How far do you think you can go in 24 hours just by traveling? by train?
That’s the question Brit Jo Kibble decided to answer this week. Traveling from his home in London, he wanted to find the furthest point from St Pancras International Station in a single day.
The timer started the moment the doors closed at 7:01 a.m. Eurostar Parisian service.
“I arrived at Paris Gare du Nord, crossed Paris on foot to Gare de l’Est and took a train to Strasbourg,” said Jo, a 40-year-old municipal employee from Greenwich. “From there I crossed the Champagne region and took a local service to Basel, Switzerland.”
Along the way, the public transport enthusiast had a leisurely lunch in a Swiss restaurant car, before traveling through “beautiful landscapes” between Zurich and Milano.
This stretch of track took Jo through the longest tunnel in the world, the Gotthard Base Tunnel. Crossing the Alps, it covers a total of 57 km and connects northern and southern Europe.
“When you come out of the tunnel, there’s this incredible change in architecture, landscape and people,” Jo continues.
“A sleek and stylish Italian high-speed train then took me to Rome from Milan, followed by a sleeper service to southern Italy.
From there, many of Jo’s social media followers expected him to take the train to Sicilywhere the train embarks on a boat to reach the Mediterranean island.
But still a strategist, the council worker opted for a faster route – staying on the mainland and sailing along the Ionian Sea coastline.
“I got on a very small local train around the toe of Italy and ended up at a place called Bova Marina which is a very small village at the end of the world.”
According to him, this is the longest distance a person can currently travel by train in 24 hours from London St Pancras – a total of 1,960km.
Trains to Ukraine
As Jo embarked on his odyssey by train across the continent, he remained aware that many people fleeing war in Ukraine depend on these same routes for vital transport. For each kilometer travelled, he decides to donate 20p (€0.24) to the Appeal of the Disaster Emergency Committee for Ukraine.
“Suddenly, in the last two months, the railways have become the scene of things in Europe that we haven’t seen for decades,” agrees Jo.
“We have seen incredible heroism from Ukrainian railway workers operate their networks under fire to help refugees. In Belarus, we saw railway workers sabotaging cross-border railways to prevent the flow of military equipment to Ukraine.
“There was just this slight disconnect between me traveling the European rail network having a bit of fun, while a few thousand miles away that same system turns out to be a lifesaver.”
With its 1,960 km journey, this represents a total donation of £392 (€465).
Travel 24 hours on buses alone
It’s not the first time that Jo has fixed a slow trip challenge.
Last year he decided to see how far he could travel from London in 24 hours using only the bus routes. The unusual trip came after 18 months of canceled travel plans due to the pandemic.
“It was in the middle of the confinement that I had a desire to travel and a desire to get out of the house a little”, explains Jo. “I have always enjoyed traveling, whether in Great Britain or Europe, by bus or by train.
The city worker meticulously studied maps, timetables and routes to determine how far he could go in a single day. He predicted that Morecambe in Lancashire was the farthest he could go.
Then, one day in August, he decided to make the hypothetical challenge a reality by embarking on his trip by bus only. Thousands of people watched him share his progress live on Twitter, wishing him good luck and even suggesting landmarks to visit as he went.
“It went viral on social media and people seemed to really buy into it,” Jo continues.
“I had a lot of people contacting me who were self-isolating with COVID and it was just a really fun way for them to spend the day while stuck in one room, as far away from to be able to travel as much as possible.”
From 3 a.m. his first stop was Charing Cross station where he hopped on one of London’s famous red buses for Heathrow. 21 hours and 24 minutes later Jo finished his 418km journey exactly where he expected – in Morecambe.
The epic adventure provided him with a snapshot of people’s lives. Across Northampton and Leicester it was an older crowd taking advantage of the free bus travel. But by the time he reached Manchesterstudents on pub crawls were the main passengers.
“It’s a very immediate and visceral way to experience the country,” says Jo. “From the first bus I took, I realized how vital public transport was for shift workers commuting to work.
“The bus is the economic life of many people. Morning commuters, day trippers or people going to the pub. It’s an incredibly interesting way to see a day in the life of the country, which you don’t see if you’re cooped up in a car or on a high-speed train or in the air.
Jo was amazed at how many people showed interest in her passion project. As he rested at his hotel in Morecombe, he told his followers: “When I came up with this idea of a stupid long bus ride just for fun, I didn’t think it would interest anyone. it’s someone other than me. ”
Instead, the traveling phenomenon quickly became an internet sensation, with many people asking Jo where he planned to go next.
What is Jo’s next 24-hour transportation challenge?
With the #train24 behind him, the municipal employee is already looking into his next public transport odyssey.
With both major forms of transit covered, he knows he’ll have to think outside the box to top off his final two adventures.
“Twitter live from the seat of an airplane from London to New Zealand for 24 hours, I’m not sure that makes for very compelling viewing,” jokes Jo.
“There are a lot of ideas being thrown at me on social media, so maybe I’ll take another six months to think about what’s next. I might need to improve my navigation skills to do 24 hours on a river boat or something like that.
“Anyway, I know I have to find something more.”
Watch the video above to learn more about Jo’s 24-Hour Transport Challenge.