Avanti West Coast has launched the UK’s first fully wrapped Pride train, which was entirely staffed by an LGBTQ+ crew for its first official service on Tuesday 25 August.
Avanti West Coast had planned to support Pride events across the country, until Covid-19 forced their cancellation. Instead, the intercity rail operator has completely wrapped one of its iconic Pendolinos with the Pride flag.
The train operator has adopted the most recent iteration 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, highlighting Avanti West Coast’s progressive commitment to diversity and inclusion.
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 on Tuesday 25 August.
As the livery will become a permanent part of Avanti West Coast’s full fleet, the LGBTQ+ community will also have the opportunity to name the train. An online competition is calling for entries to be submitted via its website with the winning name 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.”
Discussing how Pride means more for the diversity and inclusion of people up and down the West Coast main line, Avanti West Coast executive commercial director Sarah Copley said: “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.”
The Pride Train crosses Dutton Viaduct.