Train Travel

Thursday, 21 March 2019

BBC "Race Across the World"

It's been more than a year since the final episode of Season 30 of The Amazing Race was broadcast. Season 31 was filmed months ago, but isn't scheduled to premiere until 22 May 2019. If you are looking for a fix of travel "reality" television in the meantime, I recommend... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 21 March 2019, 16:00 ( 4:00 PM) | Comments (0)

Friday, 5 October 2018

A review of the Gemini PDA

[Is this the best mobile data communicator for travellers? Or just the smallest one with a usable keyboard?] In September 2017, I wrote one of the first hands-on reviews of the prototype and plans for the Gemini PDA after I was part of a small meet-up in San Francisco... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 5 October 2018, 10:12 (10:12 AM) | Comments (14)

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The Amazing Race 30, Episode 2

Reykjavik (Iceland) - Amsterdam (Netherlands) - Antwerp (Belgium) This episode of The Amazing Race, like the previous one, featured helicopter shots of spectacular Icelandic scenery. They helped show why Icelandic tourism marketers have been so successful in recent years in changing perceptions of the country as an aviation hub. Flying... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 10 January 2018, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (0)

Monday, 1 January 2018

Bicycling the Danube, Part 2: Practicalities

Cycling the Danube (Part 2 of 3): Part 1: Pros and Cons Part 2: Practicalities Countries, Routes, and Signs Choices of Route and Direction Weather and Seasons Paper Maps Telephone and Internet Digital Maps Other Web Sites and Apps Language Money Food Water and Toilets Dogs, Insects, and Other... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 1 January 2018, 13:00 ( 1:00 PM) | Comments (2)

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

What would happen if a robot got hit by a train?

A couple of weeks ago, while waiting for a commuter train back to San Francisco from Redwood City, I had an unexpected and disturbing encounter with one of the "self-driving" motorized delivery robots that are currently being tested in Redwood City. The robot -- a knee-high wheeled box about the... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 29 August 2017, 12:39 (12:39 PM) | Comments (12)

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Amazing Race 29, Episode 10

Seoul (Korea) - Incheon (Korea) - Chicago, IL (USA) - Joliet, IL (USA)- Chicago, IL (USA) [Old and new in Seoul: Sungnyemun (Namdaemun) Gate is one of the original gates in the wall surrounding the fortress-city of Seoul. Most of the wall is long gone, and the gate is now... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 1 June 2017, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (0)

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Amtrak improves long-distance bicycle transport

Over the last month, Amtrak has quietly rolled out a major upgrade to its services for transporting bicycles on long-distance trains: Amtrak has added bike racks or hooks for unboxed bikes in the baggage cars of almost all of its long-distance trains. Kudos to Amtrak, whose headquarters isn't always so... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 13 October 2016, 07:41 ( 7:41 AM) | Comments (0)

Friday, 8 April 2016

The Amazing Race 28, Episode 7

Garni (Armenia) - Yerevan (Armenia) - Tbilisi (Georgia) - Mtskheta (Georgia) - Tbilisi (Georgia) When you hear, "Georgia", do you think, "wine"? If not, why not? Georgia is about to host the UN World Tourism Organization's First Global Conference on Wine Tourism later this year. Perhaps that's one of the... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 8 April 2016, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (1)

Friday, 25 March 2016

Places in the news: Brussels and Buenos Aires

[National Monument to the Victims of State Terrorism in Buenos Aires, visited yesterday by US President Obama] News and events, even on the other side of the world, have more impact when we can relate them to our own experiences. In the last few days, I've been thinking a... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 25 March 2016, 19:46 ( 7:46 PM) | Comments (0)

Friday, 13 March 2015

The Amazing Race 26, Episode 4

Phuket (Thailand) - Bangkok (Thailand) The teams of travellers on The Amazing Race 26 were given a weird array of tasks this week, most of which had little relevance to normal visitor activities. My friends with more experience and knowledge than I have about travel in Thailand found the episode... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 13 March 2015, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (0)

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Peak Travel: Envisioning a post-air-travel age

