University train on the right tracks

‘University of Aberdeen’ today (11 October) began transporting passengers across Scotland.

The ScotRail train was named in the university’s honour by Britain’s biggest rail operator, FirstGroup.

Professor Ian Diamond, Principal of the University of Aberdeen, and Sir Moir Lockhead, Chief Executive of FirstGroup, unveiled the ‘University of Aberdeen’ train at a ceremony on platform 4 at Aberdeen station today.

Sir Moir Lockhead, who is a Senior Governor at the university, explained why FirstGroup chose to name a train in honour of Scotland’s third oldest university: “We have enjoyed a long and successful partnership with the University of Aberdeen.  For example, we have supported the introduction and ongoing funding of its thriving Centre for Transport Research and also been strong supporters of the university’s Institute of Medical Research.”

He continued: “I am a real believer in giving young people especially the tools and skills required to reach their potential.  In the current economic climate it is more important than ever that our young people are fully equipped to meet the demands and rigours of the modern world. There is no better place to learn, in my opinion, than the University of Aberdeen.

“I am proud to be Senior Governor of such an established and forward thinking institution and delighted that FirstGroup, through one of our rail franchises (ScotRail), has been able to help raise awareness of the University.”

Professor Ian Diamond, expressing his appreciation for the newly named train, commented:  “It is an absolute honour to have a train named after the University of Aberdeen. We were delighted when FirstGroup approached us with the idea and it’s wonderful to now see our name on the side of the train.
“My hope is that as the train passes through cities, towns, villages and the countryside throughout Scotland, it will remind people that Aberdeen boasts one of the finest universities in the world.”

President of the University’s Student Association, Robin Parker, highlighted the positive green message of today’s ceremony:

“The Student Association, with funding from the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Fund, has been working hard on a project to encourage everyone associated with the University to use more sustainable forms of transport.  We are particularly encouraging students to take the train or the bus rather than flying or driving when they travel to Edinburgh or Glasgow or further south.  Having a train named ‘University of Aberdeen’ gives our campaign a welcome boost.”

The train naming today took place today (11 October) at around 1245 at Aberdeen Station.  At 1306 ‘Aberdeen University’ departed Aberdeen carrying passengers to Edinburgh and stations in between.