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Grand Central takes centre stage with unveiling of 'William Shakespeare' train

Grand Central 'William Shakespeare' train

To mark its announcement as the title sponsor of Europe’s first ever pop-up Shakespearean Theatre in York, the curtain was raised on Grand Central’s special ‘William Shakespeare’ train – on today, the Bard’s birthday.

The company joined Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity and Lunchbox Theatrical Productions CEO James Cundall, at the national media launch for Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in York, which was held today (23 April) near London Kings Cross station.

To celebrate, Grand Central is naming one of its newly refurbished Adelante fleet after the world’s most famous playwright, for the duration of the landmark theatrical event which runs this summer in the historic city of York.

The new train name was revealed at the event and customers can travel with Grand Central to York for exciting and intimate performances of Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Richard III and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, throughout the Shakespearian summer event (running from 25 June – 2 September). 

Noreen Allen, Marketing & Communications Manager at Grand Central, said: “We are delighted to be announced as the title sponsor for Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre and it is fantastic to celebrate with the unveiling of our William Shakespeare train. 

“York is a true centre for culture and this incredible event running throughout the summer will draw thousands of people to the city from far and wide. It offers people of all ages the chance to experience the timeless works of one of the world’s greatest playwrights and discover something new. The community and education programme which we are supporting will help introduce Shakespeare to school children who wouldn’t normally get to see such plays and be part of such a great event.

“We are looking forward to transporting people to the event, which also coincides with the roll out of our newly refurbished fleet of Adelante trains, offering people greater comfort, smarter surroundings and enhanced on-board facilities. We’re thrilled to be supporting the event and helping people experience it for themselves.”

Inspired by the famous London Rose Playhouse built in 1587, Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre will be situated beside the iconic York landmark of Clifford’s Tower and will combine state-of-the-art scaffolding technology, corrugated iron and timber with the historic 13-sided design of a 16th century Shakespearean theatre. It will house an audience of 950, with 600 seated on three tiered balconies around an open-roofed courtyard, and standing room for 350 ‘groundlings’.

Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre will sit within a free-to-enter Elizabethan village showcasing the best of Yorkshire’s food and drink, with free wagon performances and other forms of Elizabethan entertainment. 

James Cundall, CEO of Lunchbox Theatrical and originator of the Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre project, said: “William Shakespeare never knew trains in his day but if he did I am sure he would have been delighted that Grand Central has honoured him by naming one of its trains after him and would have thought it the perfect birthday present.
“He would have loved a non-stop service to London and York in under two hours as it would have made his research so much easier! 

“With just two months to go until the curtain rises on our incredible summer of Shakespeare in York, we are delighted to welcome Grand Central as our title sponsor of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre. Their support reaffirms the importance of this project to Yorkshire and the North of England.”

Grand Central, part of the Arriva group, is an established train operator which provides direct rail connections between towns and cities in Yorkshire and the North East of England and London. 

The company recently celebrated being ranked the highest rated for customer satisfaction amongst British leisure and commuter travellers, according to consumer champion Which? Grand Central also took top honours for passenger satisfaction in the National Rail Passenger Survey for autumn 2017. 

To find out more about Grand Central, please visit or follow the railway company on Twitter @GC_Rail, Facebook or LinkedIn.

To find out more about Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre and to book tickets, visit @ShakespearesRT

Picture caption (l to r):

Sir Gary Verity CEO Welcome to Yorkshire, Richard McClean Managing Director Grand Central, James Cundall CEO Lunchbox Theatrical Productions.

About Grand Central:

Grand Central Railway Company Limited is part of the Arriva group, one of the leading providers of passenger transport in Europe. Arriva employs more than 60,000 people and delivers over 2 billion passenger journeys across 14 European countries each year.

Grand Central is an established train operator which provides direct rail connections from towns and cities in Yorkshire and the North East England with London.

Established in 2007, Grand Central celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2017. Customer satisfaction levels are consistently high and the rail company has was named Britain’s best value rail operator for the 5th year in a row.

Grand Central operates West Riding Services between Bradford Interchange, Low Moor, Halifax, Brighouse, Mirfield, Wakefield Kirkgate, Pontefract Monkhill, Doncaster and London King’s Cross. The rail operator also operates North East services between Sunderland, Hartlepool, Eaglescliffe, Northallerton, Thirsk, York and London King’s Cross.

About Lunchbox Theatrical Productions:

SHAKESPEARE’S ROSE THEATRE and Shakespeare’s Village will be created and managed by Yorkshire-based Lunchbox Theatrical Productions.

Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, founded in 1992 by James Cundall, has established an unrivalled reputation for producing top quality international entertainment in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, The Philippines, Europe and South Africa. 

Producing West End and Broadway musicals, plays, boutique shows, spectaculars, concerts, children’s shows, ice shows and events across five continents, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions sells over one million visitor experiences per year.

For further information on Grand Central, please contact:
Sarah Banks or Anna Hodgson
PR Account Director
0191 261 4250

For further information on Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, please contact:

0161 259 0662
07287 411 820