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Betjeman 'Metroland' special from Marylebone to Quainton Road

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 John’s 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 county’s best loved poets, who would have been 100 years old this year.

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 Betjeman’s 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 Centre.

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.

Chiltern Railways in association with the John Betjeman Centenary Group operated a special Class 165 formed train from Marylebone to Quainton Road on Saturday 2 September 2006. The special train was one of a number of events this year to mark what would have been Sir John Betjeman's 100th birthday. Prior to the special departing from Marylebone a plaque was unveiled at the station by Sir John's daughter Candida. On route to Quainton the Class 165 made several stops for some of Betjeman's poems to be read. The train formed of Class 165/0s Nos. 165031/037 is seen at Quainton Rad.
Colin J. Marsden

Jim Cornell of the Railway Heritage Trust, Adrain Shooter, Chairman of Chiltern Railways and Candida Lycett-Green, Sir John Betjeman's daughter stand by the plaque at Marylebone station. Colin J. Marsden


Last Updated: 03 September 2006
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