The Sleeper's Blog

23.09.16

Leeds rail bridge to get rainbow repaint in celebration of LGBT community

The Lower Briggate bridge in Leeds city centre will be repainted with the traditional LGBT rainbow colours after enough funds were raised by Leeds City Council and the local LGBT community.

The bridge will be redecorated during engineering upgrade works which begin on 26 September and continue until February. There will be no impact on passengers.

902 bridge

Neil Henry, area director for Network Rail, said: “Work at the bridge on Lower Briggate, which carries a huge number of vital passenger services to the north of Leeds, is essential to keep rail services reliable and forms part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.

“We’re delighted that our stakeholders want the bridge to become an iconic one for the city and were more than happy to work with them on the new colour scheme.”

Cllr Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy executive member for culture, added that the plans “represent a tremendous show of support for the city’s LGB&T community”.

“Not only will the rainbow bridge be an eye-catching addition to what is already a lively and eclectic part of Leeds, it will also make a huge statement to our many visitors that here, we embrace and celebrate diversity and the contribution it makes to ensuring Leeds is such a warm, welcoming and successful city,” Pryor said.

Thomas Wales, an LGBT campaigner who came up with the repainting idea, explained that the new rainbow colour scheme will be based on a variation of the Freedom Flag “as designed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978”.

“Each colour represents something different, from life and harmony to nature and spirit,” he said, “It is also a scheme that has been adopted internationally to celebrate freedom in sexuality and gender identity in our city. It is destined to become a landmark we can all be proud of.”

Fostering diversity is a challenge for the rail industry as a whole: as John Evans, CEO of the National College for High Speed Rail, said earlier this year, the rail industry needs to drastically increase the diversity of its workforce.

Rail also has a duty to support and welcome all groups within the passengers and communities it serves.

The Lower Briggate bridge is an unmissable way of showing support for the Leeds LGBT community. Hopefully more rainbows will appear across other rail infrastructure soon.

(Image c. Bob O'Neal / AP/Press Association Images)

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