Community Rail Lancashire, in partnership with Northern and working with the National Autistic Society, created the UK’s first Autism Friendly Railway Line.
Northern staff were trained to assist passengers with autism and other additional needs, and comprehensive information booklets are now available for the line from Blackburn to Manchester Victoria via Todmorden (these can be collected at staffed stations or downloaded below), as well as activity booklets for children and young people.
Ear defenders and sunglasses are also available to borrow from staffed stations along the route; please return these at the end of your day.
The project was launched on 30th July 2019 at Blackburn Station, and we received 100% positive feedback from the attending families, who all agreed that the resources would help their families or others, and that they would use the line in the future.
One parent commented, “I am very impressed with this project to make rail travel more enjoyable for everyone – especially for those who would ordinarily find it a huge challenge.” Julie Cooper MP commented, “I commend Northern Rail and Community Rail Lancashire for this excellent initiative that will allow autistic people to travel without stress.”
Travel guides, including businesses which feature autism-friendly hours and family-friendly activities, can be collected free-of-charge from staffed stations along the route. We recommend travelling between 9.30 and 16.00 when services may be less busy.
You can view videos of the line, tunnels and some features of the line on YouTube here; Autism Friendly Railway YouTube
Tickets can be purchased from staffed stations, ticket machines, or online at www.northernrailway.co.uk, along with timetable information and assistance booking facilities.
Our best practice guide, funded by Community Rail Network, can be downloaded here – Autism Friendly Line Best Practice Guide-1
We recommend you contact CRL regarding delivery of this as a workshop.
For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
All resources are subject to availability. All information is accurate as of July 2019. This project was funded by Arriva Rail North’s seed corn fund and Community Rail Lancashire.
With thanks to those who helped develop and review this project, including Northern staff, Rob Osinski-Gray, Rhianna Aston, Hannah Mallot-Manning and family, the Community Rail Lancashire team, our featured businesses, the National Autistic Society and the fantastic students of Broadfield Specialist School!