Virgin Trains 91126 Darlington Hippodrome
Credit: Virgin Trains

Virgin Trains East Coast has announced it has played a part in the reopening of an Edwardian Theatre by naming a train ‘Darlington Hippodrome’.

Darlington Hippodrome is just a few minutes walk from the railway station. It has reopened after a £12 million restoration project.

The theatre almost closed for good in 2010. Its Edwardian Splendor has since been restored.

Virgin Trains have renamed one of their 91 High-Speed Locomotives after Darlington Hippodrome (91126). The train operating company looks forward to taking theatergoers by train to Darlington.

The theatre originally opened in 1907 as ‘The New Hippodrome and Palace Theatre of Varieties’. Though, it later reverted back to the ‘Civic Theatre’.

A successful Heritage Lottery Fund bid made the restoration possible.

What did the officials say about the reopening of Darlington Hippodrome?
Lynda Winstanley

Theatre Director Lynda Winstanley, said: “We’re thrilled that Virgin Trains is working with us. Promoting the theatre far and wide on its train. Also reviving the tradition of taking actors, performers, and theatre-goers to Darlington. Darlington station is very close to the town’s iconic theatre. We know that many of our future performers are already booking to travel with Virgin Trains.

She added “This harks back to the early 20th-century tradition of the ‘fish and actors’ special’ train which carried fish to the town on a Sunday to sell during the week, as well the actors, their entourage, sets and even animals which would all perform at the theatre.  Having a train named after the newly restored theatre is such a unique opportunity and I shed a tear when I saw our ‘Darlington Hippodrome’ train pull into Darlington station for the first time.”

David Horne

David Horne, Managing Director of Virgin Trains on its east coast route, which manages Darlington station, said: “Virgin Trains is committed to supporting the history and heritage of this great route, and we’re delighted to play a small part in the relaunch of this historic and important theatre by naming a train ‘Darlington Hippodrome’. Thousands of people will see the name on the side of our locomotive as it travels across the UK, and we look forward to welcoming on-board theatergoers as well as continuing the long-standing tradition of actors and performers taking the train to work at the Darlington Hippodrome.

He added, “We’re investing £140m to transform this railway, and our new fleet of 65 Virgin Azuma trains, which are being built in a factory close to Darlington, will bring faster journeys, more services and greater comfort for customers after their launch in December 2018.”




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