Always keen to ensure the love of railways is passed on to a new generation, Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership was delighted to be approached by a local school asking for a Work Experience Placement for one of its pupils. Matthew Parker, a pupil in year 12 at Prudhoe Community High School has joined the TVCRP for a week of work experience. Fiona Forsythe, the TVCRP Officer drew up an interesting week of work for Matthew. “There is a lot to find out and it's not just like being on a railway”, said Matthew.

Fiona Welcoming Matthew to TVCRP

On Monday morning Matthew caught the train from Prudhoe to Newcastle to meet with other TVCRP members to visit the Open Lab at Newcastle University to have a demonstration of “Our Place”. This is a new app which TVCRP hope to incorporate in various aspects of their work, both with class visits, learning about rail safety, but also for tourists and travellers who could be able to view their station and learn about the various attractions in the vicinity of the station. Matthew was able to contribute to the discussions and even designed a site for the Stocksfield Burn, one of his favourite walks.

The following day he was off to Haltwhistle to attend the Tourism Steering Group. In the afternoon Matthew began research into defibrillators. The next day Matthew visited Prudhoe Signal Box to find out about the work of the signalmen. These visits are always very interesting.

Back at Haltwhistle on Thursday to look at the 1838 sleeper block. This was one of the original sleeper blocks used in the building of the line, which has somehow survived and can be seen near the former goods yard. This was followed up by a visit to the Old Booking Office with its Edmondson ticket racks. These tickets are now sold as souvenirs. Edmondson was a station master at nearby Brampton Station and he invented the card ticket used by many railways throughout the world before computerised ticketing came along.

The final day was a time for catching up with paperwork. Matthew was asked to compile a blog of his week with TVCRP, along with photographs, a paper on defibrillators and text for the Stone Block Sleeper and the Edmundson tickets.

“We are very pleased to welcome Matthew to the TVCRP”. Said Fiona Forsythe, “And hope he gains a lot from his work experience”.