News

Luca Pezzulo Express raises £15K

26 July 2019
A special charter train in memory of 11-year-old York boy Luca Pezzulo is expected to raise more than £15,000 for Martin House Hospice Care for Children and Young People.

The Luca Pezzulo Express ran from Lancaster to Hull on Saturday 20th July as a special Branch Line Society locomotive hauled charter, operated by West Coast Railways.

It was organised by Network Rail in tribute to Luca, who died last October at Martin House.

He had received regular respite care at the hospice from the age of 18 months for an undiagnosed neurological condition.

His mum, Charlotte Bullock, an incident controller at Network Rail based in York, said she was amazed at what her colleagues across Network Rail, along with the Branch Line Society, West Coast Railways, Colas Rail, DB Cargo, Drax Power and Martin House had achieved to make the event possible.

She added: “I can’t thank everyone enough for the support and kindness I have received. It was a great day to remember Luca, and raise funds for such an amazing charity which has given us so much support.

“Everyone has pulled out all the stops and have been amazing, proving the railway family is alive and well. I’m touched by what everyone has done.”

The fully booked charter train visited four freight installations across the LNE & EM route, including the line to Stocksbridge Steel Terminal on the former Woodhead route and Drax Power Station, which has been a big supporter of the train.

The day also included an on-train raffle, funds from the sale of ‘Luca’s Ade’ and donations from across the industry, on top of ticket sales, all contributing to the total.

Kyla de Lehenstein Collins, regional fundraising manager at Martin House, said: “This is an incredible gesture of support, both to Luca’s family and to Martin House, and we are very grateful to Network Rail and all the firms involved have done to create this truly special event.”

Jerry Dickinson, Network Rail route control manager and lead organiser of the event, said: “We have received unprecedented industry support, not only from the companies directly involved in the operation of the train, but those whose infrastructure we visit, or indeed in the case of Northern, who simply wanted to support this.

“I would like to say a massive thank you for all for their assistance and co-operation in an amazing charity train in memory of Luca. This shows what can be achieved for the right reasons by our industry.

“Charlotte is part of my team in the Route Control, she is remarkable and an inspiration to us all.”

Andrew Brade, railway engineer at Drax Power Station, said: “The Drax Rail Loop is integral to the power station, helping us to bring in the fuel we need to power over four million homes with renewable electricity.

“I am proud to be part of the wider railway family which organised the Luca Pezzulo Express, which brought passengers to parts of the Drax rail infrastructure that have never seen passenger trains in the 45-year history of the power station. I’m delighted that we were able to do this to raise much-needed funds for a great cause.”