Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

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Posted in Great Britain, Other general stuff about railways by Chairman Pip on 7 September 2011

The next couple of years are going to be quite memorable for sport in the United Kingdom, as not only do we have the Olympics and Paralympics in London next year, but also the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. As with all such events, there is a great deal of pressure placed on athletes from the host country to do well and, as you may well imagine, being an athlete, even if you aren’t a full-time athlete, is a major undertaking. This is especially the case if you aren’t right at the top of your sport and have achieved enough name recognition to not have to worry about sniffing out funding, either through sponsorship or from UK Sport – for every Chris Hoy, Ben Ainslie or Rebecca Adlington, there are dozens of others up and coming, looking to qualify for major events. So we should welcome initiatives like the “Supporting British Athletes” scheme that has been introduced by Virgin Trains, and supported by Alstom, which will allow athletes to travel to and from training and competitions around the UK without having to worry about meeting the cost. And we all know that travelling by train in the UK can be expensive. So far, since the launch of the scheme, three British athletes have had Class 390 Pendolino trains named after them:

Of course, there are many other athletes below that elite group that could do with such help. Further, there are likely to be athletes that live and work in areas of the country not served by Virgin Trains. Given the groundswell of support, why do we not see other operators undertaking such schemes? This could be especially relevant for the Commonwealth Games, where the home nations compete individually – could you see ScotRail, Arriva Trains Wales and NI Railways providing such support for their own domestic athletes? Why not (although given the small size of the network in Northern Ireland, and the fact that a significant part of the province is not covered by rail, perhaps that should be extended to include Goldline as well)?

“British sports stars given a helping hand by Virgin Trains”
“Cyclist is latest athlete to name a Virgin Pendolino train”
“Athletes given helping hand by Virgin Trains”

Supporting British athletes

Alison Waters, Jessica Varnish and Beth Tweddle with their Pendolinos - there are many more athletes that would welcome sponsorship, and many more train operators that could provide it too


One Response

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  1. Myles Mallery said, on 24 September 2011 at 7:18 am

    “You don’t have to go looking for love when it’s where you come from.” ~ Werner Erhard

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