While other train operators have brightened up trains with rainbows to celebrate Pride, Avanti West Coast is the first to have completely wrapped a train in Pride colours and had it staffed entirely by an LGBTQ+ crew.
Because this year’s Pride events around the country all had to be cancelled due to COVOD-19, the intercity rail operator has completely wrapped one of its Pendolino trains, adopting the latest version of the Pride flag, which sees the addition of the colours black, brown, light blue, pink and white to recognise people of colour, transgender people and those living with or who have been lost to HIV/AIDS.
At 265 metres long, the 11-car train was billed as the biggest Pride flag the UK has seen. It was waved off by Avanti West Coast staff and members of the LGBTQ+ community when it departed London Euston on Tuesday 25 August.
As the livery will become a permanent part of Avanti West Coast’s full fleet, the company is giving the LGBTQ+ community the opportunity to name the train, launching a that calls for entries to be submitted via its website, with the winning name to be announced in October.
Train manager, Paul Austin, said: “This is about being accepted for who I am and representing the LGBTQ+ community we serve across our network.
“Being a part of the UK’s first all LGBTQ+ crew is a sign of the steps we’re taking towards a more inclusive, diverse and equal society and I am so proud to be involved today.”
Sarah Copley, executive director – commercial at Avanti West Coast, commented on how Pride means more for the diversity and inclusion of people up and down the West Coast main line, saying: “I’m delighted to be launching our new Avanti West Coast Pride Train which represents everyone in the LGBTQ+ community.
“It is a symbol of our commitment to diversity and inclusion as it travels up and down the West Coast main line. We Live Proud 365 days a year, not just today.”
“I am so proud to be a part of a business where our people represent the communities we serve. We are always listening to them and customers to ensure our diversity and inclusion strategy is relevant. Our new train livery is a powerful example of keeping the conversation going.”