As part of the weekly celebrations to thank frontline workers in the health and social care sector, leading UK rail freight operator GB Railfreight (GBRf) and its industry partner Porterbrook have unveiled a specially repainted Class 66 freight locomotive in the blue and white livery of the National Health Service.
The repainted loco was unveiled at 20:00 to coincide with the now-traditional Thursday evening ‘Clap for the NHS’ celebration during which millions of people across the UK step outside their front doors to thank the frontline staff who are putting their lives on the line to save countless others in hospitals and care homes.
The locomotive, number 66731, was repainted by Arlington Fleet Services, Eastleigh, for Porterbrook, owner of the locomotive and long-term industry partner of freight operator GB Railfreight. As the locomotive was unveiled, GBRf staff joined in with the clapping to express their gratitude to all those working to keep everyone safe during the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
66731 will rejoin the rest of the GBRf fleet, keeping freight moving from ports such as London Gateway, Southampton, Felixstowe and Teesport to distribution centres across the country. These flows are ensuring that warehouses remain stocked, and supermarkets as well as other essential retailers remain supplied.
GB Railfreight managing director John Smith said: “Thank you to all NHS staff and carers across the country for the hard work you have been doing to keep us safe. Across the UK you are seeing week in, week out, an outpouring of love and affection of our frontline staff and we are taking a minute today to say our thanks on behalf of GB Railfreight and the rail industry.
“The unveiling of this locomotive is our way of saying thanks for all you are doing.
“We are inspired by you and wanted to say thank you in the usual GBRf way, by painting one of our regular Class 66 which will be travelling the lengths and breadths of the country to keep our economy moving during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
“Now it will also carry our message of thanks to all our carers.”
Mary Grant, chief executive officer of Porterbrook, added: “We are delighted to support GB Railfreight in thanking NHS staff and carers for all that they do at this unprecedented time in our nation’s life.
“Porterbrook is also hugely grateful to all the front-line railway staff, including John’s team, who are the unsung heroes in keeping Britain’s economy moving.”