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Harriett Baldwin steams up as Network Rail ignores Elgar on his 150th birthday

15th May 2007

Harriett Baldwin was shocked to learn this week that Network Rail have failed to find room on their railways for an historic rail journey that was planned to mark Sir Edward Elgar's 150th birthday on June 2nd 2007.

Past-Time Rail, a private company that specialises in steam rail journeys in the UK, had planned a "Sir Edward Elgar Pullman" from London to Great Malvern and Worcester on the composer's 150th birthday. However, this week they had to notify disappointed customers that Network Rail could not accommodate the journey, because there was no suitable slot from Hereford to Worcester on the single track line.

Harriett Baldwin said, "I am really steamed up to learn about this cancellation. Sir Edward Elgar is only 150 years old once, and it beggars belief that no room could be found for a steam engine to use the track through Great Malvern and Worcester to honour him on his birthday. It is not as if the normal rail service from Hereford to Worcester is very frequent on a Saturday. I have raised the matter with Sir Michael Spicer MP and Peter Luff MP and they are equally upset."

Peter Luff MP said, "This is another disappointing lack of enthusiasm for Elgar from a government-owned body. I will raise it with the managers of Network Rail at my next meeting with them. I am also very angry to see that this year's BBC Proms are only performing a small fraction of Elgar's music this summer. It contrasts with the extensive coverage he is being given in the private sector by Classic FM."

Sir Michael Spicer MP said, "Coming after the Bank of England decided to drop Sir Edward Elgar from the £20 note this year, it begins to look as though this government is going out of his way to ignore Worcestershire's best-loved composer during his 150th birthday year."

Harriett says...

Harriett Baldwin
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