Project date – 2017
Project Aims –
We are Rail 74 Community Rail Partnership a SCIO supported by Scotrail bringing community cohesion and engagement through rail safety/initiatives, improving the stations and surrounding areas by developing place making activities for a better place to work live and play and supporting local business growth and developing new businesses in the community for the community needs.
Under Rail 74 Community Rail Partnership, we aimed to encourage a more confident young traveller through rail for a group of young people from a deprived area in south Lanarkshire who had never travelled by rail before to enhance their confidence in life, use of rail travel to grow their aspirations and awareness around rail safety – allowing their ‘on track for success’ journey to be realised.
Through the Rail74 CRP meetings a sub group was created to manage the on track for success rail ambassador project – the idea project was to encompass great outcomes for young people supported by the CRP and scotrail facilitated by Christine Emmett the Deputy Head of a local school that partnered with the CRP.
Two Primary 6 classes from St Elizabeth’s in Hamilton were given an informative and engaging rail safety afternoon session through a scotrail/BTP and Network rail initiative explaining all aspects of travel safety by rail on 27th September 2017 in their classroom.
This led to a specific competition type activity to become rail ambassadors which started in October 2017 the class were invited to give reasons why they should be chosen to be a rail ambassador for the school and the local community. The children had to submit a letter showcasing why they should be chosen for the prize being of a day experience of travel and learning for 6 pupils and the title of Rail Ambassador 2017/2018 supported and funded by Rail74 CRP and scotrail.
The winners where selected and the day planned for 14th December 2017.
The day started at the Hamilton west train station and taking pictures safely of the recently installed totem pole and understanding its journey in the community with their fellow pupils from school. The kids then learned about timetables, station safety awareness, the station facilities and how to buy a ticket.
Once on the train the children entertained the passengers to loud applause with various Christmas songs. The group travelled from a 20 mins from Hamilton west station, a small local suburb station into the larger central station in Glasgow city centre. All of them had never been in the station before and met with an officer from the BTP and community liaison manager from Scotrail who had a bag of goodie along with small kids version hi vis vests which they gladly adorned. Before leaving central station they also sang some Christmas carols in the central area and once again were recognised for their effort by the public travellers.
They visited Glasgow virgin money bank lounge which showed a modern workplace and gave free juice and biscuits along with another performance of songs for the clients and staff whilst talking to people about their rail ambassador journey and learnings.
The group visited the George square in Glasgow to see the Christmas lights and enjoy some tasty food market treats – an experience that although just a few miles away from their homes they had never experienced due to cost and aspiration to travel beyond their own area.
The final part of the day was training on the Scotrail train simulator based back at central station. The simulator manager in conjunction with scotrail had arranged 2×15 minute visits for the 6 young Railway Ambassadors. They all had a debrief of what the centre was used for and the basic rules of being a train driver. They each had a shot in the simulator carriage and also acted as train desk controllers talking to the drivers. This was an amazing experience which the kids just loved and learned from. Many of the group where girls and had not considered a train driver as an employment option however it was a restounding 100% yes once they had their training and it opened a world of opportunities and hopefully increase the women train drivers in Scotland in the future.
Looking to the future we plan to run this project again within the school and add other schools within the area for 2018.
Project Outcomes –
The direct impact for these young people has been seen within the classroom from the school around the pupil’s confidence and knowledge resulting in improved motivation and belief in their abilities.
Over 60 young people and teachers have been directly supported in terms of new knowledge, confidence and learnings through the rail safety initiative and a wider effect to parents, carers and community people they met on their day out and in school activity giving an understanding of the benefits of rail travel, the opportunities for employment in and away from their local area and the importance of early years intervention of rail safety and the positive reminder of dangers of the railways.
An increase in passenger footfall along the Rutherglen to Hamilton line of 1.13% from 2016 to 2017 and we are sure this initiative has impacted on rail travel.
Local press have also recognised the community impact and ran a story showcasing the work involved with a reach of over 20,000 within our area along with social media impact across scotrail, St Elizabeth’s primary site and Rail 74 CRP and partners.