Sunday, January 27, 2008

Trains viewed through a Monocle

I have always been fascinated by trains. Surely the fact that on my first month of life I was already a train traveller, plus the fact that both grandfather and father worked in them played a major part. Model trains were always a fixture at my parent's house during the holiday season, me and my brother playing like crazy with them. Travelling by train from Thessaloniki all the way up to London in 1987 was a milestone for me.Even my diploma thesis at the University was about trains.

So imagine my joy when my favourite magazine, Monocle, dedicated its latest issue to trains! While train-spotting always reminded the average man of nerds, and train travel had long lost its glamour (since Orient express stopped travelling across Europe), in recent years it is coming back with a vengeance.

Launched in February 2007, Monocle is a global briefing covering international affairs, business, culture and design. Head quartered in London with bureaux in Tokyo, Sydney, Zürich and New York, Monocle appears 10 times a year in print and is updated constantly at Developed for an international audience hungry for information across a variety of sectors, Monocle's team of award-winning editors and correspondents have been drawn from The New York Times, The Independent on Sunday, the BBC, CBC and a host of other news and current affairs outlets. More of a book than a magazine, Monocle's designed to be highly portable (it's lightweight and compact) and collectable (it's thick and robust). On-line, the focus is on broadcasting with a wide array of films, slide shows and audio reports. Edited by Wallpaper* founder and International Herald Tribune columnist Tyler Brûlé, Monocle offers a comprehensive global briefing under a single editorial brand. In print and on-line, writers and photographers are dispatched to over 50 countries every issue to deliver stories on forgotten states, alluring political figures, emerging brands, fresh forces in popular culture and inspiring design solutions.

So Monocle having a train issue is this weekend's treat for me - with in-depth analysis of emerging global trends in train travel, the way it affects global business and politics (yes it does, just look at the North -South Korea first train in ages), and even the editor's point dedicated to trains. It also features men and women's fashion photographed in (yes!) trains: Women's fashion, seen in the photo above, in the train from Cologne to Leipzig. Men's fashion on the other hand was photographed on the N700 model of Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo to Fukuoka (below and on the cover picture earlier), in Japan. A dream combination of highly styled trains and clothes!

And inside the Shinkansen:

There is a big feature on the TransAsya Express from Istanbul to Lake Van (final destination Tehran) on Turkish Railroads, with amazing photography by Andres Gonzales:

Above: a Turkish steward and an Iranian passenger dance in the dining car.
Below: Swiss bikers enjoy a stop

Above: Passing through Malatya.
Below: The military checkpoint in Beyan.

There is an article about the re-emergence of night trains across Europe, with a great look at the inside of the new City Night Line trains by Deutsche Bahn (below). Can a newly designed and re-imagined Orient Express be far behind? Let's hope not!


  1. Λατρεύω τα τραίνα επίσης... κι ένα από τα μελλοντικά must do είναι το ταξίδι του orient express (passe ξεpasse τι να γίνει? η δική μου γενιά μ' αυτές τις εμμονές μεγάλωσε?) missed you!

  2. ωραίες φωτογραφίες...θα το βρω να το διαβάσω...soyouLiKETRAiNS...;)