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Rail safety and the Three Peaks challenge – the latest from the Education Network

Education Network

On Thursday 15 June, the Education Network met to discuss rail safety. The steering group for the Backtrack Competition discussed how community rail officers and members of the Education Network can get involved with this year’s competition. Tyne Valley CRP’s Fiona Forsythe gave her own insight into the initiative, and Bishop Line CRP’s Felicity Machnicki walked members through the website and the entry form. It was suggested that to utilise the campaign with school contacts, members can hand out entry sheets when visiting schools, and collect them when taking groups out on trips.

The next part of the session was led by Elaine Clarke, CEO of Rail Forum, who talked about this year’s Rail Safety Week (26 June – 2 July). Elaine spoke about competitions available for young people to take part in, including a colouring competition designed by Arlo’s Adventures author Bessie Matthews. 

The next Education Network meeting will take place on Thursday 20 July at the slightly later time of 11am-12pm. The meeting will be joined by representatives from the Scouts to discuss a potential collaborative project.

The Education Network is open to anyone with an interest in railway education. If you would like to join the Network and attend the next meeting on Thursday 20 July, please contact Karen Bennett on

All notes and recordings from previous meetings are available to view on the Education Network website.

Three Peaks by Rail

The 20th annual Three Peaks by Rail challenge (organised by Railway Children) took place between 15-17 June. This year, Karen Bennett, Education and Youth Engagement Advisor at Community Rail Network, took part with a community rail team that included Emilie Dawson, Learning Development Manager at Platform, Dave Savage, co-ordinator of Avanti’s Feel Good Field trips at Community Rail Lancashire, and Bessie Matthews, freight driver and author of Arlo’s Adventures.

Named after the character in Bessie’s book, Team Arlo scaled all three National Peaks and raised £4.3k for charity. Conditions were tough in the heat, but this didn’t dampen spirits.

All those participating in the challenge who hailed from different sectors of the rail industry and beyond raised over a quarter of a million pounds for Railway Children.

This was the first year, in the history of the event, that a community rail team took part. So, if you’re inspired to take on the task next year – or perhaps another of the Railway Children’s events (including station sleep outs) – please do check out Fighting for Street Children (