Friday 7 Oct 2016
Mother hopes son’s dream experience can help inspire others to visit Network Rail
A mother has described her autistic son’s visit to a Network Rail level crossing as a “dream” and urged others to give their children a similar experience.
Lucretia Malcolm contacted Network Rail as her son, Julius Kriauciunas, is obsessed with level crossings and he kept asking about how they work and the people that work there.
This led Lucretia to get in touch with Network Rail who arranged for Julius, who attends St Pauls C of E Primary School in Gloucester, and his friend, Koefee Palmer, to visit Horton level crossing which was improved in August as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a bigger, better, more reliable railway.
During their visit the youngsters were given a lesson in how the level crossing works, what the upgrade involves and shown how the control room manages not only Horton Road level crossing but many others.
Lucretia explained how valuable the experience was and said: “I thought the visit was great and I still can’t believe Julius got the chance to have his dream. He described it as the best day ever and I hope his story can encourage other children, especially those with an autism spectrum disorder, to go on visits like this.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for making this possible. It’s now all he talks about and he says he wants to work for Network Rail.
As well as encouraging children’s interest in the railway Network Rail has been working hard to improve safety near the tracks.
Network Rail recently had a Summer of Safety Campaign where they worked with partnership agencies and parents to reduce the number of incidents and raise awareness.
Steve Melanophy, Community Safety Manger from Network Rail explains: “If anyone is on the railway, they are on dangerous ground. It may seem like a good idea to take a shortcut, or like fun to play on the tracks, but this is not only illegal, it is also dangerous.
“As the railway gets busier and we electrify more lines to improve services, we must work harder to keep young people safe by making them aware of the dangers that exist. Taking a short cut or messing around on the tracks can result in serious life-changing injuries or death.”
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.