Education Network

Bradford school children learn about the engineering heritage of Yorkshire’s iconic Ribblehead Viaduct


A class of Year 5 pupils from Barkerend Leadership Academy in Bradford
enjoyed a grand day out on the Settle-Carlisle Railway thanks to community
rail teams from Lancashire and Yorkshire.

The children – many of whom hadn’t previously travelled by train – visited the
iconic Ribblehead Viaduct as part of their STEM (Science, Technology,
Engineering and Maths) studies. The project – timed to coincide with
Community Rail Week – was a joint collaboration between Community Rail
Lancashire, Settle to Carlisle Community Rail Partnership and the Community
Rail Network.

Before the visit, the 30 ten-year olds were visited by Karen Bennett from the
Community Rail Network and Catherine Kingdom, Community Rail Education
Development Officer at Community Rail Lancashire, who taught the pupils
about rail safety and careers.

After leaving Bradford, the pupils engaged in a STEM eye-spy activity en
route to Ribblehead, where they looked out for Bingley Three Rise locks,
Keighley’s Worth Valley Railway and semaphore signals amongst other

After disembarking at Ribblehead Station, chartered engineer and STEM
ambassador Andrew Walker, who worked on the major refurbishment of the
Viaduct in 2021, explained how the construction of the viaduct back in the late

19th century was extremely tough, dangerous work, carried out by thousands
of ‘navvies’ using largely manual labour.

The pupils were wowed by the views of the Yorkshire Three Peaks and
amazed to be able to get so close to the viaduct and returned to the station to
build their own model version of the viaduct and learn more about the history
of the Settle-Carlisle Railway.

Vice Principal Vicki Hinchliffe from Barkerend Primary Leadership Academy
said: “It’s wonderful to be able to take the children out of the city into the
stunning scenery of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks landscape and, for most, it was
their first experience of travelling on a train.

“Many of our pupils simply don’t get these opportunities to explore the
countryside and learn about the county’s rich heritage and for Community Rail
and Northern Trains to help organise and fund a trip like this leaves memories
that will last a lifetime. They will be talking about this amazing day out for
weeks afterwards.”

Community Rail Education Development Officer at Community Rail
Lancashire Catherine Kingdom said: “Opening up new experiences and
opportunities for schoolchildren is at the heart of community rail’s mission.
“Travelling to such stunning landscapes is quick, safe and easy by rail –
thanks to the financial support of Northern Trains. It’s wonderful to see how
excited and engaged the children become as soon as they get on the train.
“We hope this educational trip inspires the children to engage more deeply
with their STEM studies and to bring their families back to the Settle-Carlisle
Line to visit some of the magical places along it.”

Karen Bennett, Education and Youth Engagement Advisor at Community Rail
Network, who helped to organise the event said: “Today has been an
opportunity to inspire pupils from inner city Bradford to connect to new
communities by rail and also to look to engineering roles for their future
careers. We were delighted to be joined by Industry contacts and a STEM
ambassador today to help encourage pupils into STEM careers.”

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