One of the more disruptive consequences of peak oil is likely to be peak air travel. What does peak air travel mean? Why is it likely? Why haven't you already heard more about it? And what business and investment opportunities does this coming disruption create? I've been writing about the... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 9 October 2014, 21:42 ( 9:42 PM) | Comments (6)

Friday, 3 October 2014

The Amazing Race 25, Episode 2

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (USA) - London, England (U.K.) - Oxford, England (U.K.) Once again, as has often been the case on The Amazing Race, the potentially decisive choice in this episode was the one that none of the teams of racers made: taking the Heathrow Express train from... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 3 October 2014, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (0)

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

A visit to Hazebrouck

["Hazebrouck en Flandre." Jersey ("maillot") of the Hazebrouck-based CCFVL cycling club.] One of the unexpected high points of my summer bicycle trip from the Swiss Alps to the Scottish Highlands was a visit to the town of Hazebrouck in French Flanders, from which my family name is [most likely]... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 9 September 2014, 11:27 (11:27 AM) | Comments (4)

Monday, 28 July 2014

Speaking at SXSW Eco in Austin, 6-8 Oct. 2014

I've accepted an invitation to speak at the South By Southwest Eco conference on sustainability in Austin, TX, 6-8 October 2014: "Peak Travel" : Envisioning the Post-Air Travel Age The aviation industry hopes to obtain enough cheap biofuel to sustain air travel without diverting land, water, or labor from food... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 28 July 2014, 16:24 ( 4:24 PM) | Comments (6)

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Amazing Race 23, Episode 8

Al Ain (UAE) - Bandung (Indonesia) This week the cast and crew of The Amazing Race 23 had to make about as long and awkward a journey as any within (depending on how you define it) a single continent: from Al Ain (UAE) on the Arabian Peninsula in far West... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 24 November 2013, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (0)

Monday, 27 May 2013

A train trip to Portland

[Dawn on Mt. Shasta from the Amtrak "Coast Starlight", 13 May 2013] I took the train up to Portland and back earlier this month to cover a hearing in the matter of John Brennan, the Naked American Hero who took off all his clothes at a TSA checkpoint at... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 27 May 2013, 18:22 ( 6:22 PM) | Comments (6)

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Amazing Race 22, Episode 8

Grindelwald (Switzerland) - Dresden (Germany) - Berlin (Germany) [The new U.S.-built Berlin Wall, with its sentry boxes, extending out from one wing of the Brandenburg Gate, near right, around the new U.S. Embassy, at rear] This week The Amazing Race 22 sent the racers to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin,... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 21 April 2013, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (1)

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

"Mission Creep at the TSA?"

In the February/March 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine, Christopher Elliott discussses how the TSA has expanded its activities from air travel to other activities: You might encounter a TSA screening area when you"re at the train station or the subway. In one memorable 2011 incident, Amtrak passengers disembarking... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 16 January 2013, 13:53 ( 1:53 PM) | Comments (0)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Megabus will try again in California

Why does the USA, with such a good road system (which provides a huge government subsidy to road transportation operators including truck and bus companies) have such bad long-distance bus service? Is it because for so long Greyhound and Trailways had a duopoly, and then merged to become the sole... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 12 December 2012, 07:11 ( 7:11 AM) | Comments (3)

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Amazing Race 21, Episode 10 (season finale)

Palma de Mallorca (Spain) - Barcelona (Spain) - Tours (France) - Loire Valley (France) - Paris (France) - New York, NY (USA) [Part of the vast, grand, but unused Canfranc train station at the Spanish portal of the Somport rail tunnel through the Pyrenees. This should be the main passenger... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 9 December 2012, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (1)

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Amazing Race 20, Episode 5

Turin (Italy) - Ehrwald (Austria) - Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany) - Hohenschwangau (Germany) - Füssen (Germany) - Schwangau-Horn (Germany) Slovenian train leaving for Ljubljana from Meidling station, Vienna (Austria) Despite a visit to Mad Ludwig's castle at Neuschwanstein -- the best place in Bavaria to find long lines and crowds of other... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 18 March 2012, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (1)

