"Any doubts our special guests would not be in the party mood were immediately dispelled."
Avanti West Coast Train Manager, Jan Fuller-Green, reflects on Eurovision and how the railway came together to deliver a magical experience for hundreds of ‘Superfans’.
19 May 2023
Train Manager, Jan Fuller-Green, talks about the chance to work his ‘dream train’.
As a big Eurovision fan, I was over the moon when I heard the UK was to host this year’s event on behalf of Ukraine. Even better it was in Liverpool, a key destination on the West Coast Main Line, and one I visit most weeks in my role as Train Manager for Avanti West Coast.
Having travelled throughout Europe to several Eurovision events, I know how important the ‘welcome’ is. So, I was incredibly excited when Avanti, together with OGAE UK, the Eurovision fan club, announced plans to run a special train to Liverpool.
The fun didn’t stop there, as upon arrival in Liverpool, we were greeted by drag queens and dancing jellyfish - just a normal day for Eurovision!
Even more excited when I was asked to work what can only be described as my ‘dream train’. Fast forward to the day of the first semi-final and the arrival into London Euston of our wonderfully colourful Pendolino Pride Train, specially chosen to work the 11.43 “Eurovision Express” to Liverpool.
Any doubts our special guests would not be in the party mood were immediately dispelled as a wave of suitably outrageous attires descended onto the platform. A sea of colour, with flags from around Europe.
As a nod to Ukraine, I decided to dye my beard blue and yellow. The excitement was palpable, and this continued on the journey north. With two dedicated carriages, the music blared out. And the smiles were a great reminder of how important a role the railway plays in getting people to places they want to go, be it to attend an event or see family and friends.
My special Eurovision quiz had a few puzzled but it just added to the fun. And it was great to see legendary music producer Pete Waterman jump onboard at Crewe and share with everyone his Eurovision tales, proudly telling everyone his songs never got ‘nil points’!
The fun didn’t stop there, as upon arrival in Liverpool, we were greeted by drag queens and dancing jellyfish - just a normal day for Eurovision! With our group joined by another set of Superfans, who have travelled up with London Northwestern on a train sporting a Eurovision livery, it really was a welcome to remember.
Back home, and I’m watching the 6 o’clock news on BBC1, amazed that I’m actually featured in an interview on board, and that my name is on screen!
Several days later, my partner woke me up to tell me that Zoe Ball had mentioned me on her breakfast show on Radio 2, as she’d travelled up to Liverpool with me the day before. “I met the lovely Jan, who was even on the news the other day on the Eurovision Train.”
Main image: Jan Fuller-Green and his ‘Super Fans’ en route to Liverpool on the Eurovision Express
Images (top to bottom): 1. Jan greeted by colleagues at Runcorn station. 2. Jan being interviewed by the BBC. 3. Fans getting in the party mood.