Author(s): Andrew Martin
In the heroic days of rail travel, you could dine on kippers and champagne aboard the Brighton Belle; smoke a post-prandial cigar as the Golden Arrow closed in on Paris, or be shaved by the Flying Scotsman's on-board barber. Everyone from schoolboys to socialites knew of these glamorous 'named trains' and aspired to ride aboard them. In Belles and Whistles, Andrew Martin recreates five of these famous train journeys by travelling aboard their nearest modern day equivalents. Sometimes their names have survived, even if only as a footnote on a timetable leaflet, but what has usually - if not always - disappeared is the extravagance and luxury. As Martin explains how we got from there to here, evocations of the golden age contrast with the starker modern reality: from monogrammed cutlery to stirring sticks, from silence on trains to tannoy announcements, from compartments to airline seating. For those who wonder whatever happened to porters, dining cars, mellow lighting, timetables, luggage in advance, trunk murders, the answers are all here. Martin's five journeys add up to an idiosyncratic history of Britain's railways, combining humour, historical anecdote, reportage from the present and romantic evocations of the past.
The bestselling author of Underground, Overground recaptures the glamour of a lost age of rail travel
Praise for Underground, Overground 'I would strongly endorse Martin's book as the stop to get on at. -- Will Self Martin's knowledge is both encyclopaedic and full of quirky digressions, based on everyday observation ... this history has plenty of fun detailing the travails of the Underground's pioneering figures. Evening Standard A jaunty history ... studded with little observational gems ... he can occasionally stop you in your tracks with a well-turned phrase Sunday Times A sparky history of the tube. honours the Underground, and glories in its oddities Sunday Telegraph Seeing Martin puzzle his way through the history is half the fun, as are his lively interlocutors...the language is beautiful Financial Times For those who love a bit of darting about the Londinium subway whenever the chance comes, Underground, Overground will be a sweat-induced, claustrophobic treat The List Hugely entertaining...gives us all the lore and myths...Underground, Overground captures the same zest, zaniness and sense of marvel shown in the recent BBC Two series The Tube The Times
Andrew Martin is a journalist and author. His previous book for Profile, Underground, Overground (9781846684784), was a history of the London Underground. He has written for the Evening Standard, Sunday Times, Independent on Sunday, Daily Telegraph and New Statesman among others. His 'Jim Stringer' series of novels based around railways are published by Faber.