The internet is buzzing about the results of a recent online poll, where the Swedish public was asked to vote on names for four trains running between Stockholm and Gothenburg.
The national naming competition, run by Swedish rail operator MTR Express and Swedish newspaper Metro, resulted in a 49% leaning toward “Trainy McTrainface,” outvoting other options on the poll, such as Hakan, Miriam, and Poseidon.
The public vote, which has been consuming the internet’s attention since its verdict last week, is actually not the first online ballot to gain such worldwide traction. Last year, the British government released an online poll to name a new £200m polar research ship. After a voter submitted the name, “Boaty McBoatface” to the race, the unconventional name instantly became the poll’s frontrunner, gathering over 124,000 votes.
At the time, a number of officials, such as spokeswoman Alison Robinson, told the press the government was “delighted by the enthusiasm and creativity” of people vying for an unusual, light-hearted name.
“We’ve had thousands of suggestions made on the website since we officially launched; many of them reflect the importance of the ship’s scientific role by celebrating great British explorers and scientists,” Robinson said in an interview. “We are pleased that people are embracing the idea in a spirit of fun.”
Although “Boaty McBoatface” won by a landslide, the British government ultimately decided to name the ship after veteran BBC naturalist David Attenborough.
When the government officials decided to ignore the vote’s outcome, the verdict inevitably upset the voters, and the UK government responded with a consolatory gesture, naming a different, smaller research ship “Boaty McBoatface.”
So, when the public train vote was administered for trains in Sweden, a Swedish rail operator immediately vowed to name one of the trains, “Trainy McTrainface,” in tribute to the “Boaty McBostface” online saga.
The other train names were also decided by the public—one named Estelle, after the young daughter of Princess Victoria, and one Glenn, after a jocular stereotype of the popular name “Glenn” amongst the IFK Gothenburg soccer team. The fourth train has not yet been named, but voters are pleasantly surprised by the MTR’s willingness to embrace some good-natured silliness.
Hoping to cheer up the people who were disappointed by Britain’s naming rejection last year, MTR officials want “Trainy McTrainface” to mend last year’s disappointment of the McBoatface drama. “[This is] news that will be received with joy by many, not just in Sweden,” MTR commented in a statement.
“Almost 50 percent of the participants chose to vote for Trainy McTrainface,” said Nina Alexandersson, a spokeswoman for MTR Express. “It feels like Boaty McBoatface got his revenge when his cousin, Trainy McTrainface, won this poll.”