Virgin Trains’ locomotive named the “Lord Mayor of Newcastle”06/12/16
Councillor Helen Stephenson named Virgin Trains locomotive 91130 the “Lord Mayor of Newcastle”. She is pictured alongside the loco with Jonathan Edwards CBE, Newcastle City Council Leader Councillor Nick Forbes and David Horne
A Virgin Trains locomotive has been named the “Lord Mayor of Newcastle” to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the city’s Mayoralty and Freemen.
A ceremony was held today to commemorate the anniversary of King John granting a charter, in 1216, to Newcastle’s burgesses - known today as the Freemen - which empowered them to elect a Mayor of Newcastle.
The ceremony, which was held at Newcastle Central Station, was hosted by Jonathan Edwards CBE, the Olympic gold medal triple-jump winner and world record holder who is himself an Honorary Freeman of the city.
It is a key part of Newcastle City Council’s commemoration of 800 years of Newcastle’s Mayoralty. The city has had its royal charter renewed by successive sovereigns and is one of only a few cities in Europe to have had the same office handed down to known recipients over so many years in an unbroken sequence.
The current Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor Hazel Stephenson, said: “We have had many events to mark the 800th anniversary of the Mayoralty and Freemen but this will probably be one of the most enduring events.
“The Mayoralty is one of the longest surviving civic institutions in the city. It’s a great honour to have a train named after it.
“People who live and travel along the whole of the East Coast Mainline will see what a truly special year this is for Newcastle. Now it will be remembered for years to come.”
The locomotive, which is numbered 91130 and will promote Newcastle across Virgin’s east coast route, features the name, a commemorative plaque and famous city landmarks, including the Tyne Bridge, Castle Keep, St James’ Park football ground and the Civic Centre, where the council is based.
David Horne, Managing Director of Virgin Trains on it east coast route, said: “Virgin Trains is committed to working with communities to promote their history and heritage, and we’re delighted to support the city council’s commemoration of 800 years of Newcastle’s Mayoralty.
“Newcastle is an amazing city and we hope we can promote it far and wide across our route through our newly named loco.”
Jonathan Edwards said: “As an Honorary Freeman it’s great to have helped name a train after the Mayoralty, and it’s also good that Virgin Trains has changed its brand from red and white to black and white on this loco to reflect the colours of Newcastle United Football Club!”
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