And now for some good news … rail operators across Europe are responding to a growing interest in travel by train with the launch of a number of new services. Particularly exciting for fans of sleeper trains is the launch of several new overnight services, in a welcome reversal of a recent trend among operators to drop night trains. The switchover to new 2020 timetables takes place in the early hours of Sunday 15 December (though not all services will start on that exact date: some only start in the new year or spring 2020). Previous years have seen the launch of new European high-speed lines, such as the new fast links from Paris to Strasbourg and Bordeaux, and a bold new high-speed line through the hill country of Thuringia, bringing travel time from Berlin to Munich down to four hours. The are no route openings for 2020 but the new timetables demonstrate how European rail operators are developing new services to make optimal use of existing infrastructure. Notable among them … [Read more...] about The best new European rail journeys for 2020
Northern powerhouse rail
“For the major media, almost all the campaign reporting focused on the candidates and polls. Almost nobody bothered to talk to the voters. The Chicago Tribune, the midwest’s biggest newspaper, doesn’t even have a midwestern beat any more and seldom sends reporters outside the Chicago metro area. Yet this was where the election was decided.” Reading your article (The rust belt strikes back, 21 November), I was reminded of the great days when the Guardian and other major papers had northern desks and northern editors. I’m a lifelong Guardian reader and paid-up supporter who was born in Manchester and has lived in the north all my 72 years. In my day job as a standup comedian and folkie I saw what was happening to the great industrial cities and smaller towns here, from the once-busy ports of Hull and Goole to the coal towns of the Dearne Valley; from rust belt cities like Sheffield and Middlesbrough to the cotton towns of Lancashire. Nothing of that managed … [Read more...] about Media must burst out of the London bubble
The chancellor, Philip Hammond, is Theresa May’s chauffeur. It must be a ghastly job. He has to drive the economy towards Brexit, with no instructions, no map and no clear road ahead. Meanwhile, he has three blind mice in the back seat: David Davis, minister for I-haven’t-a-clue, Liam Fox, minister for what-on-earth-is-happening, and Boris Johnson, minister for Oh-Christ! All Hammond’s polished autumn statement could do yesterday was toy with the one buzz-phrase in May’s vocabulary of spin. It was caring for the “just about managing” – a perfect description of the chancellor. His time in office seems doomed to depend on Brexit and uncertainty. May’s government looks ever more like a caretaker administration, holding the fort until the coming of a new dawn, yet with no idea of what or when that dawn might be. The prime minister’s decision to put her three Brexiteers into key negotiating posts in the cabinet seemed tactically cunning. … [Read more...] about Hammond knows Britain’s regional imbalance is risky. Why didn’t he fix it?
UK DAY WALKS Mourne mountains, Northern Ireland Distance 10.9 milesStart/finish Trassey Track car park Refreshment Meelmore Lodge• walkni.com Kerry Ridgeway, Welsh Borders Distance 15 milesStart/finish Cider House Farm to Bishop’s Castle Refreshment Six Bells Inn • tourism.powys.gov.uk Tramway Trail, Cornwall Distance 11 milesStart/finish Portreath to DevoranRefreshment The Old Quay Inn • westcountrywalks.com Leeds and Liverpool Canal, Yorkshire Distance 16.5 milesStart/finish Skipton to Saltaire Refreshment Lord Rodney Salts Mill is home to a gallery dedicated to David Hockney. On the outskirts of Keighley, you’ll be treated to another masterwork: the Bingley Five-Rise and Three-Rise Locks. Truly inspired engineering, the lower gate of each chamber connects to the upper gate of the chamber below, creating the impression of an aquatic staircase. So audacious was this design that 30,000 people turned up to the inauguration in 1774. Trains run regularly … [Read more...] about 20 superb UK walks – for families, day-trippers and long-distance ramblers
THE mum of a teen killed on his first lads’ holiday sent a Facebook post before the trip saying: “Stay safe and come home in one piece.” Luke Hall, 18, was in the back of a rented 4x4 when it crashed into a parked motorbike. The hire car clipped a concrete kerb after trying to swerve out of the way and then the vehicle flipped over before coming to a rest in a nearby field. Luke, an apprentice joiner who was in the back of the 4x4, is believed to have died at the scene along with driver Zara Crane Davis, 41, of Manchester. The head of EKAV’s ambulance service in Crete said a male and a female passenger died instantly while a third woman was transferred to PAGNI hospital’s intensive care unit. Three of the four passengers are thought to not have been wearing a seat belt according to local reports.An 18-year-old Brit who was sitting in the passenger seat and and is believed to have been wearing a belt survived the accident with no serious injuries, and … [Read more...] about Mum of Brit teen who died in Crete car crash wrote tragic Facebook post saying ‘come home in one piece’ before trip