One of the biggest train operators in the UK has unveiled a rainbow-flag covered train.
Avanti, which operates high-speed trains between London and Manchester, yesterday launched the vehicle on its maiden voyage. It’s wrapped a 265-meter, 11-carriage Pendolino train in a modern design of the rainbow flag, which includes black and brown stripes and the colors of the trans flag.
This coming weekend would have seen Pride celebrations take place in Manchester in the north of England. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s celebrations have been canceled. However, in normal times, thousands would likely have made the 208-mile journey north, making now the perfect time to unveil the train.
The new design will be permanent, with the company saying it makes the train the biggest – or certainly the longest – Pride flag in the UK.
Avanti West Coast Executive Director, Sarah Copley said the train was, “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.”
Yesterday’s launch service was staffed by an entirely LGBTQ staff from the company’s LGBTQ employee network. Future trains will be staffed by a regular mix of straight and non-straight staff.
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.”
A competition was also launched to name the new Pride train.
Predictably, some people took to social media to blast the company for the design and daring to have an all-LGBTQ crew for its maiden voyage.
So Avanti now discriminates against staff in their work prospects? You can only get a shift on this train if you are LGBTQ+. Is this legal? Did the Unions agree to this? The antithesis of equality.
— ScotsWumman (@ScotsWumman) August 25, 2020
However, the majority of comments expressed joy and excitement over the new design.
Seeing a lot of hysteria on Twitter about the Avanti West Coast Pride train. Having had to deal with a passenger shouting homophobic abuse at others and subsequently physically assaulted me, I’d say this train’s message is very necessary. #Pride 🏳️🌈 https://t.co/uVfAoRKpBI
— Remaining Railwayman (@Cheminot71) August 25, 2020
Check out a video clip below.
— The Railway Hub (@TheRailHub) August 25, 2020