This month marks the end of a venerable travel publication that served European rail passengers for 140 years. The Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable has been a ubiquitous companion for train travelers since 1873, but it seems that the internet and the advent of smartphone apps have sealed the fate of a once indispensable guide.
For years I used the European timetable to plot and plan my rail travels around the continent. Cosseted with my maps, guide books and the comprehensive Cook’s timetable, I’d calculate routes and sweat over connections that would enable me to squeeze ever hour out of my European trips. I admit that I’ve succumbed to the siren call of iPad apps, but I’ve never completely forsaken my Cook’s for planning long, involved trips.
Surprisingly, throughout the 140 year history of the Thomas Cook Rail Timetable the guide book has only had five editors. Brendon Fox, the current editor, has been at the helm for 28 years. Rumor has it that he and his team will be resurrecting the European timetable as an independent publication. If they do, I’ll be first online to buy a copy.