Isle of Wight Community Kids Try the Train with South Western Railway

Tuesday 27th November 2018
South Western Railway’s (SWR) volunteer Community Ambassador recently gave youngsters from the Isle of Wight the chance to have their first experience travelling on a mainline train, as part of a remembrance project.

Sandown Community Kids, a local youth programme, has been working with the Isle of Wight Community Rail Partnership (IOWCRP), on a project to mark the 100th year since the First World War.

Even though the railway was a reserved occupation, the IOWCRP knows that there were volunteers from the three railway companies that ran the 54 miles of railway on the Isle of Wight at the outbreak of the Great War, joining the Isle of Wight Rifles and the Navy. The CRP has been working with the children to set up for projects at stations, to find out about the men and women who gave their lives and remember them.

Part of the work included a trip to Brompton Cemetery, in West London, and the chance to meet Chelsea Pensioners. SWR was pleased to be able to support this work, providing one of its tailored Try the Train experiences for the children along the way.

Meeting the group off the ferry at Portsmouth Harbour, Andy Harrowell, Community Rail Manager, with Community Ambassadors, Sheree Whetren and Tarnia Rayment, spoke with the children about platform safety before boarding the service for Clapham Junction. On-board, the youngsters had a tour of the train, learning more about the facilities to keep them safe as they travelled. They spent time designing safety posters and wrapped up the journey with a quiz. The children displayed an excellent understanding of everything they learnt, however one lucky winner stood out and was presented with a set of SWR branded goodies (pictured). 

Community Kids on the Isle of Wight enjoying a trip on a South Western Railway train

Andy Harrowell said:
“These trips are all about giving people who have never travelled on a train, or those who think this mode of transport is not for them, a chance to learn just how easy it can be to travel by train. The children were enthralled with what they heard from Sheree and Tarnia, and you could see they learned a lot. I’m really proud we could support this important project with an extra experience for the youngsters. I heard the adults say they felt inspired to travel again with us and I hope the children will be keen to do this in the future.”

Nicola Taylor of Sandown Community Kids said:
“The Community Rail Partnership on the Isle of Wight, led by Bobby Locke, works extremely closely with the Community Kids on the Isle of Wight, and over the years SWR has supported many initiatives that the children have been involved in.  Last year we visited Lymington Primary School.  This school is in the process of setting up a group just like us and adopting and taking care of Lymington Station as we care for our station in Sandown. 

“Our trip up to London's Brompton Cemetery was one of the best trips we have ever been on. The children learned so much and can still recall the information shared with them during our journey, thanks to SWR’s dedicated team.   Andrew, Sheree and Tania made the journey extra special. 

“The children loved the quiz and we were all so grateful that SWR accompanied us.”

SWR has over 25 Community Ambassadors, staff who volunteer to take on this role and support the Try the Train events, which are traditionally aimed at children, the elderly, those with disabilities or accessibility needs. Anyone interested in a trip should email to find out more.