MODERN-DAY Cotswold Line trains speed past the site of Adlestrop station but a stop there one summer day in 1914 inspired the poet Edward Thomas to write some of his most famous verses.
One hundred years later, on Tuesday, June 24, that moment will be commemorated by the reading of Thomas’s poem Adlestrop on a special train that will stop near the site of the station, which closed in 1964, near the boundary between Oxford-shire and Gloucestershire.
John Ellis, the chairman of the Cotswold Line Promotion Group, which is organising the train with First Great Western, said: “We would like to invite anyone who enjoys Edward Thomas's poetry to join us on this unique train.
"It will carry just 200 passengers and we have sold more than 60 tickets already, so early booking is recommended.”
The train is one of a number of events to mark the centenary, with a celebration in the village the same day, featuring talks and readings about the poem, organised by the Friends of the Dymock Poets, which fosters interest in the work of poets who lived in the Gloucestershire village between 1911 and 1916.
This event is fully booked, with about 80 people taking part.
There will be a break shortly before noon for participants to walk to a field above the village to watch the train make its stop.
Residents of Adlestrop have also organised a centenary poetry competition. The winner of the £400 first prize will be announced by poet and broadcaster PJ Kavanagh, who is judging the entries, on June 24 at the celebration.
Victoria Huxley, author of Jane Austen and Adlestrop, who organised the contest, said: “We have had almost 200 entries from all over the world, though most are from Oxfordshire and Glou-cestershire. And through the entry fees we have raised almost £2,000 for the village church.”
The village’s annual open day, on Sunday, June 15, will feature a reading of the poem by the actor Robert Hardy at the bus shelter which houses one of the Great Western Railway running-in boards from the station and a GWR bench bearing a plaque with the words of the poem.
For details of the afternoon’s events, see adlestrop.org.uk
- The Adlestrop Centenary Special train will leave Oxford at 11.28am, reaching Moreton-in-Marsh at 12.15pm, after stopping near the bridge where the A436 from Salford Hill crosses the line.
While the train will return at 12.30pm, reaching Oxford at 1pm, passengers who want to visit Adlestrop can use their tickets to return from Moreton-in-Marsh on FGW services later in the day.
Fares are £20 for adults and £10 for children aged five to 15.
For more details and to download a booking form, see the special trains page at clpg.org.uk or call CLPG secretary Brian Clayton on 01386 701528. Please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope with all ticket applications.