London to Birmingham in 4½ Minutes by Buz Collins We leave the Thames at Brentford and we climb the Hanwell flight Straight on at Bull's Bridge junction for it's Paddington to the right At Cowley Peachey go straight on, don't take the left for Slough For as Betjeman once said, "It isn't fit for humans now" Through Uxbridge and at last the countryside comes into view Where Denham lock's the deepest lock at near eleven foot two There's a gentle climb to Watford for it's here the locking starts From Denham up to Batchworth, from Bucks and into Herts Chorus: Through city and through countryside, from London up to Brum Were travelling the only way - on the Grand Union Now leaving Watford town we say "Hello M25" We wave at all the cars parked there whilst underneath we dive Kings Langley is a lovely place, I used to live nearby And Berkhamstead and Hemel pass in the blinking of an eye At Cowroast lock the summit starts named for the village of Tring It's three short miles to Bulbourne where we start down again The short arm through to Wendover is derelict as can be But turning left at Marsworth takes you down to Aylesbury Chorus From Pitstone down to Slapton and the fields are quiet and still But be sure to keep an eye out for the lion on the hill Through Leighton Buzzard and Linslade and down the Soulbury Three Then Bletchley marks the outskirts of the town of Milton Keynes Now Milton Keynes is not as bad as many people say There's flowers, trees and open fields to speed you on your way Then Wolverton to Cosgrove lock, and with a little luck You'll see kingfishers flying round the Great Ouse Aqueduct Chorus From Cosgrove to Stoke Bruerne now the locks start up again And once you're through Stoke Bruerne better put your headlight on For five and thirty minutes you'll be travelling underground Through Blisworth's mighty tunnel, longest open in the land Emerging into daylight and the sky seems awful bright Straight on at Gayton Junction, it's Northampton to the right To Bugbrooke on past Weedon and the M1 comes in sight To keep you noisy company on up the Buckby flight Chorus It's here at Norton Junction that the Leicester Line departs But we are going westward where the Braunston summit starts Now Braunston tunnel's crooked, as you are soon to learn Then its down the Braunston lock flight and and it's left at Braunston turn The Oxford canal joins us 'til at Napton we turn right Then down the Calcutt Three and further on the Stockton flight From Itchington to Bascote down to Royal Leamington Spa 'Til at Warwick it's the Hatton Locks, the hardest flight by far Chorus Now Hatton's twenty-one locks are a daunting sight to see And by the time you reach the top you will be ready for your tea Through Shrewley's little tunnels, one's for horses, one's for boats Past Kingswood turn where Stratford-bound the Shakespeare lovers float Climb up five locks at Knowle now and on to Solihull Where the houses and the factories encroach without a lull And finally down Camp Hill Locks through bridges and through bends You come to Bordesley Junction where the Grand Union ends Chorus So we've been through one hundred and sixty locks and one hundred and forty miles Through seven different counties we've been travelling in style Through city and through country, from London up to Brum We say farewell, adieu 'til next time to the Grand Union Chorus Through city and through country, from London up to Brum We say farewell, adieu 'til next time to the Grand Union This song inspired Hilary Rhodes to describe a somewhat different journey in a new song 'Birmingham to London in 4½ Minutes'. Recorded on :
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