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Rail industry honours Armed Forces ahead of First World War Centenary

This post is also available in: cyCymraeg (Welsh)

THE rail industry in Wales and the Borders are honouring those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom this month.

To honour our armed forces heroes past and present, Network Rail and Transport for Wales, with support from the Royal British Legion, are also inviting passengers to leave a message of remembrance on three giant poppies, which have been installed at Cardiff Central, Shrewsbury and Rhyl stations.

In addition, 36 trains will be decorated with poppies for the month and there will be a service in Cardiff Central station on Friday, 9November at 10:40am in partnership with British Transport Police and Network Rail with a special performance from the Cwmbach Male Voice Choir.

Royal British Legion collections will also be supported, with poppy boxes placed at many of Transport for Wales’ stations.

Bill Kelly, route managing director for Network Rail Wales and Borders, said: 

“Having served in the Armed Forces, I fully appreciate the dedication of these men and women, the sacrifice they and their families have made and debt of gratitude we owe to each and every single one of them. We must never forget.”

Colin Lea, Commercial and Customer Experience Director Transport for Wales Rail Services, said:

“The sacrifices made by so many over the years for our freedom should never be forgotten so we feel it is very fitting to recognise that on the railway.

“We know there are strong ties between the railway and the military with many railway workers going off to defend their country in the wars, while many of our current colleagues have served in various branches of the armed forces. So it’s right that we honour them and allow our customers who are travelling this week the chance to leave their own messages of thanks.”

Jenny Robey, Community Fundraiser for Shropshire said: “Everyone has a connection to the First World War, and we all have a reason to say ‘Thank You’ for the legacy that extraordinary generation left for us.

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“The First World War left countless legacies that positively impact our lives today, from ground breaking social change and timeless works of art to pioneering innovations. As we come to the end of the First World War Centenary now is the time to come together in our communities and say ‘Thank You.’

“This Poppy Appeal wear your poppy with pride to support the Armed Forces community past and present. Every donation received will make a real difference to the lives of Service men and women, veterans and their loved ones.”

Network Rail signed the British Armed Forces Military Covenant back in 2015, and since then has worked closely with the Ministry of Defence to transition skills into the rail industry and develop a forces-friendly environment with its workplace.

Transport for Wales fully encourages and welcomes applications by current or former armed forces personnel and has a strong track record for employing those who have served.

James Spooner, an off track technician for Network Rail, served for seven years with the Royal Marines Commando unit in Afghanistan and has been stationed all over the world. He joined Network Rail nearly three years ago and is based in Hereford.

He said: “With people’s hectic lives travelling through busy stations it’s easy to be caught up in what you’re doing and forget to remember. So having these poppies in stations and on the side of trains may just help them take a few minutes to remember and reflect on the sacrifices.”

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