The best railway carriage views in the world are often on the slow train. My choice in this weekend’s Daily Telegraph

WHAT is the best railway carriage view in the world? I was asked this weekend to write up my choice for Telegraph Travel. Spoilt for choice, here’s my selection. The UK really does have some special railway views. Aside from […]


October 19, 2015 Blog

‘Want to recapture the golden age of rail? Go back to Brunel, not British Rail.’ My article in the Daily Mail

MY ARTICLE from today’s Daily Mail: IT WAS known as God’s Wonderful Railway – and with good reason. In its glory days, until the drab hand of nationalisation fell on it in 1948, the old Great Western Railway was the […]


September 22, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed – and the bad old days of rail nationalisation

SURELY the railways were better in the good old days. Weren’t they? All the talk about rail renationalisation under new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn somehow implies it was better in the past when British Rail was in charge. I’ve certainly […]


September 21, 2015 Blog

The most delightful undiscovered area of Britain. How to get the best from travelling over the new Borders Railway from Edinburgh

How lovely. The story from the Independent on Sunday of my recent journey through the Scottish Borders – travelling along the new Borders Railway. http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/uk/scottish-borders-railway-brings-a-historic-region-back-into-focus-10499752.html


September 16, 2015 Blog

How I snuck ahead of the Queen on the new Borders Railway – Britain’s first domestic main line to be built for more than a century

NOT OFTEN in a lifetime do you get ahead of the Queen! But as Her Majesty opens Scotland’s new Borders Railway today – the longest domestic main line to be built in Britain for more than a century – I […]


September 9, 2015 Blog

Thrilled to be on inaugural train on Britain’s first new domestic main line for over a century

THIS week I’m privileged to be among the passengers on Britain’s first new domestic main line for a century – rolling through the delightful scenery of the Scottish Borders. I’ve written the story of the line in my new book […]


September 1, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed – and the line that never closed. Could this be the cheeriest railway in Britain?

  THE CARRIAGES are shabby and have seen better days – and the service is sparse, with just five trains each way over its 75-mile length. Some of the stations have primitive facilities, with barely enough shelter to shield passengers […]


August 6, 2015 Blog

Steaming to Victory – and my visit to Churchill’s ghostly Tube HQ at Down Street station

At last achieved my ambition of getting access to the spooky Down Street station on the Piccadilly Line, which I wrote about in my book Steaming to Victory. Here are some of my pix. Full of memories of Churchill – […]


July 31, 2015 Blog

A lovely evening with The Trains Now Departed at the Owl Bookshop – and thanks to all who came along to my talk

A LOVELY evening yesterday talking to local book enthusiasts in Camden about my new title The Trains Now Departed – and the prospects for HS2. It was a fun evening – and thanks to all who came along. Thanks, too, […]


July 28, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed: ‘Meticulous and extensive research – once started, it’s difficult to put down’, says National Railway Museum Review

A SUPER review of ‘The Trains Now Departed’ by Russ Rollings in the National Railway Museum Review. He writes: The fascinating stories are very readable, peppered with anecdotes and obscure facts. As with Michael Williams’ previous book Steaming to Victory, […]


July 26, 2015 Blog

Save the Gresley duck! I back authors’ and artists’ appeal – from the Camden New Journal

WHY we need to save the statue of Sir Nigel Gresley and his Mallard at King’s Cross station. My quote in this week’s Camden New Journal @gresleyduck


July 25, 2015 Blog

Join me for my talk on ‘The Lost Delights of Britain’s Railways’ next Monday July 27 in Camden

I’D BE VERY pleased to see you at my talk at the Owl Bookshop – one of London’s most charming independent bookshops – on ‘The Delights of Britain’s Railways’, based on my bestselling new book ‘The Trains Now Departed: Sixteen […]


July 20, 2015 Blog

Not railways, but a piece in my media writer role: Review of Ivan Fallon’s ‘Black Horse Ride’ in the Independent newspaper

THE global financial crisis was not just a failure of banking but of journalism, too – with the media in the dock for failing to warn an unsuspecting public of impending disaster. As a news editor might put it, “we […]


