Mytholmroyd Station Partnership’s Sue Mitchell brings us up to date with all the latest happenings from the West Yorkshire station.
A rather soggy, austere August day greets our group on what should be the ‘dig-in’ day, the lashing rain could be the let-out from gardening duties today. Midday is decision time. The sun came out!
Although this is the traditional holiday season, we had a very reasonable eight members for today’s amble through the teasels – ouch, they hurt!
In the meantime some news regarding the Listed Grade II Mytholmroyd Station Building; Network Rail, the building owner, is currently reviewing the future uses for this iconic example of Victorian architecture.
Autism Friendly Line
Community Rail Lancashire, with the approval of the National Autistic Society, launched the first ‘Autism Friendly Line’, routed Blackburn onward to Manchester Victoria, towards the end of July. The inaugural train carried many guests from the region, who were treated to a superb packed lunch, explanatory booklets including the very interesting edition of ‘The Todmorden Curve’.
Welcomed by the Mayor of Blackburn, it was a friendly and jolly experience with an opening speech by a young man with autism, warmly received by all. The train departed, nearly on time, and jam-packed with visitors, staff, the press, now on its way to Manchester Victoria.
We noted how inclusive and kind Northern’s staff was. Our guard invited a youngster to help and observe her open the doors on arrival at the station, to see the help offered to any passengers in need, and to watch from the window as the train left the station, explaining all the procedures to the youngster throughout the experience. A very happy young girl took her seat, proud of herself as was her mother.
The two staff members who welcomed us onto the train, Rob and Rhianna, are part developers of the Autism Line booklet ‘Todmorden Curve,’ and are most engaging individuals whose interest in and compassion to those less able is apparent in their attitudes and smiling welcome.
It’s really good to report positive news from Northern and community rail. Dementia and autism, have been hidden disabilities that historically have never really been understood. Now great steps have been taken to help and support both the sufferers and their carers, basically through education and knowledge.
Northern, and Community Rail Partnerships – namely Lancashire Community Rail Partnership, together with the Bentham Line on the Leeds to Morecombe CRP have recognised the need. Drivers and guards have had specialised training from the National Autistic Society and Dementia Awareness Societies. They are now confident to observe and help with the needs of those less able to cope with confusing noises, lights, timetables and everything that can occur throughout the whole travel experience.
It is hoped that Blackburn’s ear defenders and sun glasses available today for those with noise and light disturbances will eventually be available at staffed stations along the line.
So to Northern, Lancashire Community Rail Partnership, and the Bentham Line and all their supporters and sponsors may I send the admiration and grateful thanks from all our members of Mytholmroyd Station Partnership for leading the way with these worthwhile and necessary projects.