South Western Railway (SWR) is holding free ‘Try the Train’ days for community groups in a bid to build confidence and also bringing knowledge of the accessibility features available for rail passengers.
The event will see groups get a tour of a station and also a demonstration from the process of buying tickets to knowing how to find the right platform to catch the train.
SWR would like to invite all community groups to take part in a free event. ‘Try the Train’ has a dedicated team who help increase the confidence of people thinking of using the railway with an aim to encourage and raise awareness for those who have not tried train travel before and also for those with limited experience of railways. The hope is that attendees will feel confident to use trains and experience that it is an accessible mode of transport.
At an event, guests will be welcomed by SWRs community ambassadors who will fill them in on the train travel experience such as buying a ticket, finding the right platforms, getting onboard a train and knowing when you have arrived at your station of choice. SWR staff members will also tell customers how they can find help and support at the station by demonstrating help points, information screens and also the new Assisted Boarding Points.
Previous ‘Try the Train’ events have seen disadvantaged children from local schools, elderly community members, those with accessibility needs and job or education seekers. The days are excellent for any community group who have an interest in increasing confidence in travel by train.
The most recent community group to enjoy the ‘Try the Train’ initiative was Winchester Go LD who have members with learning disabilities. The group have also taken part in a video case study sharing their experience of the day.
South Western Railway would like to invite community groups to contact them and see how a ‘Try the Train’ day may help their group. For further information which includes the video about the Try the Train days, please visit the dedicated Try the Train page.
Betty Chadwick, CEO of Winchester Go LD, said: “’We support adults with learning disabilities to live as independently as possible. Having the skills and confidence to travel is important for our members as it opens a number of opportunities; it gives them the ability to access college, meet up with friends, take part in social and leisure activities, visit family and to go on holiday.
“The Try the Train day was a brilliant way for us to practice train travel in a relaxed and fun way and for us to gain confidence in knowing when and how we can ask for help. Our day on the train with SWR has got many of our members thinking about where they’d like to go on their next train trip. The team at SWR were really helpful, interesting and enthusiastic with our group – thank you! We’d thoroughly recommend this experience to other community groups.”
Paula Aldridge, Community Rail Manager at South Western Railway, commented: “We are always looking for ways to improve access to railway travel and hope more community groups on our network see the benefits of a ‘Try the Train’ event. It is a perfect opportunity for people to familiarise themselves with the experience of rail travel, knowing that we are with them every step of the way.
“Our goal is to make sure that all our customers feel confident and comfortable on our services and are never afraid to ask our staff a question. We hope that by showing them how to use out network, their future journeys with us will be easier for them. We look forward to welcoming new groups to our events and equipping more members of the communities we serve with the knowledge and confidence to use the railway to get to where they need to be.”
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