Sunderland Student lined up for arts accolade

A student from Sunderland College is to have his design featured on merchandise for Grand Central Rail after winning a recent competition.

Jonathon Collins, a BTEC level 3 Graphic Design student, was selected by Grand Central and Yorkshire artist Ashley Jackson from scores of entries from students around the North East and Yorkshire. His winning design features an old fashioned train name plate to showcase the ‘Direct to London’ theme of the competition.

As well as having his design featured on new Grand Central bags for life, Jonathon will also receive a year of free train travel on Grand Central services.

Sean English, general manager at Grand Central, said: “It is pleasing that, through the competition, we have been able to continue our tradition of supporting local artists and art establishments. Jonathon’s design really stood out to the judges as it captured the Grand Central ethos and demonstrated the direct links to the capital that we offer the communities along our routes. We are delighted to be giving a local student this opportunity and to continue to offer this wider student discount.”   

Artist Ashley Jackson, who has a Grand Central train  named after him*,  said: "It is a privilege to assist other young artists and students to highlight the strength of their work and passion within the Grand Central communities. Art is all about engaging with an audience and this is what we hope Jonathon's eye catching design will create once seen on the bags for life. It is a bold classic design that strongly captures the Grand Central livery and it will be fantastic to see them being used across the regions"

Jonathon said: “I’m delighted to have won this prize. As a student of Graphic Design, this competition has given me the chance to work creatively on a specific brief which is great experience. It’s very exciting that my design will feature on bags that will be carried by Grand Central passengers from Sunderland all the way to the capital and I’m looking forward to seeing them.”

Students travelling by train with Grand Central can benefit from a further 10% off Advance train fares when booking with an NUS extra card. The discount, exclusive to Grand Central and sister company CrossCountry, is in addition to the 16-25 Railcard saving, meaning students have the potential to save even more when travelling on Grand Central’s North East and West Riding routes.

Grand Central provides the only direct service to London for many of the towns along its routes.


Notes for editors

1. Grand Central Railway Company Limited operates West Riding services between Bradford Interchange, Halifax, Brighouse, Mirfield, Pontefract Monkhill, Wakefield Kirkgate, Doncaster and London King’s Cross and North East services between Sunderland, Hartlepool, Eaglescliffe, Northallerton, Thirsk, York and London Kings Cross.

2. For further information on Grand Central and, to buy tickets with no booking fee, visit

3. The 10% NUS extra discount is only available on Advance fares, subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply and can be found here.