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Charity open day raises in excess of £50k

Press release   •   Jun 10, 2019 14:00 BST

Members of Alison Austin's family receive a commemorate plaque from their colleagues and Councillor Benn Minshall, Mayor of Crewe Town Council
  • Over five thousand visitors flock to Crewe All Change event
  • Train named to mark Crewe’s role in the railway and honour Alison Austin
  • Charites including NET, Rethink Mental Illness and other local good causes set to benefit

Despite the best efforts of the British weather, over five thousand visitors descended on Crewe Station over the weekend raising in excess £50,000 for charity.

The “Crewe All Change” open day was run in partnership between Virgin Trains, Locomotive Services (TOC) Limited and The Railway Magazine on Saturday, June 8.

Charities set to benefit include NET Patient Foundation, Rethink Mental Illness, The Railway Children, St John’s Ambulance and a number of other local good causes.

The event was run in memory of Alison Austin, daughter of Lyn Gillan, and brother of Melvyn, who both work at Crewe station. Alison lost her brave fight against Neuroendocrine Cancer last year.

Virgin Trains’ Pendolino 390115 was named by the family, with the help of Councillor Benn Minshall, Mayor of Crewe Town Council, ‘Crewe – All Change’, to reflect the town’s key role in the railway both historically and in the years to come. The train also carries Alison’s name on its cab ends.

Gaynor Stewart, General Manager for Virgin Trains in the North West said: “We can’t thank people enough for coming out to support the event. It means so much to the team at Crewe and Alison’s family. Its been six months in the planning and a great example of how the industry can work together to deliver something really special.

“Locomotive Services Limited and The Railway Magazine also deserve special praise for their energy and commitment. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

Mr Minshall added: “Ever since the railway made Crewe its home in the 1800s, the town has been incredibly proud of the rich heritage it has given to us. The term ‘All Change at Crewe’ has long been associated with our station and it is just as fitting today as we travel into a new railway era with HS2. Crewe will always be part of the railways past, present and future.”

In addition to the train naming, guests were treated to a behind the scenes look at Crewe Diesel Depot, the doors thrown open for the first time in over a decade. Over 40 diesel and electric trains from around the network were on show, reflecting the Diesel Depot’s modern history.

Catherine Bouvier, NET Patient Foundation’s Chief Executive added: “It was a great honour to witness the extraordinary efforts of the Virgin Trains team, especially Jacqui and James, who put together the 'All Change' Open Day in memory of Alison. Seeing her name on the train was incredibly moving.

"Neuroendocrine Cancer is a complex and unpredictable group of cancers and the whole team at the NET Patient Foundation strive to raise awareness of this hidden cancer. We are incredibly grateful for the Virgin Trains team’s fundraising efforts which will help us to continue supporting the Neuroendocrine Cancer community” 


Notes to Editors

NET Patient Foundation (NPF) is a UK wide charity solely dedicated to providing support and information to those affected by Neuroendocrine Cancer.

About Virgin Trains

Stagecoach and Virgin are working in partnership to operate the West Coast inter-city route under the Virgin Trains brand, revolutionising travel on one of the UK’s key rail arteries.

The network connects some of the nation’s most iconic destinations including Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and London.

Virgin Trains is committed to delivering a high speed, high frequency service, offering shorter journey times, more comfortable travel and excellent customer service. Customers consistently rate Virgin Trains ahead of other long-distance rail franchise operators in the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) commissioned by industry watchdog, Transport Focus.

Virgin Trains has a proud record of challenging the status quo - from introducing tilting Pendolino trains, to a pioneering automated delay repay scheme, introducing the industry-leading onboard entertainment streaming service, BEAM, and becoming the first franchised rail operator to offer m-Tickets for all ticket types.

Virgin Trains operated the East Coast route between March 1, 2015 and June 24, 2018. In that time, we invested £75m to create a more personalised travel experience, including over £40m in the existing fleet. Customers have benefitted from 48 additional services between Edinburgh and London every week, and an extra 22 Saturday services between Leeds and London – a total of 1.74 million additional seats since May 2015.

Working together, the partnership railway of the public and private sectors has published a long-term plan, called In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity, to change and improve Britain’s railway. The plan will secure almost £85bn of additional economic benefits to the country whilst enabling further investment and improvement, and contains four commitments which will see rail companies: strengthen our economic contribution to the country; improve customers’ satisfaction; boost the communities we serve; and, create more and better jobs in rail. For more information go to Britain Runs on Rail.

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