Press release -
Rail partnership brings exciting new activity trail to Beds and Herts
To promote the train line from Bedford to St Albans and encourage children to learn about their surroundings, Thameslink has partnered with Mini Map-Makers and Beds & Herts Community Rail Partnership to launch a new, interactive trail in time for half term.
Launching on Tuesday 26th October at the restored St Albans South Signal Box Museum, the new ‘Symbol Spot’ trail provides children and families with an activity booklet with things to look for and collect at all eight stations; from Bedford to St Albans. With symbols to search for, such as letters, numbers, shapes and signs – the fun trail is suitable for all children over the age of five.
Symbol Spot encourages families to learn more about the local area by travelling by train to each station, where children can collect a total of eight plaque rubbings for their booklets. Each plaque has been uniquely designed to reflect the history and culture of each area. Children that collect all the plaque rubbings in the Symbol Spot trail will receive a certificate and special coin.
Jenny Saunders, Customer Service Director for Thameslink, said: “This is a brilliant way to get kids outdoors and exploring this half term. After a year and a half of restrictions and lockdowns, we’re pleased to be welcoming our communities back to the railway, whilst supporting local economies. The trail launches next week and doesn’t have an end date – so we’d love lots of families to come and get involved and make the most of our £2 train tickets for kids*!”
Alice Gadney, Cartographer and Director, Mini Map-Makers, added: “I have immensely enjoyed developing the second Community Railway Symbol Spot on the Beds to Herts line with the amazing team at the Community Rail Partnership and at St Albans Signal Box. The evolving network of kind, friendly and incredibly helpful people have helped me create an exciting project that helps children learn about their rich doorstep history. I look forward to hearing their stories!”
Andy Buckley - Line Officer for the Beds & Herts Community Rail Partnership, added: “I'm delighted to announce the launch of Symbol Spot on the Bedford to St Albans City line - this creates exciting opportunities for families to have days out together on a train playing 'eye-spy', spotting from the train and at stations. Families will learn about rail safety and the history of our line and the countryside through which it passes. I am very pleased that the Beds & Herts CRP has been able to work with so many partners to bring this rail-based activity to our route and we look forward to welcoming families to the Symbol Spot trail.
The Beds and Herts Symbol Spot project will launch on Tuesday 26thOctober with a day of mapping and craft activities run by Alice from Mini Map-Makers, with prizes on offer. The pre-booked workshops will help children learn about map reading and cartography and can be booked here: 'Symbol Spot' Launch with Mapping and Craft Workshops for Children Tickets, Tue 26 Oct 2021 at 10:00 | Eventbrite.
Following this, adults and families can ask for a Symbol Spot pack at Thameslink stations between Bedford and St Albans City when purchasing child train tickets from Wednesday 27th October and beyond. Book Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak tickets from Thameslink and up to four children can travel with a adult for just £2 each on most journeys.
Notes to editors
- All project materials have been sourced from local businesses. Symbol Spot uses sustainable resources.
- The Mini Map-Makers workshops are suited towards children aged 5 -15.
- Each session runs for 45 minutes and every child will be supplied with their own craft materials
- Timings are as follows:
- Session 1 10:00
- Session 2 11:00
- Session 3 13:00
- Session 4 14:00
- There is a small non-refundable charge of £2.00 per child to cover fees and materials.
- Each child participating in the workshops will be one of the first to receive the Beds & Herts Line Symbol Spot pack plus a special 'mappy' goody bag.
- Formed in 2019, the Beds & Herts Community Rail Partnership (CRP) covers the eight Thameslink stations between Bedford and St Albans City. The CRP has brought together local government, businesses, community interest groups and volunteer organisations, along with the Thameslink and East Midlands Railway train operating companies and Network Rail, the infrastructure owner, in the pursuit of a common cause – namely, to bring the railway and the communities it serves closer together.
For more information, contact the press office on 0203 750 2031.
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 (currently suspended during the pandemic)