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Philip Larkin special train marks 50th birthday of Whitsun Weddings poem

Bill Nighy will read poetry as actors fill journey from Hull to London with stories and music, as prelude to 2017 UK city of culture events

In The Whitsun Weddings, one of the best loved poems of the 20th century, Philip Larkin transformed a dull bank holiday weekend train journey into a characteristically grumpy transport of romance and delight. The poem will be celebrated next month in a 200-mile onboard performance between Hull and London, involving scores of actors, 200 miles of track, eight towns and cities, recordings of some of the poet's beloved jazz tunes, and the voice of actor Bill Nighy reading his work over the train's Tannoy.

The event will be a prequel to Hull's surprise victory in the contest to become the nation's next city of culture in 2017, in which the work of one of its most famous residents will play a major role.

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