The Man in Seat 61...
This is a personal website which started as a hobby and has now become a full time occupation. I'm not a company or corporation or travel agency, just an individual with knowledge that other travellers may find useful. The information on this site is provided free of charge, to give you a reasonable idea of train times, fares, and how to buy tickets - hopefully enough to know what's available, plan a trip and use a booking website or contact a booking agency. I do my best to keep the site updated, but it's simply impossible for one person to keep every time & fare up to date 100% of the time. Fares are particularly difficult, as I don't generally have access to fares manuals or reservation systems, just the same internet resources available to anyone else. And operators don't tell me when they put their prices up, I have to spot that they've done so, unless a seat61 user helps me by spotting it first!
So treat all information as guide not gospel, and use the links provided to check it using the official railway & ferry websites. Always confirm details direct with the operator or ticketing agency. I can't take responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in the information I provide, but please e-mail me if you find any and I will put them right as soon as I can.
Finally, Affiliate schemes provide commission to support the site and my travel habit (er, I mean research, of course), and buy me a beer or two if you choose to click through to buy a ticket, railpass, hotel, holiday, guidebook or insurance and so forth. Affiliate schemes include Loco2.com, Trainline.eu, Raileurope.com, Raileurope-world.com, Deutsche Bahn, NS International, Booking.com, Hostelbookers.com, HotelsCombined.com, Venere.com, dfds.co.uk, Stena Line, Eurostar.com, Disneyland Europe, Expedia.co.uk, Amazon.co.uk & .com, Tripadvisor.com, Chinahighlights.com, Real Russia, Great Rail Journeys, Holiday Autos, Columbus Direct, Brittany Ferries, Railbookers.co.uk, FTS and others. I also feature banner ads and ads chosen by Google Adsense, but please note that I have relatively little control over exactly what they choose to show! Other than this, I have no direct connection with the railway, shipping or booking agencies listed on this site, so if you have any difficulties with them, please don't blame me, but let me know, by e-mailing me. Tell me if an agency gives you particularly good service, too!
All pages on seat61.com are © Mark Smith 2001-2015. All photos are © Mark Smith 2001-2016, except where they are shown as provided courtesy of another person in which case the copyright remains with that person.
I try to respect people's privacy, just as I hope other people and organisations respect mine when I browse the internet.
If you send me an email I will not disclose your details or email address (let alone sell them) to any marketing companies or spammers. Nor do I send out any adverts or mailing shots myself, so you won't get any spam from me. Like any private individual, I will naturally store the emails on my own PC and backup drives.
If you send me an email about a travel problem with a particular train, ferry, agency or organisation, if I think it is appropriate and you haven't asked me not to, I may share this with my contacts in the relevant train, ferry or ticketing companies to see if they can help you, or at least make them aware of the problem.
If you send me an email about journey experiences, I may post this on this site as a 'traveller's report' to help other people, unless you ask me not to. I normally credit people by name, unless you tell me you'd rather not be named, or ask me to only use your first name. I will never publish your email address.
What are cookies? A cookie is a small piece of information automatically sent from a website to your browser for storage on your computer. The cookies don't harm you or your computer, and you'll find most websites using them in one way or another, quite harmlessly. If you want to know more about cookies, a good place to start is this page on the BBC website, www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/guides/about-cookies and for more detail see the Wikipedia entry on cookies.
(3) Advertising company cookies: I use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit the site, and the revenue from these ads also helps fund the site and allows the information to be free. These companies may use anonymous aggregated information (in other words, not including your name, address, email address or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide adverts about goods and services that are relevant to you. If you would like more information about this practice (sometimes called 'behavioural advertising') and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, see www.networkadvertising.org/managing/opt_out.asp.
How can you see what cookies are downloaded from a webpage? If you'd like to know exactly which cookies from which organisations are downloaded when you visit any given webpage (on any site, not just mine) you can download and install the free 'Ghostery' plug-in for Internet Explorer, Firefox and so on at www.ghostery.com. It explains who the various organisations are, and what they use their cookies for.
Consent to cookies: Cookies are pretty much essential to the way this website is funded and statistics tracked, so I need to use them, and in all honesty I don't believe any harm comes from them, certainly not the types we're talking about here. As a one-man-band and non-technical person I have no practical way of asking you if you are happy to accept cookies before you visit the site (unless, I suppose, each of the million visitors a month personally emails me or phones me up before switching on their PC), so I'll assume the fact that you are happy to visit seat61.com with your browser set to accept cookies and none of the anti-cookie measures below in place, means that you consent to cookies.
If you don't consent to your PC handling cookies or have any concerns whatsoever about your privacy and cookies (not that I think you should have), here's what to do:
1) Close this website and use your browser tools to delete any downloaded cookies and reject any further cookies when browsing in future. In Internet Explorer, it's usually under 'tools' then 'delete browsing history' and 'options'. In Firefox it's usually under 'tools' then 'clear recent history' and 'options'. You can find advice on how to delete cookies from your computer using various browsers at www.aboutcookies.org. Having talked to my ad-server people, I believe that all the cookies likely to be found on my site can easily be deleted this way, as far as I know nobody I deal with uses disreputable 'flash' cookies that cannot be deleted.
2) Go to www.networkadvertising.org/managing/opt_out.asp: Many reputable advertisers are members of the Network Advertising Initiative. This allows you to opt out of receiving cookie-based 'behavioural advertising' from its member companies, in other words where relevant ads are served to you based on websites you have previously visited.
3) If you go to www.ghostery.com and download the free 'Ghostery' plug-in for your browser you can take control of your own web privacy, checking or blocking scripts or cookies from companies you don't trust on any website, not just seat61.com.