“The station at the Sutton Life Educational Centre in Sutton, south London, is the first of its kind in Britain.
It aims to reduce trespassing and hammer home the serious and devastating consequences for schoolchildren and their loved ones when they make the potentially life-changing decision to ignore warnings and go onto the railway.
The indoor station comes complete with a real platform, track, signs, help points and benches, and for a genuine immersive experience, surround sound speakers and a giant screen showing trains whizzing past at South Croydon station.
Nicola Dooris, Network Rail’s community safety manager in the south east, said: “This virtual station is an incredible weapon in our armoury when it comes to educating children and teenagers about the potentially life-changing decision to ignore warnings and go onto the railway.
It really changes the way we can deliver our key safety messages to young people, by immersing them in real-life scenarios that will help them to really comprehend the hidden dangers first-hand.
“We couldn’t have done it without the help of our partners BAM Nuttall who installed this over a week-long period completely free of charge.”
The indoor station will now become a part of Network Rail’s safety outreach programme for primary and secondary schools with young people from across the south of England visiting.
BAM Nuttall’s Ray Harrison said: “We’re delighted to be able to play such a crucial role in the launch of this key educational facility which we hope will have a huge impact on the young people who visit, raising awareness of the dangers on the railway and in the longer term, saving lives.
“When the trains are flying past on the projector, with the surround sound speakers going, it’s like you’re at a real station. It’s been a fantastic project to work on.”
At a special launch event on Tuesday, 13 November, 60 year 6 pupils from nearby Westbourne primary school visited the station for an immersive insight into station safety, incorporating information about the deadly third rail, which powers trains.
Ricky Theodosio, Sutton Life Centre Manager, added: “The new train station at Sutton Life Centre is a fantastic addition to our educational experience and provides an extra level of realism to the safety messages being delivered and the impact of these messages on our visitors.
“I’d like to thank Network Rail and Bam Nuttall for making this happen, and especially to Nicola Dooris and Ray Harrison, for all their enthusiasm and commitment to this project, without whom this would not have been possible.
“The new station has been met with a huge amount of positivity from teachers and pupils alike and will be used to facilitate railway safety workshops to schoolchildren from across Sutton, south London, Surrey, Berkshire, Sussex, Kent and Essex.”