My epic three-day trip from London to Morocco by train and ferry

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Yes, flying would have cost less in time and money, but the train trip to Tangier via Paris, Barcelona and Madrid leaves this traveller richer in many other ways

I’m somewhere south of Paris when it occurs to me that, had I flown, I would be there by now. At the far end of the carriage, I can see the train speedometer touch 300kmph (186mph) then settle at 296, a pace that, before the invention of the jet engine, would have left most civil aeroplanes for dead. The most advanced Belfast-built flying boats, beloved of Imperial Airways before the second world war, cruised to South Africa at lesser speeds.

The guard comes on the intercom to thank us for “travelling ecologically”. Outside the window a ruined chateau sweeps past, then a herd of deer grazing peacefully. To the east I see the pale shimmer of snow-capped peaks, with Mont Blanc rising above them.

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