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Activities & Education Resources
Here are links to some useful information, education resources and other volunteering initiatives made available by other organisations which may be of interest or of use to support your volunteering activity. These interactive packs will help to give you an introduction to the rail sector and an overview of the types of roles people do.
Network Rail Safety Education Resources
Suitable for Primary and Secondary
Network Rail have worked closely with teachers and students to develop resources that will help you to run fun, interactive activities that match different curriculum areas and deliver Ofsted requirements of PSHE teaching.
Source/credit: Network Rail Safety Education
Carrying More by Freight
Suitable for KS3
Carrying more freight by rail could help reduce road congestion and lower the carbon emissions caused by road freight transport, but rail freight services must be integrated into existing passenger timetables. In this challenge students complete a passenger timetable for a short section of railway network before calculating the travel time for a freight service to travel through each station on the network. Students then analyse possible starting times for freight services to identify which freight journeys might be possible.
Source/credit: Anna Fraszczyk, Newrail
New Tram in Derby
This activity is designed with the idea to promote critical thinking, basics of design, engineering and innovation. Derby City Council has plans to improve and develop its city public transport system in line with Midlands Engine for Growth strategy. Derby City Council has requested a scoping study of a new inner city guided tramway which would have the aim of alleviating overcrowding on the city’s road systems. They would like the system to run on existing road ways and to popular city locations, a selection of which are shown on the city tourist map. Derby City Council contracted a team of designers, engineers, transport planners and land surveyors, led by a project manager to deliver this project.
Source/credit: May-Ann Lew, SNC-Lavalin Rail & Transit
TfLs Railway Bridge is a hands on and fun activity to do, providing an introduction and some insight into areas of the railway industry. It is designed with the idea to promote critical thinking, basics of design, engineering and innovation. The task is to design and build a small scale bridge that is capable of supporting the weight of a “train carriage” of varying load.
Build a Railway
The activity sets out a task for students to design and build their own railway across the classroom/space provided capable of transporting “passengers” or “good” from point to point. This activity can be adapted to provide different levels of insight into railways from the components that make up the railway such as rails, sleepers, and gauge to design, project planning and most importantly, team work.
Source/credit: Paul Taylor, Hitachi Rail Europe
Global Transport: Engineering a vacuum tube train
A costly, and sometimes very long, aeroplane journey is currently your only option if you intend to travel a long distance. However, what about in the future? One method that has been proposed is the vacuum tube train. This may be able to reach speeds of 4,000 mph, but is it a realistic option?In this activity students design a model vacuum tube train. They have to decide on how to get a ball to travel through a tube as quickly as possible without the help of gravity. They then look at the forces that would act on a real vacuum tube train.
HS2 Route Options Project (Zoom Rail)
Age groups: KS4-KS5
Suggested curriculum links: geography, government and politics; engineering; environmental studies; maths; English.
Take on a role in the Zoom Rail project team! Students evaluate four possible routes for a new railway. With no perfect answer, they must weigh up pros and cons, balancing community, economic and environmental factors, and make a case for their choice.
HS2 Balloon Train (Zoom Rail)
Age groups: KS2-KS4
Using a template, students cut out a train and its wheels and then create its powertrain – using a balloon! This simple, engaging, hands-on activity encourages creativity and teamwork as students compete to build the fastest train.
Further materials required: balloons, straws, 3mm dowelling (wooden barbecue skewers work well), sticky tape, elastic bands or loom bands.
Peter’s Railway Books and School Resource
Author and chartered engineer Christopher Vine loves railways and anything mechanical or electrical. He’s created a series of children’s books and classroom resources to introduce and inspire young people to the world of engineering and rail. Explore
Peter’s Railway for hours of fun and learning!
Mini Professors’ Rail Lesson Plan
A specially written lesson brought to you by Mini Professors and Network Rail, bring your mini engineer along to find all about the railway, bridges and tunnels! At Mini Professors we are passionate about science and we aim to inspire a generation.
Our theme tune’s opening line is ‘Science is all around us’ and this reflects the ethos of our lessons. Visit us at