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Headboard tradition revived

Two of First Great Western’s specially named trains serving Carmarthen and Plymouth have been fitted with their original 1930s headboards.

The Mayflower operates Monday to Friday between London Paddington (1106) and Plymouth (1500) and is named after the famous ship that transported 102 pilgrims from Plymouth on a 66 day voyage to America in 1620.

The Red Dragon runs Monday to Friday between London (1715) and Carmarthen (0730) and is named after the mythical Red Dragon, known in Welsh as Y Ddraig Goch, that appears on the Welsh national flag. Although the flag was only granted official status in 1959, it is claimed to be the oldest national flag still in use.

FGW Drivers Nigel Williams and Martin Raine helped publicise the two 1930s headboards at London Paddington, prior to departing to Plymouth and Carmarthen. Says Julian Crow, First Great Western’s regional manager, ‘So little is known about the history of the services we are privileged to run from London Paddington to the West of England and Wales.

Tying in with the launch of the winter timetable, we decided to put together an e-leaflet detailing those services, explaining their names, and re-installing a sense of tradition behind their names.’ First Great Western runs 18 named services between London, Wales and the West Country.

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