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Great Western Railway celebrates The Princess Royal’s lifetime of dedicated service by naming train in her honour

Great Western Railway has named a train after HRH The Princess Royal in recognition of her support for more than 300 charities, organisations and military regiments in the UK and overseas.

Representatives from a host of those organisations joined guests at London Paddington on Thursday 2 May as Intercity Express Train 800024 was named in honour of Her Royal Highness.

Her Royal Highness was joined at London Paddington by husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, a member of the GWR Advisory Board.

After the unveiling, The Princess Royal was introduced to guests including the Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper MP, former Prime Minister Theresa May and Transport for London Commissioner Andrew Lord.

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Mark Hopwood, Great Western Railway Managing Director, said:

“Naming trains has been a tradition on the railway, and especially on the Great Western Railway, since the earliest days of train travel.

“Today GWR proudly continues this tradition, recognising and celebrating inspirational individuals who have shaped the communities and the nation. Her Royal Highness has dedicated a large part of her working life to official engagements and visits and we are delighted to recognise this immense contribution by carrying her name on the side of this Intercity Express Train.”

Transport Secretary, Rt Hon Mark Harper MP, said: 

“I'm delighted to see one of GWR’s trains named after Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal in recognition of her remarkable commitment to public service.

"Her Royal Highness has made a significant contribution to so many important charities, events and public services so it gives me great pride to celebrate this through one of the greatest traditions on our railways."

Inspired by the heritage of GWR’s King George V locomotive, two sides of a coin appear on the side of GWR’s named Intercity Express Trains.

With the Coat of Arms of the GWR on one side of coin, the other will include an illustration of The Princess competing at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Seated on the Queen’s horse, Goodwill, Her Royal Highness was taking part in the equestrian three-day event – the first member of the Royal Family to feature in the Olympics.

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HRH went on to play a part in London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games and today brings insight and experience to her role as a British member of the International Olympic Committee, as well as being President of the British Olympic Association.

Annamarie Phelps CBE, Vice-Chairman of the British Olympic Association, said:

“HRH The Princess Royal is synonymous with British Olympic sport and the British Olympic Association. Having competed as an Olympian, she also holds the unique record of being an IOC member, having led an international sport federation and, of course, being the mother to another Olympian, Zara Tindall. We are delighted to join her today to celebrate the naming of this train in her honour.”

The Princess has been President of Save the Children UK since 1970, visiting projects in many countries including China, Cambodia, Botswana, Madagascar and The Philippines.

Gemma Sherrington, Interim Chief Executive of Save the Children, said:

“We are delighted that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal is being honoured by Great Western Railway for her lifelong charitable commitments. The Princess Royal has supported the work of Save the Children for over 50 years and as our Patron has worked tirelessly to support us, visiting teams in the UK and around the world and regularly meeting with our inspirational fundraisers and volunteers.  

“We continue to be incredibly grateful for The Princess Royal’s support to help us continue to deliver lasting change for children and their families in the UK and across the globe."

HRH has been closely involved with the creation of several charities, including The Princess Royal's Trust for Carers (now Carers Trust), Transaid and Riders for Health, and has been Patron of the Motor Neurone Disease Association since 2008.

Tanya Curry, chief executive of the MND Association, said:

“HRH The Princess Royal has offered steadfast support to the MND Association for more than 16 years and is a remarkable advocate for people with motor neurone disease, a terminal illness which affects more than 5000 people in the UK at any one time.

“We are incredibly grateful to Her Royal Highness for her unwavering dedication throughout her time as Royal Patron of the MND Association, and we are delighted her commitment to charitable causes is being recognised in this way.”

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Contact Information

James Davis

Media Relations Manager

Great Western Railway

0845 410 4444

Notes to editors

Notes to editors

First Greater Western Limited, trading as “Great Western Railway” (GWR), operates trains across the Great Western franchise area, which includes South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, across southern England and into London. GWR provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services, and before the covid-19 pandemic helped over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year. GWR has been awarded a National Rail Contract to continue operating the Great Western network, which shall run up to 21 June 2025, with the potential for a further three years at the Secretary of State’s discretion. Find out more here: