The objective was to create and produce a rail safety film where the message would be understood by children in junior school. The video was designed to be informative, educational, and practical in raising awareness of the dangers of the railway, while, most importantly, resonating with its audience.
Many children will tell you that while they may not watch ‘conventional’ TV, they access YouTube and watch vloggers on smart phones and tablets. They may even be a YouTube user with their own channel! So, the project team created a storyboard centred on a YouTube vlogger presenting a video on rail safety.
The aim was to produce an interactive film in three sections covering the dos and don’ts of rail safety on the Conwy Valley Railway, focusing on getting on the train, behaviour on the platform, and how to use crossings.
Conwy Valley Railway Partnership teamed up with Arriva Trains Wales (ATW), Conwy Council, and TAPE, a community arts charity. They agreed the aim, a timescale of six months, a budget of £3,200, and identified an appropriate school to work with, Ysgol Maenofferen in Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Arriva Trains Wales approached the school and asked teachers and pupils in years 4 and 6 whether they would like to take part in an exciting railway project that they could help plan and direct. The answer was a resounding yes! The train operator then arranged dates for four workshops with the classes and the film team at TAPE, covering;
- Session 1: Introducing the project, meeting the team, and learning how to use the video equipment
- Session 2: Exploring rail safety knowledge and understanding
- Session 3: Planning the storyboard and script with the children, with the class split into three based around the themes of the video
- Session 4: Choosing the cast and using the hand-held camera and GoPro
All children had the opportunity to talk on camera or act as director, with the bi-lingual film, in both English and Welsh, needing two presenters and a supporting cast. Teachers agreed that children who had demonstrated positive behaviour within the project would be rewarded with the opportunity of being part of the crew.
After the cast and locations had been agreed, the children, guided by ATW, shot scenes on the platform, on the train, at the station, and next to a level crossing. Footage of the vlog presenter was also shot in the classroom, along with scenes in the playground.
Filming took place over three days, followed by many edits by the TAPE team, who felt it was important that they listened to the children on how to make the video fun and engaging by adding games, animation, and special effects, while still ensuring the necessary rail safety points were covered.
The Conwy Valley Railway officer arranged a red-carpet premiere complete with a VIP reception and the exclusive use of a large screen cinema.
David Crunkhorn, station manager for ATW, said: “This is a brilliant and engaging video that really gets the message across about railway safety in a creative way. The safety of everyone using the railway has to be top priority, and hopefully having young people involved will help get those points across to many more young people across Wales.”
- Video completed and uploaded to YouTube, with more than 300 views –
- Film now available as a resource for ATW staff, Network Rail, and other Community Rail Partnerships
- Video also available at Dangerpoint, a children’s safety centre in North Wales, forming part of its rail safety sessions