera coasts of Provence and Liguria; or wander north through Scandinavia; or take time to take the slow train through Spain.
The book has two full-colour index maps and there is also a simple sketch map to accompany each route. A route is typically seven pages long. We highlight the best connections, things to look for along the way and good places to stop off. We give our personal recommendation of hotels.
For many routes, we give hints on fare deals and ticketing. And we also have a dedicated section of the book which reviews rail passes. We give detailed advice on Eurail and InterRail, explaining when a pass makes sense and why for some trips it is better just to rely on regular tickets.
Apart from the 50 routes, there are 26 mini-features on travel and railway themes. We call these ‘sidetracks’. Some invite you to venture to places beyond our 50 routes, while others pick up a particular topic, eg. railways and world heritage or grand railway stations.
The book is 496 pages long and has a new format. The page size is 13.5 mm by 21.6 mm, slightly larger than in recent editions of the book. Europe by Rail: the Definitive Guide for Independent Travellers is published by European Rail Timetable Limited. Copies are already available for pre-order. The publication date is 8 June 2016.