Rail Ombudsman releases Resource Pack to Empower Young Rail Users

The Rail Ombudsman is launching ‘The Young Person’s Train Guide’; a rail byelaw campaign aimed at young people by engaging with Rail Operators and other stakeholders in the industry. Train operator Merseyrail has picked up this initiative and has partnered with local schools in the Liverpool City Region to educate the new generation of rail users on ways to remain safe when using the network and empower them to use trains confidently in the future.

Since the establishment of the first Rail Ombudsman in 2018, young people’s lack of knowledge of rail travel, the laws and byelaws that govern it and passenger’s responsibilities and obligations to achieve safe passage, has been evident. Cases whereby young people are penalised based on a lack of experience or knowledge of the rail sector, can be very damaging. Their experience of the industry is negatively impacted, confidence is knocked, and parents, guardians and families’ reactions have long term industry repercussions.

The campaign, created by the Rail Ombudsman – an independent organisation offering a free service to rail users to help sort out unresolved customer complaints about train operating companies, seeks to target and address this growing problem by supplying interactive exercise packs to schools and youth groups that can either be completed by young adults independently, or as part of the PSHE curriculum though teacher-led worksheets, competitions and blog style content. The learnings gained from these lessons can directly be implemented on their next rail journey and includes content themes such as fares and ticketing; unacceptable rail behaviour; safety and rail cards.

The educational campaign targets reaching young people across Great Britain and the resources can be downloaded for free directly from the Rail Ombudsman’s website.

Through collaboration with the industry and key stakeholders, a key remit of the Rail Ombudsman is to recommend solutions to prevent future complaints but also to increase confidence of young people and their parents and families in a safe, nonthreatening, accessible way.

Kevin Grix, CEO and Chief Ombudsman, Rail Ombudsman said, “This national initiative has been designed to educate and empower young people as train travel is returning to pre-pandemic levels and often relied upon as a key mode of transport for the next generation of rail passengers. We’ve witnessed first-hand the impact that lack of knowledge can cause when young people travel by train, often with devastating consequences which could have been avoided, and our aim is to educate and inform young people to travel as confidently and securely as possible.”

Jane English, Deputy Managing Director at Merseyrail, said: “By working with the Rail Ombudsman and some of our local schools we want to ensure that young people know what is expected of them and what their rights are whilst using our services.

“We want to instil confidence and the love of rail travel among young people in our region by engaging with them through their regular PSHE sessions at school.

“We will be working with Maricourt High School in Maghull in the coming months to include this important new resource in their lessons.  We will then hope to replicate that in other high schools in and around our network.

“We will also be adapting the resource pack to be included in the regular educational hub visits to our stations which are led by our school liaison team. These start from year 6 to prepare children for their move into secondary education and independent travel.

“We are delighted to be involved in the rollout of these resources and we will continue to engage with the young people of the city region to help improve their travel experiences and ensure that they also have a voice in their rail network.”

LNER spokesperson said: “This is a great initiative and one that LNER is happy to support. The Young Person’s Train Guide will help tackle some of the perceptions that surround rail and help promote the reality that rail is a fun, easy and environmentally friendly way to travel.

“We want to encourage more people to think and choose rail, and to do that we as an industry have to make travelling by rail as easy and stress free as possible. This proactive step will make sure that young people are equipped with the knowledge to travel on the railway with confidence.”

To find out more, visit www.railombudsman.org/young-persons-train-guide