Thursday 24th March saw the launch of a newly named Virgin Train – the first in a programme rolling out across the country. ‘Alison Waters’ left London Euston at 09:00 with her name sake on board and was welcomed by Virgin Trains’ and Alstom staff on arrival into Manchester shortly after 11:00. Alison Waters is the British National Squash Champion 2010 and ranked number five in the world.
The Virgin Trains sponsorship initiative, which is supported by Alstom who built and maintain Virgin’s Pendolino train fleet, ‘Supporting British athletes’, enables a number of sportsmen and women to attend training camps; key competitions and championships up and down the country.
With the numerous events happening in the run up to the 2012 Games and Glasgow 2014 the ability to train and take part in competitive events is an important part of these athlete’s careers. Alison, whose training heartland is the Manchester National Squash Centre, is the first of the 2014 Games’ hopefuls to reap the benefits of this sponsorship and will this year be taking part in: British Grand Prix; World Open Squash 2011 and Women’s World Team Championship in 2012.
Alison travels regularly between her home in Southgate, London and Manchester and said: “I am so excited to be launching a train named after me! This normally happens to Royalty! On a more serious note the Virgin Trains sponsorship allows me to travel freely to my training ground – a real help in these tough times and something that I hope will give my career chances a real boost.”
Natasha Grice, 2012 Games Co-ordinator at Virgin Trains, said: “We think it’s fantastic that Alison has agreed to have one of our trains named after her. We really hope that it will spread the message of her career quest across our network but also that it will raise awareness of the great lengths our top athletes have to go through in order to realise their sporting dreams.”
Roy Sullivan, Alstom Transport UK’s Mainline Operations Director said: “Alstom is delighted to support this initiative with Virgin Trains. We identify with the determination and commitment needed by the athletes to deliver top performance and wish Alison well for the exciting challenges ahead.”