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School rides the rails for World Book Day

The Avenue Primary School celebrated World Book Day with the National Literacy Trust and Grand Central Rail, after winning a writing competition for local schools.

The winning class travelled from Eaglescliffe Station to the historic National Rail Museum in York on a World Book Day themed train journey. The Grand Central Rail carriage was transformed into a hive of literacy activity, themed around the popular children’s book Where’s Wally?.

The pupils and their teachers all dressed as the character Wally, with a storyteller and musician on board to entertain the pupils on their journey. As 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the Where’s Wally? books, every pupil were given a free Where’s Wally? book to take home.

At the National Rail Museum, the pupils had the chance to explore and meet local author Chris Madeley, who wrote the Cones on the Rails series. Chris spoke about her writing and took part in an activity with the children to teach them about train safety.

For the competition, which is part of the Middlesbrough Reading Campaign, primary school students in the town were asked to write a poem or short story on the topic of journeys. The top three entries from each class were entered into the competition, with National Literacy Trust judges choosing the overall winner.

Allison Potter, Manager of the National Literacy Trust Hub in Middlesbrough, said: 
“We had some absolutely fantastic entries to this competition, with Middlesbrough pupils showing off a range of impressive creative writing skills. We’re so grateful to Grand Central for giving The Avenue Primary School this opportunity to celebrate World Book Day in such a unique way. We know that taking reading outside the classroom can be a great way to inspire more children to pick up a book at home and enjoy reading.”

Richard McClean, Managing Director at Grand Central Rail said: “World Book Day is a fantastic celebration of literacy and we look forward to welcoming our young travellers on board. At Grand Central Rail, we pride ourselves on the close links we have with the communities along our routes and we are delighted to be able to support the National Literacy Trust and spread the joy of reading to children in Middlesbrough.

“Literacy is so important for children’s development and we like to think we are doing our bit to inspire the next generation to not only read more books but to also learn about rail safety. It is fantastic to be able to celebrate World Book Day with Chris Madeley as the Cones on the Rails series entertains children whilst provides them with the opportunity to learn about on-board and on-track rail safety.“

To find out more about the work of the National Literacy Trust in Middlesbrough, visit


Notes to Editors

1. Grand Central Railway Company Limited operates West Riding services between Bradford Interchange, Halifax, Brighouse, Mirfield, Wakefield Kirkgate, Pontefract Monkhill, Doncaster and London King’s Cross.

2. Grand Central Railway Company Limited also operates North East services between Sunderland, Hartlepool, Eaglescliffe, Northallerton, Thirsk, York and London Kings Cross.

3. Grand Central topped the Autumn 2016 National Rail Passenger Survey with a satisfaction score of 91%. Grand Central was also revealed as Britain’s highest-rated long distance operator in the UK in the 2017 Which? Magazine Train Satisfaction Survey with 72% passenger satisfaction score.

4. For further information on Grand Central, and to buy tickets with no booking fee, visit