GWR honours WWII codebreaker Alan Turing and unveils new ‘Trainbow’ livery
Great Western Railway (GWR) has honoured World War Two codebreaker Alan Turing by including his name on its popular ‘Trainbow’ Intercity Express Train.
Members of Alan’s family officially named the train at London Paddington station on Thursday 26 May. The ceremony also saw the unveiling of GWR’s new ‘Trainbow’ livery celebrating the LGBTQ+ community.
Alan famously led a team in ‘Hut 8’ at the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, Britain’s codebreaking centre during the war.
In 1942 he and his team cracked the vitally important and most difficult German Naval Enigma. His work in the field of computer science was groundbreaking and paved the way for modern computing.
Alan is also an admired role model within the LGBTQ+ community and his legacy has helped change social attitudes in Britain.
Although laws during the 1950s made it illegal for him to be openly gay, Alan did not shy away from his sexuality. He was arrested for gross indecency which resulted in a sentence of chemical castration.
Two years later Alan died of cyanide poisoning. Following the launch of an internet campaign in 2009, he was granted a posthumous royal pardon four years later. A subsequent legal amendment, known as ‘Turing’s Law’, pardoned 65,000 other convicted gay and bisexual men.
‘Trainbow’ was first unveiled in 2018 to support Pride events across the network and demonstrate GWR’s support for the LGBTQ+ community.
Its livery has now been updated to include black, brown, light blue, light pink and white, bringing focus on inclusion for trans individuals, marginalised people of colour and those living with HIV/AIDS.
Intercity Express Train 800008 also pays a nod to the World War Two codebreakers and their mastery of palindromes. And, as you might expect with something related to Alan Turing, there is more to the design of the new livery than first meets the eye.
Alan’s niece, Inagh Payne, speaking on behalf of the family, said:
“Alan was very special to us and we are so incredibly proud of everything he did. Despite not being fond of neither fuss nor social occasions, he would have been delighted to have a train named after him.
We have our own fond memories of him as a loving and caring uncle and it is wonderful to see this tribute to him, and that he is remembered, and his life celebrated by so many people.”
GWR Managing Director, Mark Hopwood, said:
“It is an honour for us at GWR to name this Intercity Express Train after Alan Turing as we continue to remember those who gave so much during World War Two.
We at Great Western Railway have a long history of naming trains after Great Westerners, the past and present heroes from across our network.
It is also great to see this fabulous new Trainbow livery, celebrating not only Alan Turing but also the LGBTQ+ community across the GWR and indeed our colleagues within the rail industry.”
Plymouth City Councillor for Compton, Cllr Dylan Tippetts, said:
“Thank you so much to GWR for always standing with the whole LGBTQ+ community and celebrating our diversity; the things that bring us together and not those that divide us.”
Research Historian at Bletchley Park, Dr David Kenyon, said:
“It gives me great pleasure to add the endorsement of Bletchley Park Trust to the naming of this locomotive. We hope that it will remind travellers of Turing himself, but also of the thousands of others who worked alongside him to bring signals intelligence to Allied commanders and help bring victory in the Second World War.”
GCHQ Historian Dr David Abrutat said:
“Turing’s scientific genius helped to shorten the war and influence the technology we still use today. Today illustrates his status as one of the most iconic LGBT+ figures in the world.
Turing was embraced for his brilliance and persecuted for being gay. His legacy is a reminder of the value of embracing all aspects of diversity, but also the work we still need to do to become truly inclusive.”
Don’t shun Pride parades because of monkeypox, says WHO
Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus.
Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in monkeys kept for research. The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and since then the infection has been reported in a number of central and western African countries. Most cases are reported from the DRC and Nigeria.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has detected 190 cases of monkeypox as of 30 May 2022. The total number confirmed in England is 183. There are currently 4 confirmed cases in Scotland, 2 in Northern Ireland and 1 in Wales.
The number of monkeypox cases around the world continues to rise, prompting an adviser at the World Health Organisation (WHO) to comment on the upcoming Pride season.
So far, gay and bisexual men appear to have been disproportionately impacted by the outbreak. Monkeypox is not regarded as a sexually-transmitted infection, but it can be spread by close, skin-to-skin contact, or via bedding and clothing.
Yesterday, a WHO official said the outbreak should not impact Pride season or put people off from attending parades.
Although the outbreak in some countries has been linked to some festivals, this is not a virus that spreads as easily as Covid.
“It’s important that people who want to go out and celebrate gay pride, LGBTQ+ pride, to continue to go and plan to do so,” said Andy Seale, a strategies adviser in the WHO Department of Global HIV, Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Infections Programmes.
“There is no specific transmission route that we need to be worried about,” he said. “It really is connected to the fact there have been a couple of events that have perhaps amplified the current outbreak.”
Seale also wanted to downplay reporting that framed the monkeypox outbreak as a disease impacting just gay men.
“Given this is not a gay disease, the transmission routes are common to everybody,” Seale said. “The advice is pretty much the same for all people.”
Seale said that pride parades are usually outdoors, while monkeypox transmission has more recently been linked to indoor events and nightclubs.
“We don’t see any real reason to be concerned about enhanced likelihood of transmission in those contexts, because the parties that we’ve been referring to have perhaps been more in enclosed spaces,” he said.
At the time of writing, 14 cases of monkeypox have been identified across eight states in the US. Worldwide, monkeypox has been identified in 24 countries outside of West and Central Africa (where cases are normally located).
UK health officials have issued sex advice to those impacted. People who have tested positive for the virus and their close contacts are being told to isolate at home for 21 days.
They should avoid contact with other people until all lesions – or blisters – have healed and scabs have dried off. Anyone with a confirmed infection is also now being advised to abstain from sex while they have symptoms.
Although not endorsed by the World Health Organisation, the guidance also says, “Whilst there is currently no available evidence of monkeypox in genital excretions, as a precaution, cases are advised to use condoms for 8 weeks after infection and this guidance will be updated as evidence emerges.”
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is caused by a virus similar to smallpox. Early symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.
It will often be accompanied by a chickenpox-like rash, with lesions tending to eventually scab over and fall off.
It’s usually a mild, self-limiting illness, and most people will recover within weeks. However, the deadliest variant of the virus can be fatal for up to one in ten of those infected.
The form of the virus currently circulating is believed to be milder, with a fatality rate of less than 1 percent.
Introducing The Proud Place – Manchester’s LGBT+ Community Centre
The Proud Trust had the most amazing long weekend celebrating the launch of The Proud Place with LGBT+ young people, community members, staff and supporters.
A huge thank you to the funders, businesses, brands and individuals who have supported the £2.4 million rebuild project over the last 4 years and beyond. They could not have done it without you.
Simone, a Proud Trust young person who helped open the new building at the weekend said: “It means so much to be here today. To see it all finally complete, it very much feels like now everything can start.”
It’s a real honour for The Proud Trust to care for the building on behalf of Manchester’s LGBT+ Community and they can’t wait to see what the future holds!
To find out more about The Proud Place, check out what’s on, learn more about the youth and community groups who meet at the building, or hire one of their beautiful new spaces visit: http://www.theproudtrust.org/theproudplace
Conversion Therapy Ban Debate
The Petitions Committee has brought forward the debate on the petition: “Ensure Trans people are fully protected under any conversion therapy ban”. This debate will now take place on Monday 13 June at 4.30pm.
Watch the debate (from 4.30pm on Monday 13 June): https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Commons
Hansard will print a transcript (available a few hours after the debate ends).