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Parallel Lines

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  79 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
For 175 years the British have lived with the railway, and for a long while it was a love affair - the grandeur of the Victorian heyday, the glorious age of steam, the romance of Brief Encounter. Then the love affair turned sour - strikes, bad food, delays, disasters...Parallel Lines tells the story of these two railways: the real railway and the railway of our dreams. Tra ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 1st 2004 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
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Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Discover the railway of your dreams - and a new favourite author

One sign of a good book is that you really enjoy it, despite it being about a subject you have little or no interest in. 'Parallel Lines: Or, Journeys on the Railway of Dreams' is just such a book. I have no particular interest in trains or railways and yet this book inspires me to jump on the nearest train, and roam the network.

Part memoir, part travelogue, part love letter to the UK railway system, part railway history, and wholly
Paul Harris
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually rate books, or anything for that matter. Even less often do I actually review them. On this occasion though, I think that this book deserves a few notes on its brilliance. In truth, my enjoyment and feelings having *literally* just finished are more to do with that inherent pleasure that a chance discovery affords me; than perhaps the quality of the writing itself.

I picked this book off of a library shelf with nothing more that the cover to go on, I hadn't heard of the author be
Nick Davies
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
Though in many ways this was at times an enjoyable read, I am inclined to judge it slightly harshly by virtue of it having disappointed me. Picking up the book, the blurb promised part-autobiography and part-tribute to the British railway system, and though the book delivered this I was nevertheless left feeling let down.

The book is well-researched and the author is certainly a capable author in the sense of writing with relatively high confidence and quality. The book mixes aspects of history,
Julian Schwarzenbach
Started off as a reasonable travel book about railways (rather than trains, specifically), however, towards the end, Ian seemed to lose some of the spark that was present in the earlier chapters and I found myself skipping paragraphs to get to the end.
Rick Boardman
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: transport
We're all trainspotters at heart. Even thought we don't write down numbers.
Luke Farnish
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don't normally review books but as there are so few reviews of this, I feel it right that I contribute.

First and foremost, I really liked the book. Honestly, there were points reading it where I considered giving it five stars (although there were points too where I considered giving it only three). There are two main reasons I have not given the book 5 stars.

The first and more minor reason is the book rarely stays still. I don't like it when a book does not stay focused on the task at hand an
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: transport
This book was recommended in one of the Geoff Marshall "All the Stations" videos on YouTube. It is unlike any other book I have read about the railways in the UK. I liked the social observation that ran through the book. I've read much of the historical stuff before by authors such as Christian Wolmar, but I liked the way this information was introduced.
Ian Russell
May 24, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: railway enthusiasts, stressful flyers, British nostalgia freaks
Recommended to Ian by: indirectly, by a librarian (third party)
Shelves: journeys
I was given this book as a present after someone had recommended it to the giver as being Bryson-esque. I have no more interest in railways than the next man - to be pedantic, this is a book about railways, not trains, though trains do feature, naturally, like a book on marmalade would undoubtedly feature a bit of toast. Rails equal Parallel Lines (the permanent way).
I could see the comparison with Bryson, Ian Marchant is an easy read, Bryson-lite (maybe that's a bit unfair), slightly less world
Jun 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A companion to a brief sojourn on UK trains recently. Other reviewers have called this Bryson-lite, but I completely disagree. (Of course Bryson strikes me as a glib schmuck who is occasionally laugh out loud funny). Marchant on the other hand makes a passionate case for, in no particular order, smoking, leftist politics and the permanent way. And it's funny, really funny in places, but it's not cheap funny. It helps if one likes trains, but with that caveat, this is a terrific book.
Sep 28, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: railfans, trainspotters, and suchlike folks
Shelves: library_books
Really good collection of adventures riding the rails in Britain and Ireland. Last couple of chapters are mostly memoir-ish filler; I kinda skimmed through those after losing interest, but recommend the book.
Chris Lilly
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Nov 23, 2012
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Chris Sawle
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Jan 07, 2016
Ian Marchant
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Sep 11, 2012
T Johnson
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May 18, 2017
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Jul 26, 2016
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Jamie Collins
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Mar 18, 2018
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G Cornthwaite
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Feb 20, 2018
David Brand
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Ian Marchant wasn't born in Newhaven in East Sussex in 1958, but he often claims that he was because of his deep embarrasment about his real place of birth.

But he really did grow up in Newhaven, and went to school there, and he still sees it as home, even though it quite clearly isn't, given that he lives 250 miles away in Mid-Wales. He didn't graduate in Philosophy from St David's University Coll
More about Ian Marchant...