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Parallel Lines Or, Journeys on the Railway of Dreams by Ian Marchant

Parallel Lines Or, Journeys on the Railway of Dreams


Parallel Lines Or, Journeys on the Railway of Dreams by Ian Marchant

For 175 years the British have lived with the railway, and for a long while it was a love affair - the grandeur of the Victorian heyday, the glorious age of steam, the romance of Brief Encounter. Then the love affair turned sour - strikes, bad food, delays, disasters...Parallel Lines tells the story of these two railways: the real railway and the railway of our dreams. Travelling all over Britain, Ian Marchant examines the history of the British railway and meets those who still hold the railways close to their hearts - the model railway enthusiasts, the train-spotters and bashers (a hybrid of train-spotting where the individual - usually male - has to travel behind a certain locomotive in order to catalogue it), the steam enthusiasts. He swaps stories with commuters at the far reaches of London suburbia, he travels to deserted railway museums, and smokes cigarettes on remote, windswept stations in the furthest corners of Scotland, turning his characteristic eye for character, humour and surprise to one of the great shared experiences of the British nation.


'Compelling... Part Bill Bryson, part Nick Hornby, part memoir and part pastiche... Light, lively and, above all, right: what every enthusiast should be expected to know'
The Times

'Michael Palin meets Nick Hornby meets What the Victorians Did for Us... wacky and amiable'
Independent on Sunday

'A gloriously disingenuous front for the most acerbic and humorous criticism of public transport policy ... a more entertaining and incisive read will not be found this year'
Glasgow Herald

'The trip keeps its pace and purpose, fuelled by the genial, flexible rhythms of the prose and enriched by two centuries of railway-culture hinterland'

About the Author

Ian Marchant has run a second-hand bookshop, and is a comedian, singer, song-writer and cabaret performer. Parallel Lines is his first work of non-fiction. He lives in Devon.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st July 2004


Ian Marchant

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Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


320 pages


Trains & railways: general interest
Travel writing



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