Autism Friendly Line

Community Rail Lancashire, in partnership with Northern and working with the National Autistic Society, are creating and hosting the UK’s first Autism Friendly Railway Line.

Northern staff are being trained to assist passengers with autism and other additional needs, and comprehensive information booklets are 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.

We have designated dates during which staff will be made aware there may be more passengers than usual who require assistance. These dates (within 2019) are;
30th July
1st August
7th August
12th August
24th August
30th August

We encourage travel by rail at all times, but some resources may not be available outside these dates.

The project was launched on 30th July 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.

For further information, please contact info@downtheline.org.uk

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!