The possibility of the rails by Paul Scraton

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On a hot summer day in 1999, I stood inside the main hall of Zürich Hauptbahnhof and looked at the list of departures for our train, the 09:33 to Prague. It was a journey that would take us all of the day, crossing four international borders as we went. To a child of an island there was something thrilling about this. To be able to catch a train and cross whole countries. To get on board in a city where they spoke one language, and climb down onto the platform in a place where they spoke another. I was twenty years old. I had two friends with me. We had one mobile phone between us and I had just registered for my very first email account. In the top of my rucksack I carried the Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable. We had our Interrail tickets. We were ready to go.

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