A railway preservation group in Keighley has taken on a new type of coach.
Debbie Cross will teach people about history, science and technology at Ingrow Railway Station.
She aims to educate a wide range of visitors – from tourists to school groups – using an historic locomotive as inspiration.
Debbie will be based in a converted railway carriage, where there will also be a ‘learning zone’ and a factual display.
The Learning Coach is being developed as part of a £776,000 project to restore the 79-year-old steam locomotive Bahamas.
The Bahamas Locomotive Society, which is a small museum at Ingrow, won the grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund 12 months ago.
Bahamas, the last steam engine to be used by British Rail, is currently being restored by volunteers and specialist engineers so it can again run on railway lines.
An important part of the grant application was to run several educational projects linked to the locomotive, and develop the society’s engine shed museum.
Debbie, 31, from Cowling, is employed by the society as a lottery-funded audience development co-ordinator to bring new people to both Ingrow Station and the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.
She said: “We want to move away from the stereotypes associated with heritage railways.
“We want to make ourselves accessible to schools, colleges, universities, adults, families, community groups and Third Age groups. I also want to focus on creating activities for residents and history groups.”
Debbie hopes the Learning Coach will have family-friendly interactive exhibits, a wall display about Ingrow Station and the Bahamas restoration, as well as a central ‘learning zone’.
She added: “Currently, we don’t offer any educational programmes at the railway, so I will be creating new workshops.”
The Bahamas Locomotive Society is looking for someone with woodworking skills to help with the restoration of the engine.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer your services.