Upton pupils learn about rail safety in visit to Margate station

Upton youngster at the Travel Safe centre

The importance of being safe on the railway is a crucial lessons learnt by children from Upton Juniors in Broadstairs.

A Year 5 group discovered how a busy travel hub operates when they took part in workshops at the Travel Safe and Travel Smart centre at Margate railway station.

Run by Network Rail and Southeastern, it features a full-scale railway platform, life-size train front, model railway and interactive games.

Using real tracks in a safe, controlled environment the centre demonstrated the perils of taking risks and showed how the live rail is energised with up to 750V of electricity and can kill instantly, or that trains weigh an average of 400 tonnes, often making stopping in time for someone on the tracks impossible.

Pupils learnt key facts about the trains and the railways including how to step on and off of the train safely. They had a tour of the station and platforms, identifying the assistance points and the screens which direct them to where they need to get on the train; and watched a safety video about the importance of using crossings properly.

They also saw the equipment that train staff use, identified hazards on a model train track, and looked at the equipment used by engineers to maintain the railways.

Head of Year 5 Nikki Lewis said: “The workshops were extremely informative and well organised by Network Rail community safety manager Nicola Dooris and National Rail. Our pupils learnt how to use the railways safely and came away from the sessions with more confidence and with messages that will stay with them throughout their lives.”

Head of School Darci Arthur agreed. She said: “Embracing good railway safety habits and understanding the need to be vigilant when using the network and its stations is an important lesson. The resource centre at Margate is a perfect way to deliver this information.

“It is quite likely that a number of children will be making rail journeys on trips and visits during the weekends and holidays and they may possibly travel to school when they enter secondary education. Becoming familiar with the do’s and don’ts of behaviour in and around the railway is a vital lesson.”