Director of rugby Jim Mallinder, coaches Alex King and Dorian West, club captain Dylan Hartley and British and Irish Lions winger George North joined John Smith, managing director of GB Railfreight, Martin Hill, chairman of long-standing club supporters GRS Roadstone, and other invited guests at Wellingborough Railhead for the naming ceremony.
The newly named locomotive ‘Northampton Saints’ will be part of GB Railfreight’s fleet that will be used throughout the UK on a whole range of different freight services, and Mallinder thanked all of the companies involved for their support of the club and the team.
“We’re honoured that GB Railfreight and GRS Roadstone have made the decision to name a locomotive after Northampton Saints,” he said. “It is not something that happens all that often, especially for a rugby club, and is something that we can be proud of.”
GB Railfreight managing director John Smith, who himself lives in the Northampton area, said that he was delighted that one of his locomotives will be carrying the Saints’ name.
“It’s very special for us to have the privilege of naming the locomotive after Northampton Saints,” he said. “It’s unique to have a rugby club name on the side of a locomotive, although we do have some football clubs. Having done those, and living in the Northampton area myself, we thought that it would be nice to celebrate the recent successes of Northampton Saints in this way.”
Martin Hill, chairman of GRS Roadstone, said that seeing the Saints become the first Aviva Premiership club to have its name be carried by a locomotive was special.
“I’m so proud of where the club has come from, from being relegated to where they are now, which is why I’ve worked with GB Railfreight to get this locomotive named after the Saints,” he said. “It’s unusual, and instead of doing something that’s the norm we’ve done something slightly different. Naming a train means that the Saints’ name will be seen up and down the country.”