Elstow schoolchildren enjoy a day on the railway with a visit to Ridgmont

Elstow school children visit Ridgmont station.
Elstow school children visit Ridgmont station.

Pupils from Elstow Lower School enjoyed the first organised school trip to the recently renovated Ridgmont Station and Heritage Centre.

The children made Ridgmont Station the focus of their study on the topic “from A to Z”. Two classes of year 2 pupils took the ride on the Marston Vale Line from Bedford to Ridgmont.

For some, this was their first ever trip on a train and the excitement showed. They even made their own tickets in readiness for the occasion and they are pictured.

Stephen Sleight, Marston Vale Community Rail partnership officer, put together a full day’s programme of activities including a quiz, introduction to the ticket office, visit to the signalling station and colouring activities, all of which were popular with the children.

The youngsters later wrote letters about their visit to the Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity (BRCC) which helped facilitate the outing.

Despite the many highlights picked out by the young letter writers, travelling by train and watching the freight train pass through the station remain top attractions for these young travellers.

Here are examples of what the children had to say:

“My favourite part of our beautiful day was the train ride and the control room – it was

so wonderful I didn’t want to go”

“I especially liked the ticket office because I really enjoyed finding out about the jobs

that people who used to work there did. I nearly know as much as my dad and he is a


“I liked looking at the barriers opening and the trains passing by. I also liked learning about the rails. My favourite part was watching the fast train and colouring the steam


“Thank you for a brilliant time at Ridgmont station. It really made me happy to be at a

train station because I love trains but I’ve never been on a train. My favourite part was the ticket room”

“My favourite part was letting the trains through....I will always treasure my visit”

“I never wanted to stop doing all the wonderful activities”

The day presented many opportunities to engage in learning about safety, transport,

community and history. Involvement from volunteers including Jack who worked as

a station master at Ridgmont, and Suzanne whose own family worked and lived at

the station house many years ago, served to bring the history to life. Network Rail

Signalling staff with their full array of screens and buttons showed that even learning

about safety can be fun.

The children’s letters and pictures, together with some of their tickets are now on

display in the Heritage Centre. You can visit for yourself and take tea in the

Ridgmont Station Tea Rooms.