Lucy Parker, left, and Diana Barr at Paddington station with the newly-named IET
Great Western Railway has named an Intercity Express Train (IET) after two men who made major contributions to the Cotswold Line and the rail network nationally – Oliver Lovell and Sir Peter Parker.
IET number 800028, which regularly operates services on the line, was named in a ceremony at Paddington station in London as part of the train operator’s Great Westerners scheme, which recognises past and present heroes from across the GWR network.
Oliver, pictured right, was the founding chairman of the Cotswold Line Promotion Group, formed in March 1978 to campaign against the possible closure of the line by British Rail to save money.
He served on the CLPG’s committee continuously until his sudden death at Moreton-in-Marsh station in 2013. A new waiting room at the station was named in honour of Oliver and another longstanding committee member, John Stanley, in 2019.
Over the past 45 years, the CLPG has helped with improvements along the line, including securing the reopening of Honeybourne station in 1979 and campaigning for the reinstatement of double track. This was partially achieved in 2011 when Network Rail completed redoubling between Charlbury and Ascott-under-Wychwood and from Moreton-in-Marsh to Evesham.
The president of the CLPG, Lord Faulkner of Worcester, who worked for Sir Peter when he ran British Rail, said: “This naming commemorates two very different individuals who contributed immensely to the wellbeing of the Cotswold Line, and I congratulate GWR for granting them this unique honour.”
Mr Lovell’s sister, Diana Barr, said: “It’s an extremely proud moment for us and I know that he would have been thrilled and honoured by this recognition.”
Sir Peter, pictured below, was chairman of the British Railways Board from 1976 to 1983 and was a familiar face at Charlbury station while travelling between his home in Minster Lovell and London.
He is remembered with deep affection for an effective management style which helped to transform the reputation of Britain’s railways in the eyes of the public.
His daughter Lucy Parker said: “To have this train carrying his name as it travels along the tracks would have thrilled my father.
“He loved the people of the railway community and to be honoured in this way would have made him more proud than words can say.”
GWR’s business development portfolio director, Tom Pierpoint, said: “We’re incredibly proud that this IET will carry the names of Oliver Lovell and Sir Peter Parker, two stalwarts who have done so much to ensure the development of the Cotswold Line and the wellbeing of the railway in general.”
Current members of the CLPG committee travelled to London to attend the naming ceremony and are pictured, right, with the nameplate of High Speed Train power car number 43127, which was named to honour Sir Peter and to mark the 150th anniversary in 2003 of the opening of the Cotswold Line between Evesham and Oxford. The section between Worcester and Evesham had opened the previous year.
Photographs: GWR and Steve Widdowson