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Have you read our other magazine's site?

Europe's Seamless Air Rail Connections
by Jerry W. Bird

Jerry W. BirdOh, how I wish we had this type of seamless air rail connection in Canada!. Last spring's rail trip to Paris began shortly after we landed at London's Heathrow Airport. One of the conveniences of traveling in Europe is how major airports like Heathrow are so well integrated with rail transportation in one "seamless, " user friendly operation. Next time I go there by train, however, I vow to take a lot less luggage (we had seven pieces left over from our Africa trip) which made it a struggle whenever we changed from one method of conveyance to another. It was like being back in the CNR freight sheds in Edmonton lugging heavy cargo, but at that time I was getting paid for the job. Nevertheless the staff in each case was helpful in helping us locate carts and dollies.

Inset rail map- France and EnglandConnections were a snap! In what seemed like no time at all, after rumbling through London's suburbs and the lush, green English countryside, we were staring at the famous White Cliffs of Dover. Here at the clean, bright and spacious train station cafeteria I enjoyed perhaps the best fish and chips in my entire life. Fortunately it was an half hour before we began our "rock and roll" sea voyage, sitting shoulder to shoulder in the cramped, overcrowded quarters of a Channel Hovercraft. (Click for large Eurail map) 

The weather was stormy, and the English Channel so choppy that, from inside our crowded Hovercraft looking out, it reminded me of an old Bugs bunny cartoon. You may remember the one where Sylvester the cat is viewing life from the inside of a clothes dryer, before he emerges looking like a puff ball. In retrospect, it was all part of the day's adventure. After all, we were lucky to be aboard, because due to labor trouble in France, the whole transportation situation was unclear. We were on pins and needles for a while, thinking that we might have to change plans. However common sense and good fortune prevailed, and we were soon heading into the terminal at the French port city of Calais.

Later on I will relate my impressions of French Rail Travel; the cavernous railway stations of Paris, the station stops and rolling panorama of the French countryside. Form Paris, we took a side trip to Brittany, staying several nights with relatives at Gallicy (a quaint artists village) and taking a day trip to the walled fortress city of St. Malo- a true tourist haven. To get there, we drove through the enchanted forest, said to be the birthplace of Sir Lancelot of Arthurian legends. We had two days on and off the double decker tour buses which took us to all the highlights of Paris. It proved to be a real bargain.

After a week rushing here, there and everywhere on the Paris subway system, we made a glorious, relaxing return journey by train through the famous 'Chunnel' to London. The train was into the tunnel mouth, under the channel and back on dry land in what seemed like an instant, although we were having too much fun to time it. For those considering the trip, we will provide simple maps of the route, such as the inset (left), and a larger Eurail map showing how the routes connect to the rest of Europe, including Scandinavia and the British Isles. Maps are courtesy of Eurail

Daily Schedules between European cities and fares in US $, go to the following site:

Accommodation in Europe?
Hotels in London and the United Kingdom.
This web site is comprehensive guide that offers a large choice of online bookable hotels in London. Every hotel is presented with pictures, attractive rates, facilities and descriptions. It's search facility will help you make your choice easily and with no hassle.

Hotel reservations service in Amsterdam
The Netherlands. Check this comprehensive Web Site:

Booking Rail in UK

Question: What about a return to Historic Street Cars as a year-round tourist attraction and revenue generator? See our new series Streetcars & Street Scenes. It makes street sense.