GB Railfreight honours John Ellis with a surprise locomotive naming


Rail freight UK

On Saturday 15 July, GB Railfreight celebrated a lifetime in the railway, by naming its Class 66 locomotives (no. 66785) John Ellis. A surprise naming event was put on at Moreton-in-Marsh station for John, who has worked over 60 years in the railway.

John’s career began in 1962 as a graduate management trainee, since then he has held various senior roles for British Rail, Railtrack and GB Railways and ended his career as chairman of the Cotswold Line Promotion Group. John has been a mentor and coach to many people, including our CEO John Smith who was at the naming, to pay tribute to John Ellis:

“John was a great coach and a great help to me in building up GB Railfreight. Without him and the guidance that he offered me back in the day, I don’t think we would have developed this business.” John Smith, CEO GB Railfreight.

The naming event was a tightly kept secret. On Saturday morning, John Ellis thought that he was being treated to a trip out with his daughters, but he was then very surprised to find his friends and former colleagues waiting for him, as his daughter’s car rolled into Moreton-in-Marsh station car park.

“It’s very rare for me to be at a loss for words. This is quite an overwhelming experience. I’m still looking around and seeing people I never ever thought would be here.” John Ellis.

The ceremony was organized by Great Western Railway. John was presented with a miniature version of the nameplate, a model of 66785 and a cake.