Beds, Herts & Bucks

Train named after former England boss Graham Taylor unveiled in Watford

Halkin UK Image copyright Halkin UK
Image caption The London Midland Class 350 model, named Graham Taylor OBE, was unveiled by his widow Rita, at Watford Junction

A train named after ex England manager Graham Taylor has been unveiled.

The West Coast service will call at Watford Junction, Aston, Wolverhampton and Wembley Central.

The London Midland Class 350 model was unveiled by Taylor's widow Rita, at Watford Junction.

The firm said it was in "recognition of a man who made such a lasting mark on the sport across the country". Taylor died in January of a suspected heart attack, aged 72.

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The train's unit number is 350377, recognising the year 1977 when Taylor first joined Watford.

'Fitting tribute'

Head of West Coast services Steve Helfet said: "We can't really think of a better way to mark the passing of a great man than naming one of our newest trains after him.

"He served areas right the way across our network with distinction."

This is only the third train the company has named.

The first was named after Samaritans founder Chad Varah in an industry-wide initiative, and the second was named after the Lichfield Festival, an event with which the operator has had a longstanding partnership.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Graham Taylor managed teams including Watford, Aston Villa and Wolves

Mr Helfet said the idea had been put forward by one of its conductors and the company approached Taylor's family through Watford Football Club to gauge their opinion.

"We were delighted that within a matter of hours, Rita had confirmed that she was happy and thought it was a really fitting tribute," he said.

Image copyright London Midland
Image caption A London Midland Class 350 train has been named Graham Taylor OBE

When the idea was announced, Scott Duxbury, the chairman of Watford Football club, said: "Alongside other planned tributes, this gesture is a mark of just how widely Graham's work and warm personality were appreciated across our town."

Graham Taylor's managerial career

Taylor led Lincoln City to the old Fourth Division title in 1975-76 before joining Watford

In his first spell as Hornets boss between 1977 and 1987, Taylor took the club from the Fourth Division to the top flight, and the team finished second to Liverpool in 1983. He also took them to the 1984 FA Cup final.

Appointed by Villa in 1987, he led them to promotion into the top tier and took them to second place in 1990.

He became England boss in 1990 but resigned after the team failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup

Taylor returned to club management with a brief stint at Wolves before again taking over at Watford, leading them to two promotions in as many years as he guided them back into English football's top flight.

He returned to manage Villa in 2002 but retired a year later.

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