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The Man in Seat Sixty-One
'The Man in Seat Sixty-One' is Mark Smith who has created a website which offers advice and information to those who already know they want to travel by train and/or ship. Plus is aims to inspire people to do so by showing the added benefits of travelling by these modes (especially as an alternative to flying).
The website was developed by Mark using the html programing language. He taught himself how to program using a "Teach Yourself html" book.
Seat61.com started as a personal website but it's upkeep has now become a full time job for Mark. However he insists on the site that he is not a travel agency or company. Instead he is "just an individual with knowledge that others might find useful". All information is provided free of charge to users. Income is generated through Google adverts and affiliate schemes.
Seat 61 is Mark's preferred seat on the Eurostar.
Mark describes himself as a career railwayman. He worked as Station Manager for Charing Cross, London Bridge & Cannon Street railway stations in London during the early to mid 90s, and later as the Customer Relations Manager for two major UK train companies. Until recently, he worked in London for the Department for Transport managing the team that regulates fares and ticketing on Britain's railways.
He is a travel enthusiast who has traveled much of the world by train and ship.
Seat61.com was started in 2001.
It first drew the attention of the media when it was listed as a website of the week by the Guardian newspaper in May 2001. Since then it has received many postive reviews from members of the UK and Worldwide media. These are all listed in the Press Room section of the Seat61.com website.
In 2006 Mark won an award for the Best Personal Contribution in the First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards .
In 2007 Seat61.com was voted "Top Travel Website" by readers of Wanderlust Magazine in the Wanderlust Travel Awards 2007.
In 2008 Seat61.com again won the Top Travel Website award in the Wanderlust Travel Awards.
In 2011 Seat61.com was one of the two runners up in the Telegraph's Reader's Choice Travel Awards.