September 23 - Train operator Southeastern has renamed 12 of its high-speed trains after British Olympic and Paralympic medallists, including Sebastian Coe, Daley Thompson and Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson.

The rebranding, an unofficial association with London 2012, also sees trains named after Dame Kelly Holmes, Steve Backley, Sir Steve Redgrave, Rebecca Adlington, Sir Chris Hoy, Ben Ainslie, Duncan Goodhew, Katherine Grainger and Jamie Staff.


The trains were unveiled at a special ceremony in Ashford by Staff (pictured), a member of the British cycling sprint team that won the gold medal at last year's Olympics in Beijing, under the banner of "Britain's Fastest" for 12 of Southestern's new javelin trains.

The high-speed trains currently operate on a limited service from Kent to London but will begin a full-service in December.

Staff said: “I never thought growing up in Ashford I would one day have a train named after me.

"I think that it is a great idea to link it to the Olympic Games and help promote 2012.”

Staff was selected after the result of a public vote for the 12 names. 

Some of whom were deliberately chosen because of their connections with Kent.

The high speed preview services from Ashford were introduced in June this year.

Southeastern recently extended the services to Folkestone, Dover and Ramsgate to give commuters a taste of what the new services will be like when the full service is introduced in December.

Ashford’s Council Leader, Paul Clokie was also at the naming ceremony along with MP Damian Green.

Clokie said: “It is great that someone like Jamie is able to come and support the town and say yes, I am from Ashford to help promote it.”

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December 2008:
Javelin train makes debut into London
December 2008: Backley asks public to name new high-speed Olympic trains
October 2008: Olympic train unveiled