During this special year of celebrations to commemorate the 175th Anniversary of the Great Western Railway, a very special naming ceremony took place in early October at London Paddington Station.
Echoing the Great Western Railway tradition of naming ceremonies and of times gone by, the ceremony was held at Paddington Station and First Great Western Power Car 43 175 was officially named “GWR 175 Anniversary”.
First Great Western Trains, The Friends of Swindon Railway Museum, STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway and Network Rail arranged for the naming to take place and Lord Gladwyn, a great, great grandson of Mr Brunel, through the Florence Brunel line of descent and Mr A Lloyd, First Great Western Customer Service Employee of the Year 2010 carried out the official naming. They were accompanied by the Friends of Swindon Railway Museum, the Mayor of Swindon, Cllr. Rex Barnett. and staff from First Great Western. The new nameplate “GWR 175 Anniversary” was attached to First Great Western Power Car 175 at 1.50pm
The Friends of Swindon Railway Museum then accompanied the Mayor of Swindon to STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway where the Mayor was presented with a replica nameplate of “GWR 175 Anniversary” and they were joined for afternoon tea by the STEAM volunteers, the staff at STEAM and former Employees of GWR and British Rail (Western Region).
As well as the celebratory naming of the Power Car 43 175, First Great Western also configured a special GWR 175 train formation at Paddington Station by placing Power Car 43 003 “ISAMBARDWestern First Great Western KINGDOM BRUNEL” at the lead end of Platform 5.
And First Great Western hope to showcase this unique GWR 175 train formation across their Great Western routes to mark the special anniversary. Rail enthusiasts will then be able to see the formation at stations from Paddington to Penzance and along the GWR cross country routes.
Pictured, from top: Alan Wild (Chairman of the Friends of Swindon Railway Museum), Allan Lloyd (FGW Service and Delivery Assistant at Nailsea and Backwell station), Mark Hopwood (FGW Managing Director), Rex Barnett (Mayor of Swindon) and Christina Clarfelt (Brunel’s great-great-great granddaughter
Mayor of Swindon Rex Barnett holding a replica plaque presented to Steam with Julian Crow, south west regional manager
Staff and volunteers at Steam, Museum of the Great Western Railway. Photo: Bill Orford