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The Flying Scotsman will pull

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Posted by: Leaky
April 11, 2002, 12:37 PM

The Flying Scotsman will pull the Orient Express into Oxford on Sunday to launch a series of literary tours. The steam train will arrive at noon, from London Victoria, with about 100 passengers. The tour party will be taken to Christ Church, in St Aldate's, to see the haunts of Alice in Wonderland author and former don Lewis Carroll. They will be served cream tea in the Great Hall, where some scenes from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone were filmed, before exploring other literary sites in the city. James Gower, general manager of Excellence Travel, which has booked the Orient Express for a number of trips to Oxford during the summer, said: "The literary trips will link with Oxford's Harry Potter and Alice connections."

From the National Post:

In a startling development surely sending shock waves through the publishing industry, Harry Potter has fallen down and may never get back up. Which is to say that, of J.K. Rowling's four immensely popular Harry Potter books, only the latest -- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire -- is still among the U.K.'s top 10 best-selling fiction titles this week. The second and third books in the series -- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, respectively -- have dropped to No. 16 and No. 19, while Goblet has been consigned to the slightly less ignoble No. 10 slot.

To those of us outside Britain, however, the most shocking detail of this story is that, until this week, the second and third Harry Potter instalments were still among Britain's top 10 best-selling fiction titles. Azkaban was released 2 1/2 years ago, Secrets nearly three. Even Goblet is getting rather long in the tooth, coming up on its second anniversary in July. (Goblet is No. 8 in the United States, according to The Wall Street Journal, and doesn't show up anywhere among the Globe and Mail list of top 10 Canadian best-sellers.)

Isn't it just possible -- nay, likely -- that every person in the English-speaking world who wants to own this book already has it? Surely British publishers couldn't believe the gravy train would be making its trip from platform 9 3/4 forever.

A new website has been launched offering film fans the chance to visit movie locations by rail. The site features more than 100 classic movie locations, and encourages travellers to use the railways to visit them. The locations includes settings from Goldeneye, Gladiator, Brief Encounter, Harry Potter and Bridget Jones's Diary.

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