Charity founder David Maidment said it was “a great honour” to have a train named after him in recognition of his tireless efforts to protect street children around the world.
Network Rail and Colas Rail unveiled the ‘David Maidment OBE’ nameplate last week at the National Track Plant Exhibition at Long Marston.
David established Railway Children in 1995 after encountering homeless children during a trip to India.
Railway Children now has a network of 24 partner organisations across Africa, Asia and the UK, supporting around 50,000 street children worldwide each year.
Last year, David won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 RailStaff Awards.
“The naming was a complete surprise,” said David.
“Initially, I was unaware that an engine was to be named, then when asked to perform the ceremony, I assumed the locomotive was to receive the name ‘Railway Children’. I was speechless when I unveiled my own name on the side of the Colas heavy freight engine.
“It gave me an opportunity to thank the many rail industry companies and thousands of railwaymen and women who have supported the charity over the 18 years of the charity’s existence. It’s a great honour.“
Network Rail’s Steve Featherstone said: “A few weeks ago, I did the Three Peaks Challenge by Rail on behalf of Railway Children. This gave me an opportunity to understand some of the great work the charity does. Much of that work is a result of the vision and passion David has shown since founding the charity in 1995.
“Stephen Haynes of Colas Rail had provided their engines as logistical support for the show and they asked did we know anyone deserving of an engine naming.
“It was a pleasure to invite David to unveil the nameplate and recognise the outstanding contribution that he has made to Railway Children and to the wider railway industry.”
More than 200 exhibitors and 3,700 visitors attended the National Track Plant Show, donating £8,750 to Railway Children on the day.