Not all the trains in the tables run every day, but all have been scheduled to run regularly at some time between June and September 2003. Many European countries still schedule additional trains during July and August, and may temporarily suspend others. The schedules in this review represent, as far as known at the time of compilation, the best during the whole period.

One-off special runs or excursions are not included: for inclusion a train must be regularly scheduled, even if only once a week or only during certain months. Timings for ’conditional’ services are also excluded, but regular ’restricted’ stops, such as those where trains call to set down or pick up only, are included.

Data for the tables is taken mainly from the Thomas Cook European and Overseas timetables, supplemented and adjusted where possible from public timetables issued by the various railways and, in some cases, working timetables. Websites have proved of some value in checking data but only where specific details are sought. More useful are contacts with railway officials and seasoned performance-watchers.

Distances represent actual route-km expressed to the nearest 0·1 km where known. Some are rounded from more exact figures and thus some speeds may not exactly correspond to distance divided by stated journey time. Tariff-km, used as a fare basis and not always representing true geographical distance, are avoided.

Dwell time at destination stations is deducted from departure time where known. In some cases an estimate is made based on previously-available information. This means that some schedules may actually be faster than shown. Operators which seem to be misrepresented thereby are urged to contact the writer at

Table I lists only the fastest scheduled services between any two stops in either direction, so that a variety of different point-to-point runs can be listed. Without imposing a limit of seven entries per country, Japan or France would leave no room for others.

Table II covers notable, accelerated or otherwise interesting runs, whether including intermediate stops or not, and not necessarily covering the entire run from station of origin to final destination.

As always, the compiler is indebted to various railway representatives and others who follow train performance out of interest. In this review, the valued help of the following is acknowledged: Harel Even of Israel, José Ramón Su