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Pioneering engineer leads major Cumbrian rebrand

Gurmail Sathi, engineering manager at Willowholme depot in Carlisle

A pioneering engineer is leading a three-year project rebranding Cumbria’s Stagecoach buses.

Gurmail Sathi, 36, is the engineering manager at Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire’s Carlisle depot, in Willowholme, having previously worked with Stagecoach at the London Olympics and in the US.

Originally from Manchester, he moved to Carlisle four years ago, and is responsible for making sure Stagecoach’s 345 local buses are all repainted in the firm’s new livery.

“It’s a pretty big task and will take three years,” said Mr Sathi.

“We have our own paint-shop at the depot with two skilled brush painters. We brush paint rather than spray painting and a bus the size of a double decker takes 10 to 12 days to complete.”

The new look is part of a company-wide rebranding exercise and sees the buses change from blue, orange and red to the new amber, blue and teal livery.

Mr Sathi is well-known within Stagecoach ranks, having persuaded the nationwide bus operator to change its policy for Sikhs wearing turbans.

He was following in the footsteps of his great grandfather, Sundar Singh Sarga, who was instrumental in bringing changes to UK law in the 1960s and 70s whilst working as a bus driver in Manchester.

He said: “(My great grandfather) changed the law to allow Sikhs to wear turbans whilst riding a motorcycle, instead of a crash helmet, and he also changed the law around Sikhs becoming bus drivers because the uniform originally involved wearing a cap.”

Mr Sathi joined Stagecoach as an apprentice mechanic aged 18, before becoming a workshop manager in Liverpool. In 2012, he volunteered to help set up and operate three pop-up Stagecoach depots for the duration of the London Olympics.

Following a year working as a director of engineering in Cleveland, Ohio, he moved back to the UK and to Carlisle with his wife Kiran, who works as a teaching assistant at Pennine Way Primary School, and children Asha, 15, Keram, 14 and Amanveer, 10.

Having worked around the country and overseas, he now feels at home in Cumbria.

He added: “I love walking with the family in the Lakes. What an absolutely beautiful part of the world it is.”

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