Thursday 22 November – South London’s very own record-beating sprinter Dina Asher-Smith has been honoured by having a Southeastern train named after her. As Britain’s fastest train that travels at speeds up to 140mph, the high-speed Javelin is ideally suited to sharing its name with Britain’s fastest female athlete.
Dina’s first experience of athletics was cross-country club at Perry Hall Primary School in Orpington and she is now a four time European Championships gold medallist. The British sprinter was back at her local station to celebrate the train naming, which was specially routed there for the occasion.
This follows her fantastic summer of sporting achievements in 2018. The idea for naming a train after Dina originally came from Joanne Russell, a Southeastern ticket office employee at Victoria station. She remembers helping Dina and her mum buy train tickets to an athletic event in Birmingham when she was just 14 years old. Eight years later, and the South London star has her sights firmly set on the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
Dina Asher-Smith said: “As a regular Southeastern passenger, it’s exciting to see my name and signature on the side of this high-speed Javelin train. It’s been an incredible year for me, but so much of my journey started right here in Orpington, so it’s a real honour to be recognised in this way.”
David Wornham, Passenger Services Director at Southeastern said “We were delighted Dina was keen to get on-board with our tradition of naming high-speed trains after high-speed athletes. It’s nice to think that other young sprinters from the area might see Dina’s name on the side of the train, and feel inspired to continue working hard. Who knows, maybe we’ll be back here again honouring their achievements in few years’ time!”
Since the London 2012 Games, Southeastern has selected a number of speedy sportsmen and women to name their Javelin trains after, including Dame Kelly Holmes, Dame Jessica Ennis, Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton, to name a few.
Southeastern introduced the UK’s first high-speed train service in 2009. It travels from St Pancras to Stratford International, Ebbsfleet and Ashford International as well as other Kent destinations including Canterbury, Folkestone, Dover, Rochester and Maidstone.
The service travels at speeds of up to 140mph and has significantly cut journey times for thousands of commuters. For example, travel times on high speed from Ashford International to St Pancras International take just 38 minutes compared to Ashford International to central London on a standard train service, which takes around 80 minutes.