Porterbrook and Network Rail have made a dream come true for The Dales School at Blyth in Northumberland.
The school has been donated a two car class 144 Pacer train which will be used as a ‘Reading Together Library’
Working with pupils with special educational needs and disabilities, the specialist primary school have two sites and provides a safe, caring environment for pupils and gives them the opportunity to meet their full potential.
Over half the pupils at the school have never been on a real train before, so this is a unique opportunity for them.
Network Rail has provided the track for the train in the school yard, along with a set of buffers. Railway Support Services hauled 144002 from Worksop to Blyth.
A railway course is being developed by the school and will help the pupil develop careers aspirations around the railway, and will be using a train simulator to make learning fun. Railway safety and independent train travel will also be part of the learning for the children.
Rail Support Services completed the move at a discounted rate
Stuart Cutmore, from Porterbrook said, “It is every child’s dream to have a real life train in their school yard. We are delighted the retired Pacer trains can be put to use for such inspirational projects that will help not just a school but a whole community. At Porterbrook, we are committed where possible to repurposing retired rolling stock as part of our efforts to make Britain’s railway more sustainable.”
Network Rail’s Chair, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, said “Railway coaches are built to serve, so when they’ve finished their job carrying our passengers, it’s brilliant to see them given a new lease of life as school classrooms. Network Rail supports communities across the length and breadth of the country; it’s great to see the positive impact Mick Hodgson and our works delivery team are having in tracklaying at the school, and ensuring the coaches are safely secured. I hope the children at The Dales School enjoy their Railway learning Centre and Library, hopefully encouraging enthusiasm in the kids for the railway as well.”
Dr Sue Fisher, Headteacher at The Dales said, “We are extremely grateful to Porterbrook and Network Rail for supporting such an engaging and unique project. They truly have made a dream come true to our children. The train will provide children with engaging learning opportunities and offer children with additional needs a chance to learn new travel skills, develop career aspirations and a lifelong love of reading”.
“This is a dream come true for our children. The train will provide children with engaging learning opportunities and offer those with additional needs a chance to learn new travel skills, develop career aspirations and a lifelong love of reading.”
Andrew Goodman, managing director of RSS said: “Transport of the two-car Pacer unit was straightforward for us as we have delivered many railway vehicles and locomotives by road transport over recent years. However because of site constraints, the coaches were unloaded onto a temporary length of track and then slewed into their present position.
“We were thrilled to be involved with this imaginative project which sees redundant rail vehicles given a new lease of life, to help and inspire youngsters.
“We have taken a few of them for further use elsewhere. Much-maligned in service they lasted three times longer than designed and now seem to be finding several new uses from classrooms to service on heritage railways.”
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