Last week the railway hosted visits from local primary schools in the dale in a joint initiative between the Weardale Railway, Weardale Community Police and Durham Wildlife Trust. These followed on from the recent successful railway safety visits into primary and secondary schools in Weardale.
Year 5 and 6 pupils from Stanhope Barrington CE Primary School, Frosterley Primary School and Wolsingham Primary School visited the railway on Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th October and had a ride onboard the Class 122 bubble car.
Claire Gibbons, Senior Community Liaison Officer for The Auckland Project, described the visits and explained their importance:
"The children walked to their local stations from their schools and while on the platforms waiting for the train, we revisited the topic of railway safety including boarding trains safely. There were some great questions and answers from the children.
"Once on board the children completed a nature and wildlife spotting sheet during their journey through the dale. On all three trips, the children were lucky enough to spot some fantastic wildlife including several herons, buzzards, rabbits and much more.
"On the journey back we discussed safe crossing points and the relevance of the use of whistles on the railways. The feedback from everyone involved has been extremely positive and for the children it made our railway safety programme a fun and interactive experience.
"Frosterley School said the children thoroughly enjoyed it and it also provided an excellent stimulus for their persuasive writing and artwork that we hope to display at Stanhope Station. They are also looking forward to helping the Trust volunteers with bulb planting at Frosterley Station."
Everyone involved had an enjoyable time and our thanks go to the staff of Weardale Railway Limited and the volunteers of the Weardale Railway Trust for running these special trains over the two days. Thank you also to the educational officer from Durham Wildlife Trust and the officers from Weardale Community Police's Neighbourhood Team. It is intended for more initiatives such as these between the Railway and the local community to take place in the future.
All photos courtesy of Claire Gibbons from The Auckland Project and used with permission from Stanhope Barrington CE Primary School, Frosterley Primary School and Wolsingham Primary School.