Welcome to Trains to Beyond
I grew up in a small town just outside Blackpool in North West England.
Our local railway station had two platforms and on each one of them there was a sign indicating the direction of the trains calling there.
One sign said “Trains to Blackpool South” and the other said “Trains to Preston & beyond”.
When, as a young child, I first saw those signs I thought that “beyond” was another town just like Blackpool or Preston. I even told my mother that I would like to visit “beyond” one day.
My lifelong love of railways started at Preston station when I was just 6 years old.
My interest in travelling stems from the same time. I would stand at the south end of the station, watch the trains arrive from “beyond” and be very curious about what it was like to go there.
It is curiosity that still motivates me to travel today.
Collected here are some of the journeys I have made around my native UK and across the world.
Despite the title, the journeys are not all rail journeys. There are walks, road trips, flights, cycle rides, runs and even an ocean crossing here.
However, as a tribute to my favourite form of transport, each journey here starts with a photograph of a train. That photograph represents a link, however tenuous, to the journey in question.
The journeys are listed by date and by country.
Many of the journeys feature long trips across whole countries or even continents, but some are shorter and more mundane. In a few cases I have combined visits made over several years to the same location into one single journey.
Some of the accounts are quite comprehensive and are based on diaries and journals I kept at the time, but others are little more than a few photographs with captions.
Some of the longer accounts are broken down further into a series of trips.
I love to travel.
When I was a lot younger I used to travel at a much slower place. Nowadays I actually enjoy the thrill and satisfaction of trying to get the most out of somewhere new in a relatively short period of time.
I will freely admit that the main reason for putting my journeys together on here is an entirely selfish one.
In years to come I want to be able to remember, in as much detail as I can, the places I visited and the people I met.
I went through the pain of losing both parents to different forms of dementia. It was a truly horrible experience but it taught me a lot about the need to be able to try to remember things clearly.
Using old diaries, notes and photographs, I have tried to build up as complete a record as possible of all the major journeys I have made in my life. Sadly I didn’t keep a diary for much of my travel life. I have had to depend on memories for the majority of the journeys on here.
Only in the last few years have I started to create more detailed and illustrated accounts of my wanderings. Until now I have distributed these to friends in PDF format. Now I have added all of them here and intend to continue to add similar accounts of future travels on a regular basis.
I should add a big thank you to my wife and friends who have encouraged me in this project and to the many people who I have had the pleasure of travelling with from time to time. To protect people’s privacy I have changed many names or left them out all together.
Also a big thank you to two amazing sources of information that I have relied on over the years:
The website “The man in seat sixty one” which contains indispensable information for anyone planning an overseas railway journey.
The people at “Lonely Planet” guidebooks whose work I depend on in every country I visit.
Unless otherwise stated (or unless it is very obvious) all the photographs here are my own.
Sometimes I have used other people’s photographs to illustrate a particular journey in a better way.
I have tried to use only shots obtained via Flickr /Creative Commons. I have tried my best to make sure I have credited the photographer and provided a link both to the original photograph and to the license governing its use and re-use.