All aboard new classroom for delighted pupils at Blyth school
A dream has come true for children at a Blyth school after receiving their own train set – with a twist.
In a unique and exciting project, Porterbrook and Network Rail has donated a full-size real train to The Dales School.
More than half the children at the Dales School have never been on a real train, with some of them watching on excitedly on Tuesday as Porterbrook brought the train to the school while and Network Rail provided the track.
The Dales School works with pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.
Stuart Cutmore, Porterbrooks Maintenance Services Support manager, said: “It is every child's dream to have a real life train in their school yard.
"We are delighted the Pacer trains can be put to use for such inspirational projects that will help not just a school but a whole community.
“At Porterbrook, we are committed where possible to repurposing retired rolling stock as part of our efforts to make Britain’s railway more sustainable.”
Network Rail’s chair Sir Peter Hendy CBE said: “Railway coaches are built to serve, so when they’ve finished their job carrying our passengers, it’s brilliant to see them given a new lease of life as school classrooms.
“Network Rail supports communities across the length and breadth of the country; it’s great to see the positive impact Mick Hodgson (Network Rail North East manager) and our works delivery team are having in tracklaying at the school, and ensuring the coaches are safely secured.
“I hope the children at The Dales School enjoy their Railway learning Centre and Library, hopefully encouraging enthusiasm in the kids for the railway as well.”
The train will be used as a ‘Reading Together Library’ to help engage children with reading while the school is developing a Railway course to help children develop career aspirations linked around the railway, using a train driving simulator to make learning engaging and fun.
Dr Sue Fisher, Headteacher at The Dales, said: “We are extremely grateful to Porterbrook and Network Rail for supporting such an engaging and unique project.
"They truly have made a dream come true to our children.
"The train will provide children with engaging learning opportunities and offer children with additional needs a chance to learn new travel skills, develop career aspirations and a lifelong love of reading.”