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Amazing Race 20, Episode 1

Santa Ynez, CA (USA) - Los Angeles, CA (USA) - Salta (Argentina) - Cafayate (Argentine) The route of the first episode of season 20 of The Amazing Race this week was billed by CBS as being from "Santa Barbara, California, to Santa Barbara, Argentina". In reality, the race started in... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 19 February 2012, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (1)

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Amazing Race 19, Episode 10

Brussels (Belgium) - Amsterdam (Netherlands) - Panama City (Panama) The outcome of this week's episode of The Amazing Race 19 was determined by yet another challenge in identifying the signal amid the noise: The racers were told that their clue could be found somewhere on the patterned and printed costumes... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 4 December 2011, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (1)

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Amazing Race 19, Episode 9

Copenhagen (Denmark) - Billund (Denmark) - Hamburg (Germany) - Brussels (Belgium) - Ghent (Belgium) - Geraardsbergen (Belgium) - Beersel (Belgium) - Brussels (Belgium) After 19 seasons, The Amazing Race finally made it to Belgium. But at least they did it right, spending almost all of a two-part episode visiting both... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 27 November 2011, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (1)

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Amazing Race 19, Episode 2

Taipei, Taiwan (Republic of China) - Jakarta (Indonesia) - Yogyakarta (Indonesia) Getting from Taipei, Taiwan, to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, presented a potentially more interesting challenge for the cast of The Amazing Race 19 than anything the teams of travellers had to do once they got to Jogja. Yogyakarta is a substantial... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 2 October 2011, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (0)

Sunday, 6 March 2011

The Amazing Race 18, Episode 3

Broken Hill, N.S.W. (Australia) - Sydney, N.S.W. (Australia) - Narita (Japan) - Kamakuro (Japan) - Minamiashigara (Japan) - Kurihama (Japan) Fare and route maps and ticket vending machines, Narita (City) Rail Station (Click photo for higher-resolution version) This week's leg of The Amazing Race 18 began with all of the... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 6 March 2011, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (6)

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Off to Albuquerque on Amtrak

I'm off to Albuquerque on Amtrak this morning to observe and report on the trial next week of "Freedom Flyer" Phil Mocek, the person to be prosecuted for (nonviolently, politely, and legally) questioning the TDSA's "security" procedures at ABQ airport. I'll be posting updates on the trial at PapersPlease.org. But... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 4 December 2010, 06:10 ( 6:10 AM) | Comments (2)

Sunday, 18 April 2010

A lesson from Berlin to take to Strasbourg

I spent a brillant spring day on Saturday strolling down from the hostel where I've been staying in the Prenzlauer district of the former East Berlin, gentrified but still diverse in ways that remind me of some of the parts of Brooklyn closest to Manhattan, into Berlin's "Mitte" (downtown), past... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 18 April 2010, 08:40 ( 8:40 AM) | Comments (3)

Sunday, 12 April 2009

The Amazing Race 14, Episode 8

Phuket (Thailand) - Bangkok (Thailand) Since Thailand isn't one of my favorite countries, nor Bangkok one of my favorite cities, and I've been in both only briefly, I thought it would be better to give you a chance to hear from people who know and like these places better than... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 12 April 2009, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (1)

Sunday, 15 March 2009

The Amazing Race 14, Episode 5 (Trains in Russia, India, and China)

Krasnoyarsk (Russia) - Novosibirsk (Russia) A certain amount of our time while travelling is spent, inevitably, in "waiting rooms". Quite often there is only one train or plane a day on a given route, and a connection between two such daily schedules may leave you a 1-hour layover, or a... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 15 March 2009, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (2)

Travel reading, travel writing, and the public library

[The Fells Branch of the Wellesley Free Library, where I got my first library card] I spent the weekend in Sacramento, where I was interviewed by Jeffrey Callison on Capital Public Radio's Insight show (the segment with me is from 20-35 minutes into the audio archive) and gave one of... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 15 March 2009, 19:45 ( 7:45 PM) | Comments (3)

Sunday, 1 March 2009

The Amazing Race 14, Episode 3

Salzburg (Austria) - Munich (Germany) - Bucharest (Romania) - Brasov (Romania) - Bran (Romania) Why are we still in Europe, still making our way only slowly East, three weeks into the season of The Amazing Race 14 ? We'll tackle that question next week. But for now, let's look at... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 1 March 2009, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (1)

AmEx cancelled my card. Now what should I do?

