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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 7 (November 1, 1927)

What's in a Name?

What's in a Name?

In giving to each of the new class of express passenger locomotives distinctive names, the Great Western Railway is following a custom for long favoured on this system. As a general rule, Home railway engines carry distinctive numbers instead of names, but the Great Western adheres to the happy practice of naming each of its main-line passenger locomotives, and recently several of the bigger engines utilised by the London, Midland and Scottish, London and North Eastern, and Southern lines, have been given appropriate names of their own. In connection with the christening of locomotives, it is worthy of note that on the Great Western system, several engines until recently bore the names of certain towns on the line. On numerous occasions passengers have assumed that a train was going to the station indicated by the engine name plate, and it has now been decided to remove many of these names in cases where they have proved misleading.

Following the lead set by the London and North Eastern Railway, the London, Midland and Scottish Company has this year embarked upon an ambitious plan of train-naming. In the summer passenger time-tables, all the leading expresses carry distinctive names, among which are the “Royal Scot,” “The Welshman,” “The Ulster Express,” “The Lakes Express” and the “Manxman.” Train-naming had its origin many years ago in the United States, and to-day all the Home railways make use of this valuable aid to passenger publicity. The Southern Company (or rather its predecesor page 19 the old London, Brighton and South Coast line) were the pioneers of train-naming in Britain. The “Southern Belle,” operating between London and Brighton, was one of the earliest and most famous of all named trains, and the selection of this romantic title has proved of immense utility in attracting travellers.