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PRE-SEASON TRAINING FOR STAR SIR PATRICK; Freight loco named after Town at special ceremony.

Byline: Robert Sutcliffe News Reporter

Sir Patrick Stewart unveils the Huddersfield Town locomotive at Huddersfield Railway Station Sir Patrick Stewart unveils the Huddersfield Town locomotive at Huddersfield Railway Station HE is probably the world's bestknown train spotter but yesterday Sir Patrick Stewart got an honour not granted to many - unveiling a Huddersfield Town locomotive!

The Mirfield-born actor was the star guest at Huddersfield Railway Station where, in front of around 50 invited VIP guests, he pulled back the curtain to reveal the plaque on a freight train.

There are only a handful of football-led trains in the country so even for a world-famous actor he was all too conscious of the honour.

In blazing sunshine and surrounded by Town legends such as Ray Wilson, Peter Jackson and Andy Booth, he explained how he had come to be involved in the ceremony.

Sir Patrick, chancellor of Huddersfield University and Town's Academy president, said the moment had a special resonance for him.

"The platform behind me is where in March 1957 I stood waiting for a train to take me to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre for an audition, that was a life-changing moment for me," he said. "They offered me a place and that's where my career began."

He told how six years earlier he had breathlessly told his mum how he had touched the Mallard train at King's Cross and now here he was unveiling a plaque on a freight train destined to criss-cross the country bearing the town's pride.

Sir Patrick added: "Accepting this invitation was a 'no-brainer' for me. I would compare this moment to when I was elected chancellor of the university and equally when I was asked to become president of the Huddersfield Town Academy. "To be invited to unveil an engine with Huddersfield Town as its nameplate connects all the principal reasons I am still part of Huddersfield - the university, the club and my passion for trains. I was a train spotter - I had all the books - and I always wanted to see an engine that was a 'namer.'" ."

Huddersfield Town chief executive Nigel Clibbens said that as the son of a labouring man he could never dream of such a proud moment.

"The club is delighted that GB Railfreight has given this honour to Huddersfield Town.

"It's with pride that the name is to grace a locomotive once again after a 50-year absence. We're really looking forward to seeing the locomotive haul trains not only through Yorkshire, but across the whole of England.

"It's wonderful that in a World Cup year we could share this moment with our very own legendary World Cup winner Ray Wilson and to have the locomotive unveiled by a lifelong, ardent Huddersfield Town fan in Sir Patrick Stewart makes it extraspecial."

The new locomotive naming was the idea of Town fan Pip Dunn, the editor of Railways Illustrated magazine. He contacted Town, and after receiving the go-ahead from the directors, he took the idea to GB Railfreight.


The GB Railfreight locomotive in Huddersfield

Sir Patrick Stewart unveils the Huddersfield Town locomotive at Huddersfield Railway Station


Town favourite Peter Jackson

Train enthusiast Patrick Stewart in the driver's seat

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jul 18, 2014
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