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Children’s train trip to Lancaster a great success

The group all smiles at Skipton Station awaiting their train to Lancaster.

Almost two years on from their previous train trip to Morecambe, a group of youngsters from Skipton Extended Learning For All (SELFA) children’s charity became the first group to be assisted by Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership since the pandemic began.

The children were on the Bentham Line as the route is known, and enjoyed learning about travelling safely using the train.  They received copies of A Grand Day Out To The Seaside, a story book created in conjunction with Northern Train’s year in industry students.  They travelled from Skipton to Lancaster on 5 August before having fun at Williamson Park. The group also enjoyed ice-cream at Lancaster Castle and a short walk to the Priory before returning to the station for their return journey.

They were accompanied by the Bentham Line’s two community rail partnership officers, Brian Haworth and Catherine Huddleston, who commented:  “We were delighted to welcome this wonderful group back to explore the Bentham Line with their friends and us. It was great to see them gain confidence with independent travel, budgeting and exploring new places.  The group were a credit to the organisation and we hope to help support further SELFA trips in the future. The Bentham Line would like to thank Northern for their help in enabling this trip to take place.”

There was even a young rail enthusiast among the group who was particularly delighted to see the Scarborough Spa Express arrive at Skipton prior to the departure of Northern’s service to Lancaster and to discuss all things railway related with Brian and Catherine during the day.

Sam Pickard, SELFA activity co-ordinator said: “Complimentary train tickets from Northern Trains and assistance from the wonderfully helpful Bentham Line staff allowed us to give our Year 6 children the amazing opportunity of a full day trip out in the summer holidays, something they have missed out on over the last 18 months. Our trip to Lancaster on the train had the excitement of exploring somewhere new. With the guidance of Catherine and Brian, we were able to visit Williamson Park Butterfly House and mini zoo, and also Lancaster Castle.  We were also lucky to receive copies of the Bentham Line’s new illustrated book, ‘A Grand day Out To The Seaside,’ which taught children the basics of rail safety.  We are super thankful for the continued support as it allows our children to travel and gain a sense of belonging in their community”.

Rod Tickner, vice-chair of CRP added: “It is good that we can again assist groups who want a day out to travel by train along the scenic Bentham Line.  Up to the start of the pandemic in early 2020, we had a busy programme of visits to the seaside and also the Forest of Bowland AONB for a variety of groups. Now it is possible to travel safely by train we want to welcome them back; I am aware that one or two groups are interested in such journeys and we are very willing to help them as much as we can.”