Train2Train & the DLR Trust join forces!

Bluebell Railway 9Fs

Peter Dickson

We see the Downs Light Railway as central to engaging young people locally and nationally via hands on training events and skills development.

Train2Train would like to bring all these parties together at the Downs Light Railway to share best practice by demonstrating the wonderful value you offer in delivering hands on
opportunities for young railway engineers.
Learn More about Train2Train
The future of steam: Faye Moore (aged 22) | Firewoman and Model Engineer

We are delighted to announce a working collaboration with Train2Train to further youth engagement in practical learning and involvement in the railways industries. Train2Train has also endorsed our Centenary Development Programme.

Letters of Support


Peter Dickson has long desired to create a blueprint for young railway engineering academies within Heritage Railway sites. Through his own research, work on miniature and heritage railways, and an extensive engineering career, he understands the growing need to encourage young people to learn practical skills and to find fulfilling careers.

It is evident that the Downs Light Railway Trust and Train2Train share common goals and can complement each other with different offerings. We look forward to working with Train2Train for mutual benefit. Together we can offer a unified approach to engaging young people into heritage railways and the wider industries of the UK, helping alleviate the growing skills gaps.

The Downs Light Railway Trust has been an unsung example of how organisations can successfully offer proper practical teaching mediums alongside mainstream education. Unfortunately, teaching facilities like the Downs Light Railway are rare. Many practically minded children struggle with conventional academics, yet they thrive from vocational teaching. The education system's failure to diversify its offering is now contributing to the growing skills crisis that is facing many industries. This is also affecting heritage railways and indeed the future viability of the model engineering hobby.

Locomotive driver Jack Johnson (aged 25) shows primary school children the footplate of the famous Flying Scotsman, providing the inspiration and promoting the opportunies that exist.
Peter's early engagement with primary school children illustrated their undivided enthusiasm.
Peter's involvement in model engineering has proved its power with inspiring young children.

Peter Dickson became acquainted with Timothy Pennock of the Downs Light Railway Trust in 2020. It soon became evident that the Downs Light Railway's work alongside preparatory education and its more recent work with the Heritage Railway Association highlighted many parallels and synergy with Train2Train. In 2021, Peter joined the Downs Light Railway Trust's existing youth engagement initiative with the Heritage Railway Association. Peter has subsequently introducing several railways, model engineering societies, miniature railways, educational trusts, and private sector outreach programmes from Train2Train's existing collaboration.

The national youth engagement initiative is organised by the Downs Light Railway. It meets virtually every third Wednesday of the month at 7pm. It currently has representation from:

  • Downs Light Railway Trust
  • Heritage Railway Association
  • Train2Train
  • Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
  • North Yorkshire Moors Railways
  • Bluebell Railway
  • Nene Valley Railway
  • Kent & East Sussex Railway
  • North Norfolk Railway
  • North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group
  • Chris Vine of Peter's Railway
  • Herefordshire Society of Model Engineers
  • Wansford Miniature Railway
  • Boiler Engineering Skills & Training Trust
  • Young Rail Professionals
If you represent a business, charity, or heritage railway and would like to join our youth engagement initiative, please contact us to get involved.

Editor Notes

  1. Peter Dickson formed Train2Train from his own research and subsequent work with heritage and miniature railways.
  2. Train2Train is a collaboration of organisations with a common aim to promote volunteering and career opportunities for future young railway engineers and operators.
  3. Peter Dickson joined the Downs Light Railway Trust’s youth engagement initiative at the start of 2021 and has introduced a substantial number of key players since.
  4. The Downs Light Railway Trust is a charitable trust, registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Registration number is 513882.
  5. The Downs Light Railway Trust's Centenary Development Programme aims to increase youth engagement in heritage railways, provide greater practical learning opportunities and strengthened community involvement. The programme hopes to realise these aims from 2025 when the Downs Light Railway is 100 years old.
  6. The Downs Light Railway was started by The Downs School (Colwall), now The Downs Malvern, in the early 1920s and was formally established in 1925. At over 96 years old, it stands to be the oldest private miniature railway worldwide.
  7. The Downs Light Railway educates on average 15 children on each session. These children are aged between 7 and 18 years old. Dedicated sessions are provided to local educational establishments. General youth activities are open to all children.

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