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GTR work with communities to encourage people back to rail

Staff and station adopters at Sussex’s Hove Station

To welcome all members of our local communities back to rail, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), has worked with community rail partners to reach out to local communities to support those who haven’t travelled recently or with additional needs who may be nervous about using rail.

Using the knowledge and connections of community rail partners, GTR is hosting a series of refamiliarisation sessions over the summer months. Hosted by station management teams and facilitated by community rail line officers small groups are being welcomed to GTR stations. These sessions are normally 30 minutes long and give an opportunity for local community groups to be to met and discuss what steps have been taken to keep passengers safe at stations and on trains, demonstrate helpful tools introduced such as quiet trains alerts and answer any questions they might have.

46 individuals have been welcomed to refamiliarisation sessions and more are planned for the summer months.

Using short surveys, GTR has been able to measure the impact of the session on individuals confidence levels and their plans to use rail again for a leisure trips. Feedback from the pilot sessions showed the whole group felt comfortable and confident about using the train again following the re-familiarisation exercise. Some 94 per cent said they were planning to use a Southern train for a day out over the summer.

Feedback from partners involved in the initiative:

Roland Leask, from The Aldingbourne Trust “Our members and volunteers appreciated the re-familiarisation course. It was a lovely welcome back to the railway and great to see familiar faces again. The sessions definitely gave our members more confidence to use the trains again and we’re very thankful to GTR for their support.”

  • The session was pitched well, the information was clear and understandable.  It is really important for people with extra needs that hard won independence isn’t taken away due to fear and mis-information – Sharon Gray, line officer with SCRP.
  • Tim Barkley, chair of the SCRP said: “I have been very impressed at the efforts the train operating companies have made to ensure train travel is as safe as it can be. Trains and stations are regularly cleaned throughout the day, with frequent ‘deep cleaning’. The SCRP is proud to have helped people who may have lost confidence about travelling by train by helping with the station re-familiarisation programme.