Thumbs up to Virgin Trains, who this morning have named a Pendolino ‘The Cumbrian Spirit’. The train naming follows calls at the end of last year to restore the honour of a named train to Cumbria, one of the areas of the country that had been devastated by storms and flooding.
Previously there was a Mk 3 DVT named ‘Spirit of Cumbria’. The new name adorned the sides of Pendolino 390010. It is hoped that the train will spread the ‘The Cumbrian Spirit’ the length and breadth of the West Coast Main Line for many years to come.
‘The Cumbrian Spirit’ is not, however, the first name to be carried by 390010. Actually its not the second, third or even fourth. Pendolino 390010 was fitted with ‘Virgin Star’ nameplates by Alston prior to delivery to Virgin in May 2002. By the time the train was used on shuttle services to the Manchester Commonwealth Games in June of the same year it had been re-named ‘Commonwealth Games 2002’. Two years later in October 2004 it was named ‘Chris Green’ to commemorate the stepping down of career railwayman Chris as Chief Executive of Virgin Trains following the delivery of the first stage of Pendolino timetable introduction on the West Coast. Chris went on to be Chairman of Virgin Rail. 390010 was further renamed in May 2007 to ‘A Decade of Progress’ to celebrate the publication of a book of the same name and ten years of Virgin operation on the West Coast Main Line.
Virgin Trains issued the following Press Release........
Pendolino 390010 now carries the name ‘The Cumbrian Spirit’ to acknowledge the courage and resolve shown by local as they rebuild their lives and businesses after the floods.
The Cumbrian Spirit was unveiled by Andrew Hunter of Grasmere Gingerbread, in front of flood victims and representatives from organisations who helped them throughout December and continue to support the region’s recovery. Grasmere Gingerbread’s warehouse flooded, resulting in their stock being damaged.
Cumbria was hit by the worst flooding on record as a result of storms Desmond, Eva and Frank in December, which saw some areas flooded three times within one month.
Anna Doran, General Manager at Virgin Trains, said: “We care about Cumbria and its people, so it has been heartbreaking to see the devastation the floods have caused across the region. But the people of Cumbria have not been beaten. They have shown tremendous courage and determination to continue business as usual and rebuild their communities - something described locally as the ‘spirit of Cumbria’. At Virgin Trains, we share their spirit and wanted to recognise everything they have been through. The Cumbrian Spirit is a small gesture to acknowledge the local communities that we’re proud to play a part in. We’re keen to continue helping those who have been affected and is about celebrating Cumbria and showing that Cumbria is very much open for business.”
Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive, Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We think it’s great that there will be a train travelling along the West Coast Mainline carrying this positive message about the people of Cumbria.”
The Cumbrian Spirit made its inaugural journey with a trip to London today, stopping at Penrith and Oxenholme.
Steven Knight is a Transport Specialist who has over 40 years experience in the bus and rail industries as well as in specialist transport journalism. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.