RAIL operator Northern has helped hundreds of people with autism access its network – including the Airedale line – during the past year.

The company offers free travel to users of the West Yorkshire charity Specialist Autism Services.

And in 2023 its members have taken part in group outings to Skipton and Saltaire as well as individual trips for shopping, exercise and social events.

Lucy Struthers, for Specialist Autism Services, says: "Over the time we have worked with Northern, the partnership has enabled our members to take part in hundreds of journeys and it has made a big difference for them.

"Autistic individuals can struggle with social interaction and processing information, and have sensory difficulties and high levels of anxiety.

"However, using public transport is the thing which – if positive – can be instrumental in empowering individuals to develop social and sensory tolerance, increase opportunities, widen experiences and build valuable independence skills."

Kerry Peters, regional director for Northern, says: "The communities we serve are at the heart of everything we do, and we're delighted to be able champion Specialist Autism Services and highlight its fantastic work.

"We want to make our trains and wider network as accessible as possible."