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New poetry collection captures the joy of rail travel

South West Wales Connected and Severnside Community Rail Partnership recently launched a new poetry collection on the theme of rail ‘Train of Thought: A Poetry Anthology Inspired by Rail Routes from Taunton to West Wales.’

The anthology was funded thanks to our Community Rail Challenge fund with the two community rail partnerships working with established poetry groups across their regions, to deliver a series of poetry workshops followed by the invitation to write and submit poems in response to the question: What does the railway mean to you?

More than 100 submissions were received after the workshops, and from these 60 poems were selected for inclusion in the anthology.

The responses are wide ranging, encompassing memories, imagination, and an enduring love for rail travel.

The poetry project was inspired by the success of Soundtrack to the Severn Beach Line, a 2019 project that united musicians and poets under the banner of Track Record Arts.

Following its success, Severnside Community Rail Partnership wanted to involve more local rail routes in creating a “tapestry of verse and locomotion”, and South West Wales Connected wanted the chance to be involved too.

“This has been a pleasure and an amazing project to be part of,” said Eve Sherratt, community rail officer for South West Wales Connected. “It has merged poetry and rail, and it not only breathes life into the railway experience but also ignites a creative spark in artists and passengers alike, fostering a deeper connection with our wonderful railways.

“The new anthology is a stunning result. Special thanks go to the poets involved – Bob Walton, Bethan Handley, Kerry Steed, Claire Williamson and Sue Hill, who helped facilitate and host the wonderful poetry workshops.”

Melanie Lawton, Community Rail strategy lead at Transport for Wales, added: “Train of Thought offers engaging content for the customer’s journey, funded by a Community Rail Challenge fund.  We’ve enjoyed the stories, the memories and connecting communities to their railways.”

The book launch, which took place at the Clayton Hotel in Cardiff on Monday May 13 included readings by some of the poets included in the collection.