Did you take an Interrail trip between 1972 and 1996?

Since its introduction in 1972, the Interrail scheme has enabled millions of Europeans to travel by train around much of their continent at relatively low cost. In the first 25 years of the scheme, approximately half a million young backpackers from Great Britain and Northern Ireland took an Interrail trip. Despite the numbers involved, little research has been carried out into this distinctive aspect of British youth culture.

On the Finland side of the Frontier Zone with the Soviet Union, 1989. Image credit: Ian Lacey.

I am seeking participants for an oral history project which will explore the experiences of young travellers from across the UK who went Interrailing between 1972 and 1996. If this sounds like you, would you consider taking part in an interview that will form part of my doctoral research? To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that UK Interrailers have had the opportunity to share their stories in such an in-depth study.

As an Interrailer myself in the 1980s, I recognise that every trip is unique. Whether you went Interrailing once or multiple times, travelled with companions or solo, or visited a few or many countries, I want to hear from you.

The face-to-face interview would take place at a convenient location for you. You are encouraged to bring along photos, diaries, guidebooks and any other items associated with your Interrailing.   

Budapest, Hungary, 1974. Image credit: Tim Thomas @timofnewbury.

I am delighted to have partnered with the Museum of Youth Culture. The Museum has agreed in principle to accept the interview recordings and documents into their archive once my research is complete, and also to curate an Interrail exhibition.

If you are interested in participating or finding out more, please contact me or take a look at this information sheet (in PDF format).

My postgraduate research project at Royal Holloway University of London entitled ‘Europe by train, 1972–1996: The experiences of young Interrailers from the UK’ was approved by the University’s Research Ethics Committee in February 2023 and is supervised by Dr Amy Tooth Murphy and Dr Edward Madigan.

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