Thomas Kennedy is a student of the history of railway development in such diverse locations as Africa, China, Japan, Russia and Central Asia. He has combined these historical accounts with personal travel experiences and has transformed these texts into published documents. Just click on the book image for more detailed descriptions and ordering details.
Cape to Cairo by Rail. His first book, describes his journey from Cape to Cairo by rail, The Cape to Cairo Rail Journey. With the exception of the gap between the Kenyan and Sudanese rail networks; all journeys were made by regularly scheduled trains over a period of several months. The only other "non - rail" segment was the stretch between the northern Sudanese town of Wadi Halfa and the Egyptian town of Aswan. In addition to the description of the author's journey, this book includes rich historical background of the development of each major rail segment traveled.
China Railways. His second book is more of an historical adventure in China, Historical Sketches of Railway Development in China, describing the development of that country's railway system, the intrigues often played out between foreign governments as they jockeyed for position in the construction of railways, less often in the interests of China than the foreign powers. It also includes some amusing and interesting description of riding trains in China, now as well as in the past when the country was plauged by a weak central government and bandits ruled much of the landscape.
Railway Adventures in Japan. This is a richly-illustrated work describing several unusual rail journeys in Japan. These are not the typical tired Shinkansen bullet train trips but on his favorite slow ordinary trains making every station stop in parts of Japan off the tourist map as well as the sleek overnight "blue" sleeping car trains that have now all but disappeared from the landscape. Japan: Railway Adventures in the Land of the Rising Sun is now available from Amazon.
The Return. In a departure from previous publications, this is not a railway book but a description of the negative issues often faced by expats coming home after an extended period of living overseas. Thomas left the US in 1981 for a three year contract in South Africa and returned thirty years later. He has felt the anguish at leaving his "adopted homeland" and finds returning to "home life" in the US a difficult process and shares these "repatriation blues" associated with the dark side of coming home. This book describes his life in South Africa, the need to adapt to the declining security situation and sensations felt during a recent "return" visit to his adopted homeland.
The Trans-Siberian Railway's Rossiya: A Tale of Two Trains. His first overseas rail adventure was on the USSR's Rossiya, the premier train of the Trans-Siberian railway in 1974; this publication contrasts a recent trip on the same train in 2016 with the original journey more than 40 years ago. Other rail journeys in Russia are also described including the fascinating ride along the "Circum-Baikal" railway that was once part of the main line and the luxurious "Grand Express", a private train linking Moscow with St. Petersburg.
Tracks to Nowhere - Is Amtrak Worth Riding?. This publication presents a rigorous comparison of Amtrak trains, in terms of cost and service, with similar services overseas. Complaints abound from passengers as well as from politicians about Amtrak's poor service, lack of on time performance and high cost. The author's comparison of his Amtrak experiences, as well as some of his exotic and horrible experiences on board trains overseas sets the stage for a detailed cost comparison of Amtrak with similar rail services in other countries. Both high - speed and long - distance trains are included in this comparison.
All Aboard the Smugglers' Express; To Central Asia by Rail. This, his latest publication, describes some very uncomfortable as well as some very pleasant, rail journeys in Central Asia. Beginning with vivid descriptions of his Moscow to Tashkent trip to a short history of railway developments in this region this book describes how regional politics and security concerns have driven decisions to construct most of the region's newest, and quite dramatic, railway lines.