Great Western Railway

  1. 'Cockleshell Hero' has GWR train named in his honour

    Andrew Segal

    BBC South West

    George Sheard's name on GWR train

    A "Cockleshell Hero" from Plymouth, who took part in a daring World War Two mission, has had a train named in his honour by Great Western Railway.

    Cpl George Sheard was among a group of 10 Royal Marines who volunteered for hazardous service planting mines on enemy ships off southwestern France.

    Their job was to the attack enemy German ships moored at the port of Bordeaux in occupied France.

    The 27-year-old drowned in the daring mission, which saw the troops in five two-man canoes trying to get almost 100 miles behind enemy lines, in December 1942.

    Their mission, Operation Frankton, was immortalised in film in 1955.

    Only two men survived to tell the tale - six were executed and two drowned - but the mission's significance reportedly led Winston Churchill to say he believed the raid could have shortened the war by six months.

    The Corporal George Sheard is Intercity Express Train number 802010, which travels on the Plymouth-London Paddington route.

    Five canoes with the names of each canoe and those in them also feature in the new graphic on the train.

    Sarah Holmes, great niece of George Sheard said the naming was "a great accolade".

    She said: "We hope that passengers will learn of the mission and that it may serve as an inspiration to others."

    The dedication comes after GWR named a train after Cornish D-Day veteran Harry Billinge MBE.

    George Sheard's name on GWR train
  2. GWR celebrates Pride month with a Turing tribute

    Great Western Railway (GWR) will be celebrating Pride month (from 7 June) through virtual and rolling-stock rainbows.

    Local pride events across the south and west region have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    But GWR's 'Trainbow' intercity - designed to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community in 2018 - will be out and about, and is to be named, later this month, after Alan Turing.

    Turing was born in London and was responsible for the breaking of German ciphers in World War Two. He was convicted for his sexuality in 1952 and received a posthumous pardon in 2013, when the “Turing Law” was passed to pardon all gay men convicted in the past.

    UK Pride month is from 1-29 June, with GWR’s Pride week starting on 7 June.

    Rainbow decorated GWR train
  3. Cornwall's commuters begin to return to local trains

    BBC Radio Cornwall

    Cornish commuters are beginning to return to local trains but being warned by operators to use them as little as possible.

    The guidance is to only use trains and other public transport if necessary after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said earlier this month that those in England who could not work from home should be "actively encouraged to go to work".

    Only about a 10th of train seats are in use and there are floor markings at stations, similar to those in supermarkets, to ensure social distancing.

    Managers also said that trains were getting a deep clean everyday, and there has been more cleaning of things such as handrails.

    James Davis, from GWR, said many of those getting back on trains first were key health workers.

    He added that the message of using trains less "seems a very strange message to have to put across, but it's the right message at this time".

    GWR train
  4. Bus and train bosses give travel advice

    BBC Spotlight

    One of the tendered bus companies that runs routes throughout Plymouth and Cornwall is to continue to provide a service for key workers and those who could not work from home, bosses say.

    Since the lockdown, Plymouth Citybus has run a reduced service on many routes and has advised passengers to check before travelling.

    To ensure social distancing rules the company has provided double-deckers on busier routes, implemented additional cleaning measures and cordoned off their drivers.

    In the meantime, Great Western Railway (GWR) said it was encouraging all passengers using the trains in Devon and Cornwall to follow government advice and avoid travel by train unless they had no other option.

    The train operator said this advice was helping it to prioritise its services for those who needed to make essential journeys in light of the easing of lockdown announcement made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week, where he said people who could not work from home should return to the workplace - but avoid public transport.

  5. Trains will sound horns of thanks on VE day

    Jonathan Holmes

    Digital Journalist

    Intercity Express Train

    Trains across the country will salute the WWII generation with a mass sounding of horns on VE Day.

    At Bristol Temple Meads, a Great Western Railway Intercity Express Train will sound its horn at 1500 on Friday (8th May) to help mark the 75th anniversary.

    The additional salute will follow a two minute silence at 1100 after which Network Rail stations will all play a special recording of the song ‘We’ll Meet Again’.

  6. Railway horns mark Captain Tom tribute

    Jonathan Holmes

    Digital Journalist

    Video content

    Video caption: GWR's video features a variety of train horns singing happy birthday to Captain Tom.

    Among all the tributes flooding in to Captain (now honorary Colonel) Tom Moore, is this one from GWR.

    The railway company has already named one of its intercity express trains after Tom, but this video celebrates his birthday in a more unusual way.

  7. Frank Mills 'amazing' says Captain Tom

    Captain Tom with medals
    Image caption: Captain Tom was honoured with an RAF fly-past above his Bedfordshire home. A WW2 Spitfire and Hurricane flew side-by-side, to waves from Captain Moore.

    Captain Tom Moore has paid his own tribute to Bristol fundraising boy Frank Mills.

    The now national icon is celebrating his 100th birthday and has been made an honorary army colonel as a mark of respect.

    He pledged to raise money for the NHS, by walking one hundred laps of his garden before his 100th birthday today, and ended up raising more than £29m.

    His efforts inspired Frank Mills, the six-year-old boy with spina bifida, from Bristol, to walk 10 metres with a walking frame, just 18 months after learning to walk.

    Frank has currently raised more than £250,000.

    His hero Captain Tom said today that he was "truly amazing".

    Train named Captain Tom Moore

    Great Western Railway have named one of their intercity trains after Captain Tom.

    GWR’s head of communications Dan Panes said:

    “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.”

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