Great Western Railway unveils special livery thanking key workers and celebrating diversity

Thursday 02nd July 2020

Unique design features the ideas of three teenagers from across GWR network.

Great Western Railway (GWR) today unveiled a special livery thanking key workers for their incredible efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, inspired by the company’s design a train competition.

With a theme of ‘The nation says thank you’, the special design features words of gratitude in 116 different languages used by those living across the GWR network.

GWR train with the new NHS artwork

‘The nation says thank you’: The striking new livery

The livery, carried by Intercity Express Train number 802020, incorporates the ideas of three teenagers who entered a competition on GWR’s social media channels to design a train livery.

Sam Smith, 13, from Gloucestershire, suggested the words ‘The nation says thank you’; Sam Moorey, 15, from Newton Abbot, proposed saying ‘thank you’ in different languages; and Ned Thompson, 16, of Guildford, crafted the overall design.

GWR worked with local authorities and NHS trusts to ensure the diversity of communities across the network was represented. The livery features 109 speech bubbles, using 116 languages from at least 166 countries.

It has been unveiled days before the nation joins in one final NHS clap on Sunday 5 July at 1700, to applaud all those who have helped through the pandemic and recognise the vital community connections that continue to support us all.

GWR train with the new NHS artwork

Tribute: The new livery incorporating the ideas of three competition winners

The ‘design a special train livery’ competition was judged by Railway Historian and broadcaster Tim Dunn, who admitted it was a tough task settling on the final design.

Tim said:

“Everyone is incredibly grateful to those key workers, including the railway family, who have been working tirelessly to help us through the pandemic.
“We wanted the design to represent the thoughts and thanks of those living across the network and believe the inclusion of these different languages is the perfect way to illustrate everyone’s gratitude. Hats off to the two Sams and Ned for coming up with such original concepts.”

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said:

“GWR has chosen a great combination of designs and I am pleased to see the rail industry saying ‘thank you’ in such a great diversity of languages."
“This serves as an excellent reminder of the hard work of so many people in our NHS and so many other crucial industries, and I am delighted to join with GWR and add my thanks to all the key workers across the nation.”

GWR Head of External Communications Dan Panes said:

“We wanted to give people the opportunity to express their thanks to key workers in a unique way. This design on one of our Intercity Express Trains will provide a lasting tribute to the selfless dedication of all those who have given everything to help us through these unprecedented times.”

GWR train with the new NHS artwork

Gratitude: The livery features a ‘thank-you’ message in 116 different languages

The special livery has been funded by rolling stock leasing company, Eversholt Rail, and Intercity Express Train manufacturer Hitachi Rail.

Mary Kenny, Chief Executive Officer at Eversholt Rail, said:

“We are proud to support Great Western Railway with this fantastic initiative to thank all of the key workers who have supported the country throughout these difficult times.

“The number of fantastic entries to the competition shows that so many people appreciate the hard work and dedication of our key workers and want to say ‘thank you’. Congratulations to the two Sams and Ned for their winning entries.”

Andy Radford, UK Projects Director at Hitachi Rail, said:

“We have seen first-hand the resilience of key workers, either as passengers using our trains for essential travel or rail staff who kept trains running safely during the peak of the pandemic.

“Hitachi Rail is proud to be part of this fitting tribute, but equally delighted to be giving passengers a reason to smile.”

GWR continues to remind customers to do all they can to follow social distancing guidance. As well as wearing a face covering, planning ahead and avoiding peak travel times where possible, customers are urged to buy tickets online, on a smart card or by using the GWR app.

Notes to editors
Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.

We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR is a FirstGroup company.