Train named after Cunard founder

One of Liverpool City Region’s new trains has been named Sir Samuel Cunard as part of the much-anticipated naming ceremony for a Cunard Queen next month and in recognition of the shipping magnate’s 184-year association with Liverpool.

Visionary Victorian entrepreneurs Robert Stephenson and Samuel Cunard each pioneered steam as a means of powering the mass movement of passengers to and from the city – the former by rail, the latter by sea.

Within a decade of the famous Rocket steam engine winning the Rainhill Trials on Merseyside in 1829, Cunard had founded his shipping line and ordered the building of the paddle steamer Britannia.

Rocket, designed and built by Robert Stephenson and Company of Newcastle upon Tyne and Britannia, built by Robert Duncan & Co at Greenock, revolutionised transport.

The success of the train transformed the fortunes of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway, whilst the inaugural transatlantic crossing completed by Britannia between Liverpool and Boston in 1840 established Cunard’s Royal Mail services, allowing it to develop to become the most famous name in passenger shipping.

The unveiling of the “Sir Samuel Cunard” Liverpool City Region Class 777 train comes as Liverpool prepares to host the first Naming Ceremony for a Cunard Queen to be held on the River Mersey.

Queen Anne will be named on Liverpool waterfront during a spectacular ceremony on Monday, 3 June.

Katie McAlister, President of Cunard said, “Cunard is honoured to have a train named after our founder as we prepare to name our beautiful new ship on the Mersey.

“Queen Anne is the 249th ship to bear Sir Samuel’s name and it is exciting to be able to mark this moment with our spiritual home.”

Organisers of the Naming Ceremony are encouraging spectators to follow advice from transport operators when planning their journey to access waterfront vantage points at Liverpool’s Pier Head and along the Wirral and Sefton coats as Queen Anne arrives and departs Cunard’s spiritual home on 3 June. Full public transport details can be found on the Merseytravel website.

Mersey Ferries are also running special Queen Anne viewing cruises throughout the day and evening and have produced a special Cunard Queen Anne promotional film which is being shown on the onboard screens on the new trains.

Cllr Liam Robinson, Transport Portfolio Holder for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (2023-24) and Leader of Liverpool City Council said, “Being chosen as the location for the official naming of Queen Anne is a huge honour for our city region.

“It’s great that we can return that distinction by renaming one of our pioneering fleet of new trains as a tribute to Sir Samuel Cunard.

“Our city region has always been at the forefront of technological developments for transport, especially by rail and sea, and our new trains, with their sliding-step access and battery-powered units, are a prime example of this.

“We have become synonymous with hosting major events over the years, from Eurovision and the LFC victory parades to the Giants and the Cunard “Three Queens” event in 2015 – and next month we’ll be welcoming Taylor Swift for three sell-out shows of her “Eras” world tour at Anfield.

“Big crowds are expected to attend the naming ceremony and we hope they all have a fantastic day. We strongly advise that they follow the transport guidance provided and plan their journeys in advance to make sure they have an enjoyable and relaxing time on our stunning waterfront.”

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