What a shock that was as a Trenitalia train, at least forty years old and liberally covered in graffiti, creaked into the station and pulled up at the platform. The hiss of the doors opening could well have been mistaken for a sigh of relief at the end of a heavy chore.
The Vale of Rheidol Light Railway was authorised by Act of Parliament in August 1897 and at the time of building it was state of the art narrow gauge construction that passed through terrain where it would have been almost impossible to build a standard gauge line without prohibitive costs.
The Talyllyn Railway is a narrow-gauge preserved railway in Wales that runs for nearly twelve kilometres from the town of Tywyn on the Mid-Wales coast to Nant Gwernol near the village of Abergynolwyn
The train arrived on time pulled by a tired looking electric engine that looked as though it had had a long working life and with carriages that were old but were comfortable and spacious and it pulled out of the station and began to efficiently pick up speed.
We have been to Jūrmala both by mini-bus and by taxi before but this time we decided to travel by train. Thankfully this only involved a journey of about thirty minutes or so because take it from me – this was not the Orient Express and certainly not one of the great railway journeys of the world.
Shortly out of Bratislava two men in military uniforms wandered through the train checking documents. I naturally assumed that they were checking tickets so was surprised when they showed no interest in these whatsoever and demanded travel documents instead. What a good idea it would have been therefore to take a passport!
There was a much better railway fare offer today and although we wanted to pay individually the man at the ticket office explained patiently (several times) that we could buy a group ticket for all of us for much less.
On a visit to Salzburg we went on a train journey and visited the village of Hallstatt, which claims to be the most attractive place in all of Austria. We were delighted to find that the carriage was one with individual compartments because these are our favourites and we settled in for the ride.
In this middle section the train has to ascend six-hundred metres through a series of helical tunnels and this part of the line was the most complicated to construct and was completed last. The route passes through thirty-seven tunnels in this section alone and across one large viaduct at Hornberg.
The Circumvesuviana is an electrified narrow-gauge railway that runs throughout the Sorrentine peninsula and we enjoyed a very scenic journey as the line passed through many tunnels and over several bridges.