Her Majesty the Queen recreates first ever royal train trip with Great Western Railway
Her Majesty the Queen has marked the 175th anniversary of the first rail journey made by a monarch, recreating the original journey made by Queen Victoria, before naming a new intercity express train at Paddington Station. The train will be named Queen Elizabeth II in her honour.
On June 13th, 1842, Queen Victoria made the journey from Slough to Paddington and became the first British monarch to travel by train. The train that day was driven by Daniel Gooch and assisted by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. To mark this unique occasion GWR recreated the journey between the two stations using its new Hitachi-built Intercity Express Train, in the presence of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
The Royal party were joined on the train by Isambard Thomas and Gillian White, the direct descendants of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Sir Daniel Gooch. Following the naming ceremony, Tim O’Toole, chief executive of GWR’s owner, FirstGroup, presented the Queen with a pair of specially designed coins which will become a feature of GWR’s new express trains.
Great Western Railway’s intercity express train marks the start of the biggest fleet upgrade in a generation on GWR’s network and is the first major intercity fleet to be introduced on the UK rail network for some 20 years. It is due to enter passenger service first on the Great Western Railway in the autumn this year, and will enable longer trains with more seats; faster and more frequent journeys.
The trains are being built by the 900-strong workforce at Hitachi’s north-east factory in Newton Aycliffe, as part of the government’s £5.7 billion Intercity Express Programme. Her Majesty was greeted at Slough Station by school children from four local schools who had produced their own drawings to mark the occasion.
Mark Hopwood, managing director of Great Western Railway said: “We are delighted that the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were able to join us to mark this historic anniversary.“We at GWR are extremely proud of our heritage and this occasion marks a very special moment in the history of the Great Western Railway.”