Michael Portillo unveils Port Of Immingham train for Great British Railway Journeys show
FORMER politician Michael Portillo made tracks for a special ceremony held to unveil a locomotive commemorating Immingham's centenary.
The event was filmed for the next series of the former defence secretary's popular BBC show, Great British Railway Journeys.
As reported, it is one of a number of events being organised by Associated British Ports (ABP) to mark the landmark 100th anniversary of the port and town.
Port director John Fitzgerald told those gathered for the unveiling ceremony that the port has maintained strong links with the railway throughout its history.
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He said: "A lot of people don't realise that the port of Immingham was founded by the Great Central Railway in 1912.
"The relationship between port and rail has continued over the years, and nowadays 25 per cent of the country's rail freight moves through Immingham. It is a link we are keen to strengthen in the future and the naming of this locomotive is one way of nurturing that relationship."
Officially unveiling the locomotive – which is named Port Of Immingham Centenary 1912-2012 – Mr Portillo said: "It is a great pleasure to have been invited to the naming of this locomotive today.
"One hundred years ago the port of Immingham was established by a company which saw an excellent opportunity to develop trade with all parts of Europe. This has since been extended to include locations around the globe.
"Railways were at their peak in 1912 and had been in terminal decline until the last decade or so when there has been something of a revival.
"It is important that we recognise the importance of both rail freight and passenger services to the country."
John Smith, managing director of GB Railfreight, which owns the newly-named locomotive, said much of the freight which is transported through Immingham is coal on its way to power stations across the UK.
"Many people don't realise that without the terminal at Immingham, lights wouldn't go on, steel wouldn't get made and skyscrapers wouldn't get built," he said.
"The coal we transport from Immingham supports major companies, such as EDF Energy and the Drax power station."
For more information on the events being held to celebrate 100 years of the town and port of Immingham, visit www.immingham100.co.uk