A Preston train manager was part of the UK’s first all LGBTQ+ crew as Avanti West Coast launched its new Pride train.
Paul Austin managed the London to Manchester service on Tuesday (25 August).
After Covid-19 forced the cancellation of Pride events across the country – which Avanti West Coast had planned to support – the rail operator completely wrapped one of its Pendolinos with the progressive Pride flag.
Paul 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.”
Avanti West Coast has adopted the most recent version of the Pride flag, which sees the addition of the colours black, brown, light blue, pink and white to bring people of colour, transgender people and those living with or who have been lost to HIV/AIDS to the forefront.
Billed as the biggest Pride flag the UK has seen on the side of a train, the 11-carriage, 265 metre-long train was waved off by Avanti West Coast staff and members of the LGBTQ+ community at Euston and welcomed in at Manchester Piccadilly station.
With a strong focus on LGBTQ+ education, the train is filled with literature, stories and colourful posters, and features Pride related information and fun facts during the onboard announcements.
Sarah Copley, Avanti West Coast Executive Director – Commercial said: “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, our new train livery is a powerful example of keeping the conversation going.”
A competition to name the train is being launched today (Wednesday 26 August) calling for entries to be submitted via the Avanti West Coast website, with the winning name being announced in October.
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