A STROUD train driver was given the honour of taking the controls of a Great Western Railway train named in honour of phenomenal fundraiser Captain Tom Moore who celebrates his 100th birthday today.
Shane Healey, who is also club photographer for League Two side Forest Green spoke of his honour when he clocked on for work this morning to be informed he would be driving the train from Cheltenham Spa.
“It’s fantastic,” said Shane a driver with GWR for 17 years and a former coach driver at Chelsea and Fulham.
“Captain Tom’s having quite a special day to mark his 100th birthday and I’m proud to be a part of it and travel through my hometown of Stroud.
“Colleagues and members of the public were very keen for a train to be named in his honour and it’s brilliant GWR has been able to do this for him.”
The World War Two veteran raised almost £30 million for NHS Charities Together by doing laps of his garden, with the total amount still going up. Great Western Railway The Intercity Express Train 800025 has his name written on the front, alongside a picture of him with his walking frame.
GWR’s Head of Communications Dan Panes added: “Captain Tom truly has captured the hearts of the nation with his phenomenal fundraising achievements during the Covid-19 crisis.
“Our decision to name a train in his honour followed requests from GWR colleagues and members of the public, and we wanted to make it an extra special birthday with this fun video. We hope Captain Tom has time to enjoy it on his big day.”
The Class 800 Intercity Express Train went into service carrying its new name on Thursday and will carry key workers travelling to and from work on the Great Western network.
In 2016 GWR launched a public campaign to name its new fleet of Intercity Express Trains after Great Westerners – those inspirational individuals who have shaped the Great Western network.
The new fleet celebrate these people and their legacies by bearing their names. Trains named to date include for example Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II, named by HM Queen Elizabeth in 2017, to mark 175 years since Queen Victoria became the first monarch to travel by train.