First Pride train in UK begins inaugural journey
UK had its first fully decorated Pride train making its inaugural journey from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly.
Staffed by a full LGBTQ crew, the 11-carriage train is decorated in the traditional rainbow colors, as well as black and brown to represent people of color and the colors of the transgender flag.
The decoration on the train, one of Avanti West Coast’s iconic Pendolinos, is reportedly the biggest Pride flag ever seen in the UK.
An LGBTQ train for everyone
Avanti, which is the inter-city rail operator that runs the train, said this was their way of showing their commitment to the LGBTQ community. The new train will be a permanent part of the Avanti fleet.
“I’m delighted to be launching our new Avanti West Coast Pride Train, which represents everyone in the LGBTQ+ community,” said Avanti Executive Director Sarah Copley.
“It is a symbol of our commitment to diversity and inclusion as it travels up and down the West Coast Main Line. We Live Proud 365 days a year, not just today,” Copley added.
Meanwhile, train manager Paul Austin said: “This is about being accepted for who I am and representing the LGBTQ+ community we serve across our network.”
“Being a part of the UK’s first all LGBTQ+ crew is a sign of the steps we’re taking towards a more inclusive, diverse and equal society and I am so proud to be involved today,” Austin said.
The Pride train to be named by the public
Avanti had also announced that the public will be given the chance to name the train in a competition, with entries to be submitted via its website. The winning name will be declared in October.
The inside of the train will be filled with Pride-related posters and literature for passengers even as similar information and facts will be shared during the onboard announcements.
The train’s crew members shared their preferred pronouns on the Pride-themed uniforms. Copley said, “Our new train livery is a powerful example of keeping the conversation going.”
Unfortunately, the train encountered a minor maintenance issue during its journey. Though it left London Euston for Manchester Picadilly as scheduled, it didn’t return to London Euston.
As inter-city rail operator, Avanti covers routes from London to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Wales, and Scotland.
Piers Morgan takes a potshot at the Pride train
However, UK TV host Piers Morgan wasn’t happy having an LGBTQ-inclusive train as he tweeted, “Why?”
Morgan is known for making various anti-LGBTQ statements, including calling Gillete’s ad on encouraging men to stand up to bullying and sexual harassment as a “global assault on masculinity.”
This launched off a Twitter war as Morgan’s supporters started a series of homophobic tweets that LGBTQ people and allies countered.
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, a queer venue in London that holds LGBTQ events and drag shows, criticized Morgan in its company account: “Your silence speaks volumes.”
“The thing is, Piers, when you tweet stuff like this your followers then feel emboldened to openly attack LGBTQ+ people in the replies and in the street. Yet you stay silent,” the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.