Last week, a group of Bedford College students, who have learning difficulties, took part in Govia Thameslink Railway‘s ‘Try A Train’ event from Bedford to London.
The event was hosted by Bedford Station Manager, Joe Healy, and his team.
The 11 students, with three college staff members, talked to the ticket office, gateline, and platform staff at Bedford, before boarding the train to London for a day out.
On the journey, Joe had a chat with the students about rail travel and careers in the railway industry. Upon arrival, station staff helped them to familiarise further with aspects of railway travel, including passenger safety features and information displays.
From Blackfriars, the group walked along South Bank and then visited the House of Commons, where they had a guided tour and met their MP.
What did the officials say?
Louise Smith, Bedford College’s Foundation Manager, said: “The students thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and came away with a positive attitude towards train travel.”
Joe Healy said: “The main point of the day was to help people with learning difficulties overcome their fears of train travel, and to help them be more independent. We wanted it to be both fun and informative, and our staff really enjoy interacting with the group and seeing their confidence grow.”
One of the students summed up the success of the day by saying: “I would like to travel by train on my own some time.”
GTR’s Accessibility Manager Antony Merlyn said: “The Try a Train initiative provides a valuable experience for all people with accessibility needs. It helps build confidence in using public transport independently. It also helps us to fully understand the wide range of needs our passengers may have, so that we can provide the best accessibility support at stations and on the trains.”
- Visit the Govia Thameslink Railway website
For more information