A week ago today I reported on the announcement by American Express of new terms effective 2 April 2009 for personal AmEx cards issued in the USA, under which, in order to obtain or retain an AmEx card, you will have to "agree" that AmEx has your "consent" to send... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 1 March 2009, 16:17 ( 4:17 PM) | Comments (11)

Sunday, 15 February 2009

The Amazing Race 14, Episode 1 (Trains in Europe)

Los Alamitos, CA (USA) - Locarno (Switzerland) - Verzasca Dam (Switzerland) - Interlaken (Switzerland) - Stechelberg (Switzerland) This season of The Amazing Race began with a pair of challenges in European rail route planning, involving connecting trains and combinations of flights and trains. I've faced very similar problems on recent... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 15 February 2009, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (8)

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Some places I recommend

One of my most frequently asked questions is, "Where should I go on my next trip?" Usually, I refuse to answer, except to say that you should make your own choices, according to your own self-awareness of your own tastes, and not rely on my advice or that of anyone... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 24 September 2008, 10:43 (10:43 AM) | Comments (5)

Sunday, 8 October 2006

The Amazing Race 10, Episode 4

Vac (Vietnam) - Hanoi (Vietnam) - Cha La (Vietnam) - Bai Chay / Halong City (Vietnam) - Halong Bay (Vietnam) After returning to Hanoi from an outlying village, The Amazing Race 10 headed off to Halong Bay, a World Heritage Site and perhaps the best-known tourist attraction in northern Vietnam.... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 8 October 2006, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (2)

Wednesday, 1 February 2006

Downtown parking and land use priorities

Every day on my way from the BART train station to my office at Airtreks.com in a highrise building South of Market in downtown San Francisco (the most densely populated neighborhoood in the USA west of the Mississippi), I pass a 50-story residential condominium tower -- and included parking garage... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 1 February 2006, 21:23 ( 9:23 PM) | Comments (0)

Tuesday, 22 March 2005

The Amazing Race 7, Episode 4

Mendoza (Argentina) - La Lunta (Argentina) - Buenos Aires (Argentina) - Tigre (Argentina) - Vicente Casares (Argentina) Train to Tigre at Retiro station (photo by Ruth Radetsky) Argentina is a huge country -- the eighth largest in the world in land area, larger than any country in Africa -- with... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 22 March 2005, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (1)

Thursday, 17 March 2005

"Identification and Anonymity of Travellers" at CFP

The program for this year's Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference 12-15 April in Seattle has been posted. I'll be giving a presentation on "Identification and Anonymity of Travellers" as part of an all-day workshop on "Vanishing Anonymity" organized by The Anonymity Project on Tuesday, 12 April. The workshop, and the... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 17 March 2005, 23:11 (11:11 PM) | Comments (1)

Tuesday, 30 November 2004

The Amazing Race 6, Episode 3

Voss (Norway) - Stockholm (Sweden) - Häggvik (Sweden) - Stockholm (Sweden) OK, call me a whiner: Last week I complained that the current "reality" television contestants on The Amazing Race aren't like the real people who take trips around the world. This week my complaint is that the tasks the... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 30 November 2004, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (2)

Tuesday, 16 November 2004

The Amazing Race 6, Episode 1

Chicago, IL (USA) - Reykjavik (Iceland) - Hvolsvollur (Iceland) - Vatnajokoll Glacier (Iceland) - Breidarmerkur Lagoon (Iceland) - Grindavik (Iceland) From the start, this first episode of The Amazing Race 6 was a bit more complicated a production than usual -- both for the television show and for my column.... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 16 November 2004, 23:59 (11:59 PM) | Comments (2)

