Tuesday, 29 March 2011


East Coast today (Tuesday, 29 March 2011) named a Class 91 high-speed locomotive ‘Sir Bobby Robson’ in memory of the former England and ‘Toon’ football legend.

Sir Bobby’s widow, Lady Elsie Robson and former England and Newcastle United captain, Alan Shearer OBE, patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation charity, performed the train-naming along with Elaine Holt, Chairman of East Coast at Newcastle Central Station this morning.

The ‘Sir Bobby Robson’ Class 91 electric locomotive (number 91109) features specially-commissioned, cast-iron nameplates.

Speaking at the event, Elaine Holt, Chairman of East Coast said: “We are honoured to name the first of our prestigious locomotives ‘Sir Bobby Robson’ in memory of such a legendary and much-respected sporting figure.

“Sir Bobby was a regular train traveller between the North East and London, during his management career and beyond, as he worked tirelessly to raise funds and awareness for his Sir Bobby Robson Foundation charity. He was loved by many of our staff, particularly those at Durham and Newcastle stations who remember him with great affection.

“As it speeds through the North East on the East Coast route, this specially-named train will help to keep the memory of Sir Bobby Robson in people’s minds and we hope will raise further awareness of his enduring legacy and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation for many years to come.”

East Coast is pledging its support for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, the cancer charity set up by Sir Bobby in 2008.

Newcastle and England striker Alan Shearer, a patron of the Foundation, spoke of his pride as the gleaming locomotive, bearing the name of the man still revered as a legend on Tyneside shone in the morning light at the city’s Central Station.

Alan said: “It is an absolute honour and pleasure to officially name a high-speed East Coast train ‘Sir Bobby Robson’. I’m sure that Sir Bobby would be very proud to see his name and legacy continued in this very fitting and special way.

“It is also fantastic news that East Coast have decided to support the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation as one of their chosen charities.”

Alan added: “I am a regular traveller to London on East Coast trains and I’m looking forward to the day when the locomotive on front of the train I’m on is the ‘Sir Bobby Robson’ locomotive...I think he would find it very amusing pulling Alan Shearer all the way to London at 125 miles per hour!”

Thanks to fantastic ongoing support, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has now raised well over £2.5 million to help find more effective treatments for cancer.

In addition to equipping and partially staffing the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care in Newcastle it has purchased an ultra-compact cyclotron which will help with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

The cyclotron costs in excess of £500,000 and is only the second of its type in the world and the first in Europe.

Lady Elsie said: “I think my husband would be surprised and thrilled to have this train named after him.

“He travelled frequently by train so I feel this is very appropriate and my family and I appreciate the gesture.

“We’re also very grateful for the fund-raising efforts East Coast are undertaking in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and we will ensure the money is put to the very best use fighting cancer.”

East Coast provides high speed, long distance rail services linking the North East to Scotland, Yorkshire, the East Midlands and London. It also manages 12 stations along the route including Newcastle, Durham and Darlington.

The North East will benefit from an exciting new timetable from 22 May, including a prestige ‘Flying Scotsman’ non-stop express from Newcastle to London, completing the journey in just two hours and 37 minutes.

From the same date, an additional three weekday and 11 weekend services will be introduced between Newcastle and London, whilst passengers will see the introduction of a new, improved on-board service, including complimentary meals and drinks served in First Class.