The Red Line


A Railway Journey Through The Cold War

By: Christopher Knowles
Format: Hardback
Pages: 220
ISBN: 9781473887442
Published: 24th April 2017
RRP / Print Price: £25.00

Current purchase price:
£22.50

The Red Line

The Red Line is the story of a train journey from London to Hong Kong. It is set in 1981, the year Christopher made the first of twenty-four such journeys as a tour guide, when the Cold War was still very much a fact of life. Although China appeared to be on the brink of significant change, no one could know for certain; Poland was stirring but the prospect of change in the USSR and its other allies seemed remote. This made a journey by train across that landscape particularly fascinating, because by using standard, scheduled services that together created one of the longest possible railway routes, one was necessarily immersed in the various countries in ways that otherwise would have been impossible. Equally fascinating were the reactions of Western travellers to finding themselves incarcerated for weeks on end in the eccentric world behind the Iron Curtain.

In order to give the journey some coherence, the most memorable events over those years have been condensed into a single journey and the most notable personalities, plucked from various times and places, have been thrown together. To emphasise the fact that these events took place in the recent past, and to be able to show how extraordinarily quickly the world has changed in the few intervening years, the story is told by a narrator. Everything that occurs is true, although some circumstances have been slightly adapted for the sake of fluency and names of individuals have been changed.



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