Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

131 Passengers on the Train. One Fatality: The Woman on the Street below; in the Latest of His Series on Striking Images Our Columnist Looks at the Variety of Perils and Pleasures of Travelling on the Railways

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

131 Passengers on the Train. One Fatality: The Woman on the Street below; in the Latest of His Series on Striking Images Our Columnist Looks at the Variety of Perils and Pleasures of Travelling on the Railways

Article excerpt

Byline: The Naked Eye Charles Saatchi

CANADA The original IN 1895 the Granville-Paris Express overran the buffer stop at Gare Montparnasse railway station. It careered across the first-floor concourse, flew through a two-foot-thick concrete wall, continued to crash through a terrace, and plummeted 33 feet onto the street below, landing on its nose.

Only two passengers were injured, and the only fatality was a poor lady crushed when the locomotive dropped onto her.

Apparently, the problem was a faulty brake and the delayed train speeding in an effort to make up lost time. The engine driver received a 50 franc fine.

Another miraculous escape for passengers, whose train also overshot the end of a platform, took place in Glasgow 100 years later.

Again, a braking system failure was the cause, and though the train crashed through shops at the front of Largs station there were no serious injuries. But the reconstruction of the terminal took 10 years to complete.

In the early days of rail travel, very few people were killed in train wrecks; locomotives moved slowly and journeys were relatively short.

And today, travelling by train isn't always a commuter hell.

Many sophisticated travellers firmly believe that few joys can compete with viewing the most picturesque corners of the world by train.

All these journeys are highly recommended by Travel & Leisure magazine.

1. ROCKY MOUNTAINEER CANADA The original Rocky Mountaineer route from Vancouver to Calgary follows the 1885 Canadian Pacific train route through Western Canada and the Canadian Rockies. You'll see pristine wilderness: black lava cliffs and canyons, glacial lakes, turbulent rivers, bighorn sheep, and maybe even a black or grizzly bear.

2. DARJEELING HIMALAYAN RAILWAY INDIA The romantic eight-hour trip on this whimsical Lilliputian "Toy Train" from the Siliguri, in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, to the hill station of Darjeeling offers views of Himalayan peaks as high as 7,400 feet. You'll traverse through dense jungle, verdant valleys, tea gardens, and forests of maple, chestnut, pear, cherry, and cardamom trees on this two-foot wide, narrow-gauge line.

3. SEMMERING RAILWAY AUSTRIA Departing from Gloggnitz, the hourlong Semmering crosses the Austrian Alps' Semmering Pass to Murzzuschlag. Completed in 1854 -- before the age of dynamite and tunnel-drilling machines -- it passes over 16 viaducts and through 14 tunnels, all carved by hand into the rock. It's one of the masterpieces of civil engineering from the pioneering days of railway building.

4. WEST HIGHLAND LINE UNITED KINGDOM Britain's most stunning railway links the ports of Mallaig on the west coast of Scotland with Glasgow. The 90-minute journey skirts sombre lochs, lonely glens, moors, and castles before arriving at the aquamarine coast with views of the Small Isles Eigg, Muck and Rum. …

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