You have the chance to win an exclusive piece of railway history and help the homeless in Liverpool at the same time.

The Echo has teamed up with Virgin Railways to auction off the nameplate of the Flying Scouseman train - with all money raised going to the Whitechapel Centre, which helps provide shelter and help for homeless people across Liverpool and Merseyside.

The Flying Scouseman was originally named by Echo reader Michael Dally after his suggestion won a contest back in 2017.

Since then, the train has travelled 783,000 miles up and down the UK, visiting London 1,267 times and returning to Liverpool 266 times.

On those journeys it has travelled at up to 125mph and has 11 carriages with 589 seats.

The name will now be shown using a laminate sticker as part of routine fleet maintenance, meaning the Flying Scouseman will still be heading up and down our railways each day.

But the original metal nameplate - complete with two years of wear and tear from its many journeys - is now waiting for its new owner in the Liverpool Echo offices.

The Flying Scouseman nameplate is removed from the train

Measuring in at roughly 5ft by 1ft, it has the words Pendolino and Flying Scouseman across it in 3D lettering. Uniquely it also has the Liverpool Echo logo as part of the nameplate to show the origins of the name.

Liverpool Echo editor Alastair Machray said: "We had hundreds of entries and thousands of votes in our competition to name the Flying Scouseman, and I hope we will have just as much interest now.

 

"This is the real thing, which has journeyed up, down and across the UK as well as coming back home to Liverpool on hundreds of occasions. 

"The name was an inspired choice by Michael and really reflects the sense of fun which is such a part of Liverpool life. The nameplate would be a wonderful item to own as well as helping to raise much needed funds at what is the busiest time of the year in terms of helping the homeless."

Ruth McCaughley from the Whitechapel Centre urged people to dig deep, and said: "The Whitechapel Centre has been helping people who are homeless in Liverpool since 1975.

Echo reader Michael Dally with Echo Editor Alastair Machray at the train-naming ceremony in Lime Street station

"We can only continue to do this because of the fantastic support we receive from the public and businesses in the city. We are very grateful to Liverpool Echo for nominating us to benefit from this auction and helping us to end homelessness for many people in our city."

Ruth added: "We work with people who are sleeping rough, living in hostels or struggling to manage their accommodation. We are committed to help people find and maintain a home and learn the life skills essential for independent living.

"We provide support 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year and are working with an increasing number of people every year, many of whom have complex issues and problems which have led to their homelessness."

Gary Campbell, Station Manager for Virgin Trains at Liverpool Lime Street said Flying Scouseman has been one of their hardest working trains, clocking up over three quarters of a million since it was named back in 2017.

He added: "It’s been proudly flying the flag for the city ever since and as a local lad it always brings a smile to my face when I see it pull into the station, or speed past me somewhere on the network.

“The original nameplates are in need of a new home and it’s great that the money raised from the auction will go to such a worthy cause. Railway memorabilia, especially relating to Virgin Trains, has become increasingly popular.

"Our previous nameplate sales have raised over £75,000 for charity, with the likes of ‘City of Liverpool’ going for over £2,000. So if we can get anywhere close to that for Flying Scouseman, it will be a big boost for The Whitechapel Centre in the run up to their busy Christmas period.”

How to enter

To enter the auction, please send your sealed bid via email to [email protected]  with the words Flying Scouseman Bid in the subject line, and your bid in £££s as well as your name, address and contact telephone number in the email body.

The closing date for auction entries is 01/12/2019. The winning bid will be chosen from the qualifying entries within 48 hours of the closing date and will be contacted via the contact number provided. There will be no runners-up. The winner will receive the Flying Scouseman nameplate. Please note, the winners name only will be used in publicity on the Liverpool Echo website and newspaper, and by Virgin Trains.