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Battle of the Somme heroes honoured in loco naming

Diesel locomotive

Locomotive named in memory of workers from Buxton Lime Firms who lost their lives in the battle 

A FREIGHTLINER class-66 diesel locomotive has been named Poppy in memory of 15 workers from Buxton Lime Firms (now Tarmac) who served and died in the Battle of the Somme.

More than 50 people, including Andrew Bingham, MP for High Peak, and members of The Royal British Legion, who officially unveiled the engine, attended the naming ceremony at Tarmac’s Tunstead Quarry.

Inspiration for the locomotive name was taken from a large copper poppy sculpture produced earlier this year by three Tarmac Buxton apprentices to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

An aluminium cast of the sculpture, which was made using 1916 manufacturing processes and features the name of the workers who lost their lives in the battle, has been fitted to the side of Poppy as a lasting tribute.

Commenting on the event, Viv Russell, lime and powders director at Tarmac’s Tunstead site, said: ‘Tunstead has been a proud member of the local community for more than a century. We’re really pleased to celebrate our local heritage and commemorate the bravery of those men who fought and died in the Battle of the Somme with this fitting tribute.’

Adam Cunliffe, UK managing director of Freightliner, said: ‘We are privileged to partner with Tarmac to pay tribute to the 15 brave Buxton Lime Firms workers who lost their lives at the Battle of the Somme. Naming our locomotive 66614 Poppy will serve as a continual reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made by many during WW1.

‘In future, this locomotive will be seen hauling Tarmac’s wagons of limestone or cement from Tunstead up and down the country as we continue to provide a sustainable and economic solution for the transportation of Tarmac’s bulk materials.’

Poppy is part of the Freightliner locomotive fleet delivering limestone products over a five-year contract for Tarmac, awarded earlier this year as part of the company’s expansion of its rail freight operations.

Each year, Tarmac transport around 9 million tonnes of material by rail across the UK and the expansion of their rail-freight capacity is helping towards the company’s aim of reducing transport carbon by 10% per tonne by 2020.

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