Great Central Railway, Sheffield Victoria to Banbury

``Unmitigated England'' Came swinging down the line That day the February sun Did crisp and crystal shine. Dark red at Kirkby Bentinck stood A steeply gabled farm Mid ash trees and a sycamore In charismatic calm. A village street -- a manor house -- A church -- then, tallyho!, We pounded through a housing scheme With telly masts a-row, Where cars of parked executives Did regimented wait Beside administrative blocks Within the factory gate. She waved to us from Hucknall South As we hooted round a bend From a curtained front-room window did The diesel driver's friend. Through cuttings deep to Nottingham Precariously we wound; The swallowing tunnel turned the train To London's Underground; Above the fields of Leicestershire On arches we were borne, And the rumble of the railway drowned The thunder of the Quorn; And silver shone the steeples out Above the barren boughs; Colts in a paddock ran from us But not the solid cows; And quite where Rugby Central is Does only Rugby know -- We stopped to watch the station wait And sadly saw it go. By now the sun of afternoon Showed ridge and furrow shadows, And shallow, unfamiliar lakes stood shivering in the meadows. Is Woodford church or Hinton church The one I ought to see? Or were they both too much restored In 1883? I do not know. Toward the west A trail of glory runs, And we leave the old Great Central line For Banbury and buns.

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