So Many Trains, So Little Time.
I was recently asked to review a new book titled The World’s Most Exotic Railway Journeys. The author is Brian Solomon, with several others listed as contributors. I confess that I haven’t had the chance to do more than skim it, but I am waiting for several days of heavy rain so I’ll have time to savor it, front to back.
There are no less than 50 trains included in this book and any number of them–probably most–would be worthy additions to our personal bucket lists. There is at least one photo to accompany the text for each of the trains and, since most of the time we ride trains for the scenery through which it passes, most of the photos are predictably gorgeous.
The operable word in the book’s title is “exotic”. Granted, words means different things to different people but, at the risk of appearing nitpicky, “exotic” is not a word I would use to describe several of the trains featured in the book–the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, for example. I mean, it’s Utica, New York, for heaven’s sake! On the other hand, trains in Pakistan and Sri Lanka are included and I would certainly think that any train there qualifies as “exotic”.
I can personally testify to the worth of several trains on Solomon’s list, including the trans-Siberian/trans-Mongolian route; the Ghan, running between Darwin and Adelaide in Austalia; and the Bergen-Flaam Railway in Norway. “Exotic” works for each of those, although each is quite different fro the other two.
Brian Solomon has written an entire shelf full of other books about trains and railroading, many with a narrower focus: railroad signals, vintage diesel locomotives, classic steam locomotives, and so forth. This one is an excellent guide for folks like me who just want a little help deciding which train ride should be the next one. The World’s Most Exotic Railway Journeys is available through Amazon.