Flitwick children swapped the classroom for the railway as they enjoyed a ‘Try a Train’ day with Thameslink.
The educational outing for pupils of Kingsmoor Lower School included safety talks from Thameslink's Rail Enforcement Officers, meeting British Transport Police officers, tours of Flitwick and St Albans stations, plus a visit to St Albans South Signal Box and Museum.
The group of 15, aged six to nine, travelled to St Albans in First Class. They then had fun making announcements from station platforms, sitting in a police car and exploring the signal box and museum.
For some of the excited children, this trip marked the first time they had been on a train. The outing was organised by Bedford to St Albans City Community Rail Partnership (BSAC CRP) and the charity Sustrans, with support from Thameslink and signal box volunteers. It was the first time BSAC CRP had organised a Try a Train day.
Andrew Chillingsworth, who is the Community Engagement Officer for Thameslink and Great Northern, said: “It was a great success. Everything ran smoothly and there was so much to keep the children occupied. As well as the train journey itself, the children enjoyed making announcements at the station, pulling levers in the signal box and even had the chance to sit in the police vehicle!”
BSAC CRP Officer Andy Buckley said: “Our guests thoroughly enjoying themselves and I hope that many more similar visits will follow."
Deputy headteacher Jessica Suffling said: “The children had a wonderful day out, learning about the railway and its heritage. Another highlight for them was meeting the British Transport Police and sitting in a police car. We would like to thank all the organisations involved who made this outing possible.”
Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:
- Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
- Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
- Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
- Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria
GTR is currently the most punctual of the large and complex operators in UK rail according to 'On Time' statistics released by the Office of Rail and Road for May, June and July 2019, and fourth of all train operators in the UK