Pride events may have been cancelled across the United Kingdom due to the global pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped a rainbow stretching across the rails from London to Manchester as Avanti West Coast unveiled their new rainbow-themed train earlier today. The Daily Mail reports the 11-carriage train is also the first in the country entirely staffed by an LGBTQ+ crew. Best of all? The public can name it!
“I'm delighted to be launching our new Avanti West Coast Pride Train, which represents everyone in the LGBTQ+ community.” Sarah Copley, Avanti West Coast executive director, said at the unveiling. “It is a symbol of our commitment to diversity and inclusion as it travels up and down the West Coast Main Line.”
“This is about being accepted for who I am and representing the LGBT+ community we serve across our network,” the train’s manager, Paul Austin, said. “Being a part of the UK's first all-LGBT+ 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.”
Avanti West Coast is reaching out to the public to “come up with a name for our bold and brilliant train,” according to their website. “It’s all about Pride. So have a good think about what that means to people, and how we can capture the heart and soul of Pride in just one name.”
The train is decorated in the colors of the traditional rainbow flag, but also has black and brown colors to symbolize the Black, Asian, and other communities of color, as well as the pink, blue, and white colors of the transgender flag. The train will be equally proud on the interior as well, filled with LGBTQ+ literature and materials.
The Pendolino train used by Avanti West Coast can travel up to 140 mph, although speeds are limited to 125 mph in the country due to track and signaling limitations. The trains tilt during turns making for higher continuous speeds and increased passenger comfort.
While there are no plans to maintain an all-LGBTQ+ crew on the line, Copley did indicate that the rainbow colors are here to stay for the foreseeable future.
“We live proud 365 days a year, not just today,” Copley observed.
You can enter your choice for Avanti West Coast’s Rainbow Pride train here.