Chiltern Railways working with the John Betjeman Centenary Group
operated a private train from London Marylebone station through Metroland,
an area north of London made famous by Sir Johns film of the
same name, on Saturday 2 September 2006 formed of Chiltern Railways
Class 165 sets Nos. 165031 and 165037.
This special event was to celebrate Sir John Betjeman, one of the
countys best loved poets, who would have been 100 years old
Prior to the train departing Marylebone platform 1 at 11.40, a plaque
was unveiled by Sir John Betjeman's daughter Candida Lycett-Green
at the invitation of Chiltern Railways Chairman Adrian Shooter.
As the train travelled through the London suburbs of John Betjemans
childhood, several of his poems were read out on board the train,
which was brought to a stand in the middle of the countryside for
a few seconds while the readings were made, these were performed by
Phyllida Law and Jonathan Glancey. A specially prepared window gazer
route guide was also provided.
The trains destination of Quainton Road Station, home of the growing
Buckinghamshire Railway Centre on the freight only line from Aylesbury
to Claydon Junction on the Bletchley-Bicester line is the location
of the scene of the last shot in Metroland, where the old Metropolitan
line ends amidst Buckinghamshire farmland. After the special arrived,
escorted by two of the Quainton-based steam locomotives, guests were
treated to entertainments and refreshments in the old Oxford Rewley
Road Station which has been re erected at the Buckinghamshire Railway
The train returned to Marylebone at 16.00 working via Princes Risborough.
Sir John Betjeman was a poet, writer, TV presenter and campaigner
to protect ancient buildings including several London railway stations
including the renowned Marylebone station.
All profits received from operating the special train went to the
Parkinson's Disease Society from which John died in 1984.