July 17, 2015 Blog

‘Where are the green silk blinds of the once luxurious Metropolitan Line?’ Lovely review of The Trains Now Departed in the Spectator: ‘Dreamlike…vivid…highly readable’

A lovely review of The Trains Now Departed by Andrew Martin, famous for his Jim Stringer detective novels. He writes: “In The Trains Now Departed Williams celebrates ‘the best of what is gone from our railways’ in 16 vivid, highly readable chapters. […]


July 9, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed: Sixteen Excursions into the Lost Delights of Britain’s Railways is recommended by ‘Choice’ Magazine

‘Fascinating’ – another nice mention of The Trains Now Departed in the latest  edition of ‘Choice’ magazine.


July 9, 2015 Blog

Steaming to Victory – setting off on a personal journey to the battle sites of World War 1

VERY EXCITED to be travelling tomorrow by train to the battle sites of WW1 to write a piece for the Daily Telegraph. This is a very personal journey for me, since my grandfather, Bertie Wenn, was injured at Passchendaele serving […]


July 2, 2015 Blog

Farewell Ian Allan – inspiration for The Trains Now Departed

  SO SORRY to hear of the death of Ian Allan, the patron saint of trainspotting, who fired up the imagination of a generation of schoolboys, with his ABCs of British Locomotives (and many other subjects). The huge passion of […]


June 30, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed: ‘An historian’s eye for detail and a novelist’s sense of pace’, says The Tablet magazine review

ANOTHER nice review of The Trains Now Departed, this time in The Tablet – the international Catholic weekly – which says, in reviewing three new books about railways: ‘The best of the three is The Trains Now Departed. Subtitled “sixteen […]


June 27, 2015 Blog

Train crash at Network Rail – and why the railways have fallen behind. The strategy is wrong

Earlier this year, after the chaos over Network Rail engineering failure at Kings Cross I wrote in the Daily Mail about how the strategy was wrong http://dailym.ai/1xsBmZ9 Not surprising with latest news from government that there is to be a review!


June 25, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed – and why rail travel is sexy again

Here’s my interview in the South China Morning Post about my life on the line… http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/article/1823397/why-train-travel-sexy-again-according-writer-michael


June 24, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed – ‘A fine tome…and an evocative read. Thank you for wonderful memories’, writes Radio 1 DJ Andy Peebles

A smashing letter from Radio 1 DJ Andy Peebles, who bought The Trains Now Departed: Sixteen Excursions into the Lost Delights of Britain’s Railways after hearing me talk about it on the Judy Spiers show on BBC radio. He tells […]


June 22, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed: Sixteen Excursions into the Lost Delights of Britain’s Railways named ‘Book of the Month’

A GLOWING review by leading railway writer Andrew Roden of my new book ‘The Trains Now Departed: Sixteen Excursions into the Lost Delights of Britain’s Railways’ in ‘Steam World’ – Britain’s best-selling historical railway magazine – which has made it […]


June 19, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed – another nice newspaper review

ANOTHER nice newspaper review of The Trains Now Departed – this time from the Westmorland Gazette. It was in this beautiful part of the north that I walked over the old tracks of the Stainmore Railway – once the highest […]


June 18, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed – and new book by Michael Palin

BY AN accident of geography, I happen to be a near neighbour in London of Michael Palin – a great railway enthusiast and  charming man. And, by another coincidence, both he and I have No 1. bestsellers on Amazon – […]


June 16, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed – and the lost railway heritage of London. Why I love Primrose Hill

How tragic that so much of London’s wonderful railway heritage has been lost. Here’s my article this week for the ILovePrimrose Hill website http://bit.ly/1IC6hrs   THE hordes of people who cross the Bridge Approach from Primrose Hill to Chalk Farm […]


June 14, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed is tops on Amazon – with all 5* reviews. And with lovely display in my local bookshops

Delighted to see that The Trains Now Departed is still ranked tops in its category on Amazon – with all five-star reviews. And it’s got a lovely display in our local bookshops in north London. Here’s the Primrose Hill Bookshop […]


