The 100 Trains Voyage for Ataxia.
50,000km RTW for charity. By train.

100 Trains. THE charity event of 2016.

What? A 50,000km train journey around the world. And not just any old trains either. The highest. The longest. The most iconic.

Why? To raise vital research funds for Ataxia UK, and as a vehicle to unite ataxia sufferers, supporters and charities worldwide.

When? The journey will start on January 23 2016 (my 50th birthday - and I can't think of a better way of marking the occasion!).

Train highlights: A'REX; Adirondack; Akbar Express; Andean Explorer; Andean Lakes Crossing (bus/ferry); Bergen Railway (Bergensbanen); Berlin-Warszawa-Express; Bernina Express; Blue Train; Bosfor Night Train; c571 Steam Engine; Caledonian Sleeper (The Deerstalker); California Zephyr; Cambrian Coast Line; Cambrian Line; Canadian; Carajas Railroad; Cardinal; Cassiopeia; Centovalli Railway; Cévenol; Chinese Bullet Train; City of New Orleans; Coast Starlight; Coastal Pacific; Conwy Valley Line; Copper Canyon Railway; Countrylink; Crescent; Death Railway; Dovre Railway (Dovrebanen); Elster Valley Railway (Elsterbahn); Empire Builder; Enterprise (Belfast-Dublin); Eurostar; Fairy Queen; Ffestiniog Railway (Snowdonia); Flåm Railway (Flåmsbana); Ghan; Glacier Express; GoldenPass Panoramic Train; Gornergratbahn; Grand Canyon Railway; Great Western Railway; Guangzhou-Zhuhai Intercity Mass Rapid Transit; Gyeongbu Line; Hadrian's Wall Country Line; Hamanasu; Harz Mountain Railway - Brockenbahn; Harz Mountain Railway - Harzquerbahn; Harz Mountain Railway - Selketalbahn; Heahthrow Express; Heart of Wales Line; Hershey Railway; HEX (Harz Elbe Express); Highland Main Line; Himalayan Queen; Hiram Bingham; Inaho; Indian Pacific; Inlandsbanan; Jacobite Steam Train; Jose Cuervo Express; Jungle Railway; Kangra Queen; Kisuki Line/Gei-bi Line; Kyle Line; La Tronchita; Ligne de Cerdagne (Little Yellow Train); Llanberis Lake Railway; Lokmanya Express; Long Island Railroad; Maharaja's Express; Mont Blanc Express; Moonlight Echigo; Nariz del Diablo Railroad ("Devil's Nose"); New Mexico Railrunner; Night Riviera Sleeper; Nilgiri Mountain Railway; North Yorkshire Moors Railway; Northern Explorer; Ocean; Overland; Pacific Surfliner; Rameswaram Express (Boat Mail); Reunification Express; Rovos - Pride of Africa; Sagano Scenic Railway; San Joaquin; San-in Line; San-yo Line; Semmering Railway; Settle-Carlisle Railway; Severn Valley Railway; Shanghai Airport Maglev Train; Shatabdi Express; Shinkansen; Sierra Verde Express; Snowdon Mountain Railway; Sørland Railway (Sørlandsbanen); Southwest Chief; St.Ives Bay Line; Strathspey Steam Railway; Strba Rack Railway; Tatra Electric Railway; Texas Eagle; Thalys; Torbay Express; Townliner (Suspended Monorail); Train des Pignes; Tramway du Mont-Blanc; Trans-Asia Express; Transpyrénéen; Tranzalpine; Trembler (Corsica); Tren a Las Nubes; Tren de Serra; Tren de Sóller; Tren Francès; Tren Patagonico; Tren Turistico de la Araucania; Udarate Menike; Vale of Rheidol Railway; Victoria Peak Funicular Railway (The Peak Tram); Vitoria-Minas Railroad; Welsh Highland Railway; Welsh Marches Line; Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway; West Highland Railway; West Somerset Railway; West Wales Lines; Wilhelm Tell Express; Yal Devi Express.

The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted a few omissions.

First, a rather large omission. The Trans-Siberian Express:

It is impossible to complete a circumnavigation which includes both the Trans-Siberian & Trans-Asia expresses, without some serious backtracking. This was one of the main logistical problems I faced when planning the original 2013 journey. On that ocassion I decided to travel on the Trans Siberian Express, for a couple of reasons. Chief among these was the satisfying of a lifetime's desire to ride the Trans Siberian. There was a very practical reason too though. At that time, the Marmaray tunnel was still under construction, meaning that the Trans-Asia Express actually started in Ankara (not Istanbul).

There might even be a problem with the Trans-Asia route though. The security situation in Pakistan and south-eastern Iran might be an issue. What is likely to be the biggest problem is obtaining a visa for overland travel through Pakistan - they're just not giving them out at the moment (for overland travel - I think they don't want the embarrassment of another Westerner's death/kidnap on their hands). Plus, although my legs don't really work that well now, I'd quite like to keep them attached to my body, given the choice. If the security situation in the region is still a problem when I reach New Delhi, then I have a backup plan that involves the old Silk Route through China and the 'stans.

This is just a summary of the train highlights. You should be able to tell from the map above whether I have missed something. Please let me know if so.

A wee bit of history.

Tim White and myself (left) on the Kyle Line, on Day 1 of the original journey.

I first attempted this journey in 2013. For my own travelling pleasure on that occasion. This original journey, a lifelong dream of mine, was 18 months in the planning.

I was reasonably able-bodied at the start of the journey, in Glasgow, Scotland (although I was already aware that something "wasn't quite right" healthwise).

However, on reaching Novosibirsk in Siberia on the Trans-Siberian Express, after 21,000km had been completed (rail kilometres), I became rather ill and returned home.

21,000km. Not bad going really.

Since then, it has taken a never-ending stream of doctors and neurologists almost 2 years to identify the cause of my illness. And it is not really good news.

I myself am suffering from a form of cerebellar ataxia.

Ataxia? Never heard of it? Neither had I. And we're not alone. Around 91% of the UK population have never heard of it either (one of my aims for this journey, is to put a huge dent in that 91% figure!).

So now I will attempt the entire 50,000km journey again. Only this time, I'm making this wee trip to raise vital research funds for Ataxia UK (the national ataxia charity in the UK), and to unite ataxia sufferers and supporters worldwide (there has already been a lot of interest in this journey from around the globe).

Ataxia UK

Ataxia UK is the national charity for ataxia in the UK. They are working very hard to find a cure for one, or all, ataxias by 2020.

Ataxia is a genetic condition that can affect anyone, at any age (just a few years ago, I was a healthy & rather fit young man!).

A cure WILL be found though. Research funds just need to be found first.

So please support the 100 Trains Voyage for Ataxia in any way that you can. Thank you!

100 Trains. Be part of it.
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100 Trains. Be part of it.
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