As the world marks a year since Ukraine was attacked, Southeastern, the train operator serving Kent, East Sussex and South east London has today named a train Spirit of Ukraine in a ceremony at London’s Cannon Street Station.
“Spirit of Ukraine” marks the friendships and connections formed between Ukrainians who’ve settled in the communities Southeastern serves, and the people who’ve welcomed them.
Spirit of Ukraine also captures the enormous efforts Ukrainian Railways have put into keeping their country moving during the most difficult of times by evacuating people from danger and keeping the country on the move against almost impossible circumstances.
In the communities Southeastern serves, over 4,000 people from Ukraine have been welcomed into people’s homes, including those of some of the company’s staff, since February 2022.
The Class 707(001) City Beam train, recently introduced on routes in south-east London, was named Spirit of Ukraine after a minute’s silence at an event at London’s Cannon Street station, which included performances from Canterbury’s Ukrainian Choir.
Oleksandr Pertsovskyi, CEO of the Passenger Company of Ukrainian Railways said, “The Ukrainian Railway hasn’t stopped since our country was attacked a year ago and we’ve evacuated four million people to safety including one million children.
“We are touched that the community in Kent, Sussex, south east London and across the United Kingdom have welcomed our people and that they now honour the spirit of the Ukrainian people who keep standing their ground unbent and unbroken”
Jonny Holdcroft, Communications Director at Southeastern Railway added, “We are very proud to name this train Spirit of Ukraine to mark the connections that have been made between Ukrainian people who’ve settled in the community we serve and the people who’ve welcomed them including from Southeastern.
“At the same time, we want to recognise the enormous efforts of our Ukrainian Railways colleagues whose bravery, ingenuity and sacrifice also embodies the Spirit of Ukraine.
“While today we mark a sombre anniversary we are pleased we can do so by celebrating the strong connections between Ukraine and Kent, Sussex & South east London.”