Across 2 days around 200 students from years 10 & 12 learned the benefits of travelling by train to gain independence and visit destinations along the Bishop Line such as Locomotion at Shildon. They also heard hard hitting messages about rail trespass and how to stay safe on the railway.

Felicity Machnicki, Officer for the Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership commented, “We believe that over the past year, young people haven’t had the opportunities to travel that they usually would, so there are many of teenagers and young adults who don’t know how to travel independently by train. More importantly, new data reveals a shocking 138% increase in trespass incidents along the East Coast route after the public emerged from national lockdown and with the summer holidays fast approaching we are aiming to tackle this issue now.”

She added “Together with the learning and engagement team at Locomotion, we have been introducing students at UTC South Durham to the benefits of rail travel in terms of social benefits and for future training and employment opportunities. We also launched the exciting Backtrack competition which encourages young people to create a song, storyboard, short film, animation or script to help increase the awareness of the dangers of trespassing on the railways to other young people and their families. More information about Backtrack can be found at Entries close on the 30th September 2021.

Catherine Purvis-Mawson, Vice Principal at UTC South Durham said “Ensuring that our students are not only learning about the importance of rail safety but are also developing their experiences and independence to become life ready is what we offer at the UTC. We are really pleased to have the partnership with Bishop Rail and Locomotion and look forward to working with them more in the future.”