June 11, 2015 Blog

‘The Trains Now Departed’ – a lovely response in the national media for my newest book on the lost delights of Britain’s railways

JUST three weeks ago, Penguin Random House published my latest book The Trains Now Departed: Sixteen Excursions into Lost Delights of Britain’s Railways. There’s been a lovely response from the national media, including extracts published by the ‘Daily Telegraph’, the […]


June 1, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed – ‘Like a novel coined in the style of magical realism’

I never thought my writing about railways would be compared to a novel – let alone magical realism. But here’s a nice spread based on my new book The Trains Now Departed from the ‘Western Morning News’ newspaper. See the […]


May 28, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed and the ruins of our lost railway heritage

I was struck, travelling from Liverpool Street today into Essex how much of our railway heritage is still falling into ruin. My picture here is of the old Burnham on Crouch station on the line to Southminster, used by London […]


May 27, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed is Kindle #No 1 Bestseller on railways. More sensuous than a book?

I sometimes worry about e-readers. Are they replacing books? Will books go the same way as old branch lines? What about the sensuous feel of a book, with its lovely illustrations and all the tactile qualities that go with it? […]


May 26, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed – and the world’s greatest train journeys

Just returned from Singapore and Hong Kong, where I gave a series of talks on the Greatest Train Journeys of the World, as well as signing copies of my newest book, The Trains Now Departed. It’s marvellous how the fondness […]


May 22, 2015 Blog

Delighted to see three of my books in Amazon Top 25 in railway history, including #No. 1 Bestseller

Three of my books The Trains Now Departed, Steaming to Victory and On the Slow Train Again all ranked in Amazon Top 25 in Railway History today – including #No 1 Bestseller. Keeps an author happy… http://amzn.to/1s9OcaN


May 21, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed in Rail magazine. ‘The perfect book for a long rail journey’

“Guides you through a lost world – The nostalgia of tomorrow.” A lovely review of my book from Philip Haigh, senior commentator in the current issue of Rail magazine – Britain’s best-selling modern railways publication:


May 21, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed in the Daily Telegraph

My article in the Daily Telegraph based on my chapter on the great days of British express trains from my new book The Trains Now Departed: Sixteen Excursions into the Lost Delights of Britain’s Railways – just published http://bit.ly/1ET6vGT


May 17, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed in the Independent and i newspapers

Here’s my article in today’s Independent and ‘i’ newspapers based on a chapter from my new book the Trains Now Departed, published tomorrow, May 7 http://ind.pn/1EX9MZe


May 6, 2015 Blog, The Independent

The whistle blows for publication of ‘The Trains Now Departed’ – out this week

IT’S finally publication week for my new book The Trains Now Departed, out on Thursday May 7 – when the whistle blows for departure on a project close to my heart that has lasted for three years – a mixture […]


May 4, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed – my newest book to be published on General Election day – May 7

IT’S sometimes hard to feel sympathetic to politicians, but I’m sharing some of their jitters this week since my newest book, The Trains Now Departed: Sixteeen Excursions into the Lost Delights of Britain’s Railways, is published on General Election day, May […]


May 2, 2015 Blog

The Trains Now Departed – some nice coverage in the Yorkshire Post

THE Yorkshire Post have run a nice piece on my chapter on ‘ghost trains’ in my new book The Trains Now Departed: Sixteen Journeys into The Lost Delights of Britain’s Railways – to be published on May 7. The picture […]


April 29, 2015 Blog, Uncategorized

The Trains Now Departed – and how railway enthusiasm became respectable again

IS RAILWAY enthusiasm becoming respectable at last? Here’s an extract from the introduction to my new book The Trains Now Departed, out on May 7: ‘AND why not, indeed? This sense of what the railways of the past signify to […]


April 24, 2015 Blog

Steaming to Victory – and the 70th anniversary of VE Day

With the 70th anniversary of VE Day coming up on May 8, I’m thinking of the heroes and heroines of the Home Front who I interviewed for my recent book Steaming to Victory. Here’s what I wrote in the book […]


April 21, 2015 Blog

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