Academy President reveals new honour for the Club
Academy President Sir Patrick Stewart unveiled a new locomotive named after Huddersfield Town in a special VIP ceremony on Thursday morning.
The world famous star of stage and screen and lifelong Huddersfield Town fan visited Huddersfield train station to unveil the name plate on the side of the GB Railfreight locomotive alongside John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, in front of a guests including the Mayor of Kirklees Cllr Ken Smith; World Cup winner Ray Wilson; MP Jason McCartney; Huddersfield Town’s Honorary President David Taylor and former Manager Peter Jackson.
The naming ceremony continues a proud history of Huddersfield Town appearing across the railway network, as the Club was one of a select number of football clubs to grace the side of a B17 steam locomotive from the 1930s to the 1960s; a name plate from the original ‘Huddersfield Town’ is still in possession of the Club.
This new locomotive naming was the brainchild of Town fan Pip Dunn, the editor of Railways Illustrated Magazine. Pip contacted Huddersfield Town and, after receiving the go-ahead from Town’s Board of Directors, he took the idea to GB Railfreight.
Having assembled at the Club’s PPG Canalside training complex in the morning, the guests were taken to Huddersfield Railway Station’s platform five for the naming ceremony, where Pip started proceedings before handing to John Smith from GB Railfreight.
After Town’s Chief Executive Nigel Clibbens said a few words, Sir Patrick pulled the cord to reveal the ‘Huddersfield Town’ nameplate on the side of the locomotive number 66738.
Huddersfield Town Chief Executive Nigel Clibbens commented:
“The Club is delighted that GB Railfreight has given this honour to Huddersfield Town. It’s with pride that the name 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 extra special.
“This event encapsulates everything that is good about Huddersfield Town off-the-field in our aim to be a focal point in the community. It’s fantastic that we could share this afternoon with key figures from the Club’s history such as Peter Jackson and Andy Booth and hopefully it’s something that Town supporters can take pride in too.”
Speaking at the ceremony, Sir Patrick - pictured above with Andy Booth, Peter Jackson, Ray Wilson and Pip Dunn, 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 principle 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’.”