Freight engine remembers fallen soldiers

A poignant ceremony has seen a freight engine named in remembrance of 20,000 railway workers who died in the First World War. Freightliner’s 66418 was named ‘Patriot’ in recognition of Armistice Day in the UK – November 11th – which marks the agreement signed between the Allied Forces and Germany to end hostilities in 1918. 

Among those attending the naming ceremony was employee Graham Wood, whose grandfather Wilfred Wood VC was awarded the Victoria Cross in October 1918 for conspicuous bravery and initiative on the Italian front against Austro-Hungarian forces. Following a service and observation of the traditional two minutes of silence, Graham was joined by Adam Cunliffe, Managing Director of Freightliner UK for the unveiling of the name plaque.

Project Railway Honour

The naming is part of an initiative called ‘Project Railway Honour’, and is the brainchild of Corporal Gareth Atkinson of the 1st Battalion Mercian Regiment. Under the scheme, model railway maker Dapol will produce a detailed scale model of ‘Patriot’, and for every one it sells it will donate to the The Soldiers’ Charity, the national charity of the British Army.

Adam Cunliffe said: “Freightliner is honoured to name locomotive 66418 ‘Patriot’ in commemoration of the 20,000 railwaymen who made the ultimate sacrifice in WW1,” said Adam Cunliffe. “It is particularly poignant that the naming ceremony took place at our new maintenance facility in Crewe, where the original war memorial steam locomotive ‘Patriot 1914’ was built, in remembrance of the fallen of the London and North Western Railway.”

Stock maintenance

“Seeing this project come to life with this very special naming at the most apt of times was both an emotional and proud day for me,” said Gareth Atkinson.  “Without the support shown by all parties, especially Freightliner, this project would still be just an idea on a piece of paper.”

The ceremony took place Freightliner’s new maintenance facility at Crewe, in the north west of England, and provides cost effective, bespoke rolling stock maintenance solutions for its fleet of locomotives.

Author: Simon Weedy

Simon is a journalist for - a dedicated online platform for all the news about the rail freight sector

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