How many times have you looked at a train name plate? The tradition of train naming is as old as the railway and I used to keep a note book of train names and numbers as a young boy , it was exciting and a form of escapism to use your imagination to envisage where the trains were going. It was therefore a great honour when Grand Central Rail asked me to produce artwork for their newest named train 'Kirkgate Calling.'
From sketching the newly renovated Kirkgate station, Wakefield I was privy to follow the creative process visiting Procast Foundry , Cleckheaton with the pencil sketch and working with the father and son team in their specialist production from traditional sand casting to fabrication , a fascinating skilled production.
Now as the name plate is placed on the Grand Central train and prepares to be formally launched you can see that it is a thoroughly Yorkshire process with great detail and significance placed on the name, the route and the manufacturing .... so next time you see a name plate on a train be assured that there is a story to match.
Why Kirkgate Calling?
If you have visited Kirkgate Station, Wakefield recently, you will see that a lot has changed, not only externally but also within the station. Passengers utilising the underpass between platforms are in for a warm Yorkshire welcome with the sound of a Brass Band playing 'Jerusalem' whilst the white walls have become a contemporary Art Gallery. Paintings by distinguished Yorkshire watercolour artist Ashley Jackson fill the walls from ceiling to floor, bringing the Yorkshire landscape to Wakefield.
As Ashley explains “ I have always said that Yorkshire is my mistress, painting the landscape as if they were her contours on the most inhospitable days, through these paintings I hope that others will to share my passion and consider Kirkgate station, Wakefield as a 'Gateway to the Pennines'
The train naming is the final celebration of Kirkgate station renovation providing not just the people of Wakefield and Yorkshire with a station they can be proud of but also conveying a warm Yorkshire welcome to all those that dismount the train.
Take a look at the video of the Underpass and station with the link below,