Duke of York visits city
TRAINS, historic halls and centres of the community - they were all part of a day's work for York's own Royal.
First on the agenda for the Duke of York was unveiling a new £10 million train depot in the city, during a whirlwind visit yesterday.
Later the Duke visited the mediaeval Merchant Adventurers' Hall, in Fossgate, York, to join in the company's 650th anniversary celebrations, before opening Selby's new Community House.
To start off the visit, Prince Andrew went to York Railway Station, where he was escorted on board one of the 51 new Pennine Class 185 Siemens Desiro trains, which took him to the nearby depot, off Leeman Road.
Geoff Elliott, the maintenance manager of the new Siemens facility, said they were incredibly honoured to be visited by the Duke.
He said: "It was a very special day and I will always remember it.
"The Duke was very affable - he talked with all the staff and asked a lot of questions.
"He seemed to be genuinely interested in how things worked, and I was really honoured to show him around.
"I was feeling very nervous before he arrived, but he was so friendly and took all the pressure off by asking me questions."
Christian Roth, managing director of Siemens Transportation Systems, said: "The Duke's attendance at the official opening of the Siemens York depot was the icing on the cake for us.
"It marked the culmination of four years' hard work by Siemens, TransPennine Express and all the other partners in the project."
He was served a buffet lunch in a marquee on the depot's car park, before being sped off to the Merchant Adventurers' Hall.
There he unveiled a plaque, and planted a tree to mark the company's 650th anniversary.
David Thomas, of the Merchant Adventurers, said: "It was a very relaxed visit and we felt very honoured for the Duke of York to be there.
"He took time to chat to all our guests and was really friendly. It was a lovely day."
But one passer-by claimed the visit did not go entirely according to plan.
Louise Hart spoke of her horror, when she saw that a bin bag had been left lying on the pavement as the Duke arrived at the hall.
Ms Hart, of Haxby, said: "I couldn't believe it - the party stepped out the car and right in front of them was a bin liner full of rubbish.
"When you've got a member of the Royal Family taking the time to visit you'd at least expect the rubbish to be cleared away."
The Duke completed his visit to York and North Yorkshire by officially opening the new £1.3 million Community House in Selby.
Prince Andrew met local dignitaries and other guests, and chatted with local people.