Michael Kerr

Sunrise on the Southbound Sleeper

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‘Railway termini,’ wrote E.M. Forster, ‘are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine…’ Now, in this new collection of great journeys from the pages of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Michael Kerr follows up his bestselling anthology, Last Call for the Dining Car, with another feast for the armchair rail traveller. The train sliding out of the station can take you back into the past — in the company of John Betjeman on the Great Western — or into an ominous future, now that China has a line across the permafrost to Tibet. The sunshine may be the late-afternoon glow on a freight train between LA and Seattle, or the sea light bathing the Cornish coast alongside the branch line to St Ives. The adventure may even be dodging death on the train itself, as Dervla Murphy does on the antiquated rolling stock of Cuba. Sometimes, too, the train tracks people’s lives, on a journey into their deepest secrets. Nicholas Shakespeare, travelling around France, pieces together the story of what happened to his aunt, who was stranded there on the brink of war in 1937. Pamela Petro, rattling down the Pacific coast of the US, confronts the demons that have been haunting her since a train crash a quarter of a century ago. From Sandi Toksvig’s commuter train to Alexander McCall Smith’s night train; from the Indian Pacific to the Maharajas’ Express; Sunrise on the Southbound Sleeper is a first-class ticket to ride all the best trains in the world.
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424 printed pages
Original publication



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