One epic, and collaborative, voyage. 40 individual train trips.

And you can be part of it.

The 2018 route (From – To : Train/Railway Name):

START/END (Central Hotel in Glasgow Central Station)

Glasgow – Carlisle : West Coast Main Line

Carlisle – Settle : Carlisle Settle Line

Settle – Leeds : Northern Rail

Leeds – London : East Coast Main Line

London – Paris : Eurostar

Paris – Moscow : (2 nights on the famous Paris-Moscow Express)

Moscow – Ulan Ude : Trans Siberian Express

Ulan Ude – Beijing : Trans Mongolian Express (or alternatively the Trans-Manchurian Express)

Beijing – Hanoi : Beijing-Nanning-Hanoi Through Train

Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) : Reunification Express

[Fly: Ho Chi Minh – Bangkok (no railway across Cambodia – 2013 plan included Bamboo Railway)]

Bangkok – Kuala Lumpur : Eastern & Oriental Express (1)

Kuala Lumpur – Singapore : Eastern & Oriental Express (2)

[FLY: Singapore-Darwin (or Singapore-Perth, but Darwin is my pref)

Darwin – Adelaide : The Ghan

Adelaide – Melbourne : Overland

Melbourne – Sydney : CountryLink

[Fly: Sydney – Auckland]

Auckland – Wellington : Northern Explorer

[Ferry: Wellington – Picton]

Picton – Christchurch : Coastal Pacific

Christchurch – Greymouth (RTN) : Tranzalpine

[Fly: Christchurch – Sydney]

Sydney – Brisbane : XPT

Brisbane – Cairns : Sunlander

[Fly: Cairns – Seoul]

Seoul – Busan : KTX – Gyeongbu Line

[Ferry: Busan – Fukuoka (“Beetle” JR Kyushu Jet Ferry)]

Fukuoka – Hiroshima : Shinkansen Mizuho

Hiroshima – Tokyo : Shinkansen Nozomi

[Fly: Tokyo – Los Angeles]

Los Angeles – New Orleans : Sunset Limited

New Orleans – Washington DC : Crescent

Washington DC – Chicago : Capitol Limited

Chicago – San Francisco (Emeryville) : California Zephyr

San Francisco – Portland : Coast Starlight

Portland – Vancouver : Cascades

Vancouver – Calgary : Rocky Mountaineer

[Bus: Calgary – Edmonton]

Edmonton – Toronto : The Canadian

Toronto – New York : Maple Leaf

New York – JFK Airport : Long Island Railroad

[Fly: New York (JFK) – London (LHR)]

Heathrow Airport – London : Heathrow Express

London – Fort William : Caledonian Sleeper

Fort Wiliam – Mallaig : The Jacobite (AKA “Hogwarts Express”)

[Ferry/Bus: Mallaig – Skye – Kyle of Lochalsh]

Kyle of Lochalsh – Inverness : Kyle Line

Inverness – Edinburgh : Highland Main Line

Edinburgh – Glasgow : Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway


This will actually be my second attempt at making this journey. A wee bit of history:

It was during my original “around the world by train” journey, in late 2013, that I first I started to fall over for no apparent reason. I had reached Novosibirsk in Siberia (on the famed Trans-Siberian Express), when I decided that it might be wise to abandon the journey there and then, and return home to Scotland for medical tests to find the cause of my increasing balance problem.

After I had zig-zagged all across Europe. Covering over 21,000km. So not a bad first effort.

In March 2015, and after 17 months of scans, lumbar punctures and blood tests to find the cause of my falls, I was finally diagnosed with spinocerebellar ataxia. A very rare, incurable (and progressive), neurological condition which will eventually see me in a wheelchair. Or worse.

“Ataxia” was completely new to me. Which isn’t that much of a surprise though really, as I have subsequently found out that I was not alone in my ignorance: 91% of the UK population have never heard of it either.

I know all about it now though!

I also discovered that a specific type of ataxia (Friedreich’s Ataxia) also affects children/young people too though. Children and young people who will never have the chance to see some of the things that I have been fortunate enough to see, or who will never have the chance to experience some of the things I have been lucky enough to experience.

Please watch the following two videos (the first of which was my introduction to ataxia after my diagnosis in 2015). Both videos feature a brave young girl called Millie-Mae Enderby, and are about her first diagnosis (when she was just 10 years old), and a later video which explains how ataxia affects her, and other teenagers, at an age when young people are very conscious of how they appear to others

And, rather sadly, I also learned that the medical research which aims to find a cure for this condition, and which is currently being done in a variety of medical laboratories across the planet, is totally reliant on charity for its continued funding.

So, to do my bit, and to raise some of the money needed, I started “walking”.

Between 2015 and 2017, and while I could still walk for long distances (although I increasingly had to rely on my walking stick, mainly for balance at that stage), I “walked”.

Raising £1,100, and immeasurable amounts of ataxia-awareness, at the same time.

During all of this time though, and in the back of my mind, I always had the goal of completing my original “round the world by train” journey (the journey that I was in the middle of, in 2013, when I first started to fall over).

So now that the progression of my own ataxia means that long-distance walking is now impossible for me (even shorter distances are now difficult), and as I would like to continue my fundraising/awareness-raising efforts, trains are back at the forefront of my mind.

Only this time around, my “round the world by train” journey will be done as yet another ataxia fundraising/awareness-raising event too.

My plan all along though (well, for the last wee while anyway), was to complete this trip when I was finally in a wheelchair (as rail travel involves a lot of sitting down anyway – and a “round the world by train – in a wheelchair” event would attract even more public/media attention).

But I’m now no longer feeling as confident in my future ability to do so. Because as well as losing the ability to walk, I can also expect to have problems with, and have already started to experience difficulties with, choking while talking & swallowing (caused by a weakening of my throat muscles). Two abilities that I will most-definitely want when travelling anywhere (talking to people, and eating local food, are two of the main reasons that I travel in the first place). So I now plan to complete this trip as soon as possible (which really means as soon as I have saved enough pennies – late 2018 is the target).

An “around the world by train – for charity” journey then?

[I might as well make good use of the research that I have already done anyway].

Around the world. By train? Why? ==