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Train named after railway worker who overturned racist recruitment policy

A TRAIN has been named after a railway worker who overturned a racist recruitment policy, to reflect his “incredible legacy,” Avanti West Coast said today.

In 1966, Asquith Xavier successfully fought against a decision not to employ him as a guard at London’s Euston station because of his ethnicity.

The unofficial policy was known as the colour bar.

Avanti West Coast has now named one of its Pendolino trains after Xavier.

His daughter Maria Magdalena-Xavier said: “To think about what our father experienced, whilst applying for a promotion as a train guard at Euston station with the racial discrimination he faced, and now to this day — a train being named after him in his honour and recognising his important campaign — is truly amazing.

“I sincerely hope that the passengers on their train journey will take the time to look up and learn about our father’s journey to justice.”

Xavier, who died in 1980, was part of the Windrush generation, moving to England from Dominica in 1956.

He initially worked for British Railways, subsequently British Rail, as a porter, working his way up to guard.

After negotiations with the National Union of Railwaymen, the predecessor of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, British Railways overturned the decision and announced that none of its future job opportunities in London would be closed on racial grounds.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch described the train naming as an “important initiative.”

He said: “I am proud that members of my union’s predecessor backed Asquith in his fight and the union raised the issue with British Rail, which agreed to end institutional racial discrimination at London stations.”


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