Northern names train after dementia-friendly railway

Northern rail unveiled a new train yesterday to honour the Bentham Line Community Rail Group’s work on dementia awareness.

The Department of Transports Peter Wilkinson with Gerald Townson from the Bentham Line.

It was named ‘The Bentham Line A Dementia-Friendly Railway’ in acknowledgement of the group’s two-year project to provide dementia awareness training to Northern staff.

The train was decorated with the Bentham Line’s logo along with ‘forget-me-nots’ – the recognised symbol of dementia awareness.

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Volunteers from within Northern and the community shared their personal experiences of dementia to help create the awareness programme.

The Department of Transports Peter Wilkinson with Gerald Townson from the Bentham Line.

Gerald Townson, chairman of the LMCRP said: “It’s fantastic to have this train named after the Bentham line. The dementia awareness work we have done is something that started in the heart of the community and Northern have been very positive about it and want to support it further."

“It’s about bringing back little bits of individual support that mean so much to people. In looking at all these things that are dementia related - it also supports journeys for people with other hidden disabilities. It’s a positive for all passengers that are travelling.”

Richard Isaac, community manager for Northern Rail East area, said: “One of the first challenges for people with dementia is that they loose their driving licence so we want to make access to our network as easy as possible.

“We’ve gone through an awareness-raising programme with our staff to make them aware of this hidden disability, so we want to let people know that our staff are there to support them if they feel lost or confused.”

Gerald Townson, Chairman of Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnerships, Ken Barnes, of Knaresborough, who is living with Dementia, and Peter Wilkinson, from the Department for Transport.

“It’s about giving people living with dementia the confidence to ask staff for assistance, knowing they will help get them to where they want to go.”