Rail Familiarisation

Rail familiarisation visits for primary schools are designed to give young people the opportunity to experience rail travel with their class and we aim to build confidence in using the railway so pupils are comfortable with travelling independently by rails as they progress to secondary school

During the session our Rail Ambassadors greet the class at their outbound station and provide an overview of how to stay safe and where to find help in the rail environment; pupils they learn how to plan a rail journey, check the train times and buy a ticket, and they take part in – an often lively – question and answer session.

To qualify for a free of charge visit, the primary school must be based within the Severnside Community Rail Partnership region, and the class must be able to reach a local station either on foot, by using integrated public transport or an provide an alternative means of arrival.

We encourage schools to use the local train service for school trips and days out, and will be pleased arrange for a rail familarisation session for pupils as part of a visit to a local destination or education provider.

The GWR National Schools partnership has some wonderful STEM-based digital games for schools Run the Railway and further inspiration for school days out

Rail Ambassadors are available to support visits during terms 1, 5 & 6Available dates for accompanied visits during 2018 will be released during April. Return here to make an early booking and avoid disappointment. 


Train the Teacher

Taking a class out by train can be a daunting, even for the most experienced of teachers.  To ensue all runs as smoothly as possible we offer a Train the Teacher sessions, either by coming to see you at school or taking teachers out on a local train journey (without pupils!)  Why not arrange a session as part of your school inset day? Visit our contact us page to register your interest. 

Rail Safety

Keeping young people safe on and around the railway is paramount.  Network Rail has a comprehensive set of resources for primary and secondary schools to access.  These include assembly presentations and lesson plans covering railway safety, level crossings and electrification. 


The Lifeskills Centre in Bristol run sessions for year 6 classes, aiming to aims to show pupils that they should taking responsibility for their own safety.  Children learn how to assess risk and cope with difficult stations by taking part in realistic interactive activities, including a powerful railway simulation exercise. 

Art Schemes

We encourage primary and secondary schools located near local rail stations to provide displays of pupils’ artwork at the station – and we may sometimes be able to help with external funding. The artwork not only brightens up stations, but gives the children a real interest in looking after “their” station, which in turn has shown to considerably reduce anti-social behaviour, vandalism and graffiti. The artwork also publicises the work of the school to the wider local community. The artwork can take a number of forms – from permanent murals to poster cases which can be used for short term displays, which are changed at regular intervals, thus involving more children. The Partnership can provide suitable poster cases – but note that on a railway platform they may not be completely weatherproof, so lamination may be desirable! 

Environmental Schemes

Schools are welcome to become involved with taking care of their local station environment, and where possible forming a link with their local station adoption or “Friends of …” . Growing plants within school for the station planters, and tending and watering the planters during summer months provide activities for Eco Clubs and Green Teams wishing to reach out in the community – and prove especially popular where edible stock is produced!

Schools have participated in supervised litter picks around their local stations and some participate in the annual Keep Britain Tidy spring clean event each March. 

School Rail Representatives

Cotham School in Bristol has formed a rail reps committee, which is a termly forum attended by a student rep from each year groups who meet with The Severnside Community Rail Partnership and representatives from Great Western Railway three times per year to talk about their journey to school by train and put forward suggestions for improvement.  

Travel Planning

The Partnership can help with school travel plans; we are keen to support school participating in Modeshift STARS.

Career Planning

To support career planning we welcomes secondary school pupils for work experience in the community rail (not for profit) sector

GWR and Network Rail both offer a wide range of career options including apprenticeship schemes

Further and Higher Education

Students and researchers can become actively involved in the local railway at any stage of their study. See our community and research pages or contact us to discuss how your enthusiasm benefit the local rail network.

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