Autism Friendly Stations is a project funded by Northern, building on ongoing work to make rail travel more accessible for Autistic people. It has focused on 3 railway stations: Blackburn, Manchester Victoria and Manchester Oxford Road.
During January – April 2023, we’ve been evaluating existing resources and developing new ones, including station guides, easy read maps and training materials for staff.
We have facilitated railway station ‘secret shopping’ with 3 Autistic people, and have used exciting new Virtual Reality technology to share the experience of being at a railway station for those who’ve not visited before. We’ve run workshops and have taken groups out on trips – helping to upskill participants, build rail confidence and develop links with our community. Trips to Manchester Art Gallery and Clitheroe Castle gave those taking part the chance to expand horizons by going a little out of their comfort zones, and try something new.
‘The trip was a fantastic experience for all involved. It was lovely to see students interact with each other away from the school environment and be independent travellers as they boarded trains and walked around the castle and museum on their own. Looking forward to the next one already!’ School teacher