TELEVISION star Donna Air is changing her name for seven days to front a new campaign celebrating the joys and adventure of rail travel.
York-based East Coast Trains is encouraging passengers to tell their stories of life on the railways of Britain in their "I love Trains" project.
Already trainspotters have been queuing to record their accounts at the National Railway Museum, including one who as a York schoolboy got into deep trouble in an engine shed.
As she prepared to launch the seven-day festival today, Donna Train, usually known as Donna Air and formerly of The Big Breakfast, Byker Grove and MTV, said: “I think there is something very romantic about a train journey – it’s the perfect opportunity to share some time with a loved one.
"There’s a real sense of adventure, somehow you’re in your own little bubble, and conversations and feelings become more memorable and intimate as you speed through the lovely British countryside.
“I love trains. They’ve been a huge part of my life, and to prove it on social media for this special week, just call me …Donna Train!”
She will use her new name on her Twitter feed.
New research released by the railway company shows that 40 per cent of rail passengers chat to fellow passengers, compared to 15 per cent on flights, 11 per cent on buses and three per cent on London Underground.
This morning, three trainspotters will be at the museum to tell their accounts, including Nick Bielby of York, who was so keen to record engine numbers as a boy, he sneaked into a diesel depot, only to run into straight into the boss and get a talking to.
Special photo booths have been set up at the National Railway Museum and other booths will tour major East Coast stations from London to Edinburgh so that people can get an instant photo that they can put online with their account at the dedicated website ilovetrains.co.uk.
From today until Sunday, passengers and rail fans can share their experiences on the website as well as via twitter using the hashtag #ilovetrainsweek.
East Coast Managing Director Karen Boswell said: “We love trains more than anyone, and we are really proud to be championing what is truly the stalwart of British transport by helping the nation rekindle its love for rail travel with the launch of I Love Trains Week, which celebrates the nostalgia and romance of trains and train travel."