Children at four island primary schools are to be treated to an action-packed week of railway activities this week.
Well-known children’s author Chris Vine is conducting hands-on track building workshops, engineering talks and classes with youngsters from Kewaigue, Ashley Hill, Laxey and Jurby schools before running a promotional event (Peter’s Railway Day) at Laxey on Saturday (18th May).
It’s the fourth consecutive year he has travelled to the island at the invitation of Isle of Man Railways with Isle of Man Steam Packet Company assisting with the costs.
Pupils in years three to six will be taken on a trip to Port Erin railway station and railway museum, where Chris will give a talk, before the children enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour, trying out a diesel simulator and learning about track and points using a G-Scale model rail layout.
During the tour, Chris will explain how tools and equipment are used and how locomotives work.
He will then conduct afternoon sessions of track building at the Morton Hall in Castletown where the children will construct lengths of tracks, which are to be used to run Peter’s railway locomotive at Laxey station during Peter’s Railway Day, the culmination of his week-long visit.
At that event, which will coincide with the annual Laxey Duck Race in the village, there will be the opportunity for members of the public to ride on Peter’s railway and other visiting locomotives on the platform, and learn about steam engines
Chris will also lead a number of evening activities during his visit, including a guided tour of Pulrose Power Station with a youth group, a talk to volunteers at the Orchid Line miniature railway at the Curraghs Wildlife Park and a story telling session at Hospice Isle of Man.
Hannah Lo Bao, IoM Railways Customer Experience Manager said: ‘Chris has captivated and inspired the children in recent years so we couldn’t miss the opportunity to bring him back.
‘Once again, he will provide the children with a mixture of science, engineering, history and adventures and I’m certain they are going to thoroughly enjoy themselves.
‘Overall, it complements a range of curriculum subjects, as well as showing the children how a steam railway operates and encourages their interest in our own heritage railway, learning about steam locomotives.
‘We are extremely grateful to the Steam Packet Company for its support, which has helped make this visit possible.’
Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward added: ‘It is clear that over the last few years, Chris has made a huge impact with both local children and school staff.
‘After listening to the feedback, we were more than pleased to help bring him back to the island so more children and adults alike could be inspired and educated.’