Tuesday, 10 August 2004

The Amazing Race 5, Episode 6

Giza (Egypt) - Cairo (Egypt) - Luxor (Egypt) The most interesting lesson for world travellers in this week's episode of The Amazing Race may have been in the decision the racers weren't allowed to make for themselves: whether to travel by air, land, or water from the Great Pyramid at... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 10 August 2004, 23:51 (11:51 PM) | Comments (0)

Wednesday, 28 July 2004

Preliminary injunction against MBTA bag searches denied

The motion for a preliminary injunction against searches MBTA passengers' baggage without warrants or particularized suspicion was denied this morning, after yesterday's oral argument , according to the AP. No meaningful appeal is possible, since the issues had been narrowed (whether by the judge or by consent of the parties... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 28 July 2004, 12:37 (12:37 PM) | Comments (1)

Friday, 16 July 2004

"Throw Momma from the train" (reprise)

My entry, Throw Momma from the train? inspired my real momma , Marguerite Helen (who can't drive, and rides the trains a lot, including MBTA rapid treansit and commuter trains and Amtrak), to write a song. "It just kept coming into my head as I went to bed last night."... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 16 July 2004, 12:05 (12:05 PM) | Comments (1)

Thursday, 15 July 2004

"Throw Momma from the train"?

Press release: TSA Begins Third Phase of Rail Security Experiment Beginning Monday, passengers may be screened for explosives while traveling on Connecticut's Shoreline East commuter rail as part of the third stage of a pilot program exploring new measures for rail security. Passengers boarding from one of the eight Shoreline... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 15 July 2004, 13:44 ( 1:44 PM) | Comments (0)

Sunday, 11 July 2004

Road Trip Russia

The epigraph to my first book, The Practical Nomad: How To Travel Around the World , is San Francisco poet laureate Lawrence Ferlinghetti's "Recipe for happiness in Khabarovsk or anyplace" ("One grand boulevard with trees / with one grand café in sun ..."). Khabarovsk isn't the equal of Vladivostok in... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 11 July 2004, 12:26 (12:26 PM) | Comments (0)

Friday, 25 June 2004

National Lawyers Guild advises MBTA passengers on right not to consent to search

As a member of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), a Masschusetts native, a regular rider of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority on my visits back East, and an advocate for travellers, I was greatly pleased by today's announcement by the Massachusetts Chapter of the NLG of a public awareness campaign... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 25 June 2004, 11:57 (11:57 AM) | Comments (0)

Tuesday, 22 June 2004

More mandatory surprise warrantless searches of Amtrak passengers

The USA Transportation Security Administration is conducting a second round of tests this month of mandatory surprise warrantless searches of passengers and baggage on Amtrak trains, this time at Washington (DC) Union Station -- located, ironically, just 3 blocks from the Supreme Court of the USA. As in the first... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 22 June 2004, 14:04 ( 2:04 PM) | Comments (0)

Sunday, 23 May 2004

Mixed reaction to police stops and ID checks on Mass. transit

Headlines today in Boston's two main newspapers exemplify the mixed reaction to yesterday's announcement that MBTA transit police, following training by Massachusetts state troopers (not a good sign, for those familiar with the reputation of the Mass. "staties"), plan to begin warrantless stops and "identification checks" of subway, streetcar, and... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 23 May 2004, 12:52 (12:52 PM) | Comments (0)

Friday, 30 April 2004

USA to start searching rail passengers

TSA to Screen AMTRAK, MARC Passengers at New Carrollton, Md., in Pilot Program with National Potential WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Asa Hutchinson, Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Rear Adm. David M. Stone, Acting Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration; and officials... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 30 April 2004, 11:38 (11:38 AM) | Comments (0)

Monday, 26 April 2004

Fare fraud on the Airtrain to JFK Airport

In New York last week for the Travelcom travel marketing, distribution, and technology conference and trade show, I had my first chance to ride the new Airtrain shuttle between the terminals at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the Howard Beach station on the New York City subway's A-train, and the... (...Read Entire Entry)
Link | Posted by Edward, 26 April 2004, 21:22 ( 9:22 PM) | Comments (0)

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