squash star Alison Waters has been honoured by the
launch of a newly-named Virgin Train - the first in a
programme rolling out across the UK.
After a journey from London, 'Alison Waters' arrived in
Manchester with her name sake on board - and was welcomed
just two hours later by Virgin Trains and Alstom
staff. England international Waters is the 2010 British
National Squash Champion and ranked number five in the
The Virgin Trains sponsorship initiative 'Supporting
British Athletes', which is supported by Alstom who
built and maintain Virgin's Pendolino train fleet, enables a
number of sportsmen and women to attend training camps, key
competitions and championships up and down the country.
With the numerous events happening in the run up to the 2012
Olympic Games and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, the
ability to train and take part in competitive events is an
important part of these athletes' careers.
Waters, who hails from London but whose training heartland
is the Manchester National Squash Centre, is the first of
the 2014 Games' hopefuls to reap the benefits of this
sponsorship - and this year plans to compete in numerous
international events, including next week's
Cedrus Investments Cayman Islands Open,
the 2011 World
Open in the Netherlands and the 2012 Women's World Team
Championship in France.
travels regularly between her home in Southgate and
Manchester, and said:
"I am so excited to be launching a train named after me!
This normally happens to Royalty!
"On a more serious note the Virgin Trains sponsorship allows
me to travel freely to my training ground - a real help in
these tough times and something that I hope will give my
career chances a real boost."
Virgin Trains spokesperson Natasha Grice said: "We
think it's fantastic that Alison has agreed to have one of
our trains named after her. We really hope that it will
spread the message of her career quest across our network
but also that it will raise awareness of the great lengths
our top athletes have to go through in order to realise
their sporting dreams."
Tim Garner, Tour Director of the Women's
International Squash Players' Association, added: "It's
fantastic to see a premium company like Virgin supporting
Alison. She is one of WISPA's elite athletes and deserves
this type of recognition.
"I am sure that this will be a beneficial relationship for
both parties and will be the start of many more partnerships
between our players as ambassadors for international
Roy Sullivan, Alstom Transport UK's Mainline
Operations Director, said: "Alstom is delighted to support
this initiative with Virgin Trains. "We identify with the
determination and commitment needed by the athletes to
deliver top performance and wish Alison well for the
exciting challenges ahead."
wish I'd taken the "Alison Waters" coming back to Newcastle
after Canary Wharf - my train was stuck at York for over six
hours, making for an 11+ hour journey.
Even going via Manchester would have been quicker!
Story on Virgin Trains