To help passengers travelling with TransPennine Express (TPE) who have autism or learning disabilities, or suffer from social anxieties, the company has launched a new initiative to help them build travel confidence.

Under the title of “Social Stories”, it shows everyday situations through the use of narrative descriptions and graphics.

They have been designed to help individuals better understand social cues, anticipate events that may occur during their journeys, and become confident when faced with unfamiliar situations.

TransPennine Express launches its Social Stories. // Credit: TransPennine Express
Social Stories on TransPennine Express. // Credit: TransPennine Express

The situations depicted in Social Stories were developed from training methods delivered by the North West Autism & SEND Consultancy.

These have been specifically adapted for the specialised needs of neurodiverse individuals and those with social anxieties when travelling by train.

Earlier this year, TPE announced the official launch of its ‘Neurodiversity Network Group’ as part of the trailblazing TPE Week of Inclusion.

Accessible travel on TransPennine Express. // Credit: TransPennine Express
Accessible travel on TransPennine Express. // Credit: TransPennine Express

More information about how TransPennine Express is committed to accessible travel can be found by clicking here.

The National Railway Museum recently had an exhibition that explored rail travel from the perspectives of people who have lived with the experience of deafness, disability and neurodivergence.

The museum is currently hosting another exhibition that includes a digital display of Aubin, which is a passenger assistance app designed to help neurodiverse passengers with travel by train, including journey information, accessible station details and communication tools .

TPE's customer information screens
TransPennine Express multi-lingual customer information screens. // Credit: TransPennine Express

We’re really pleased to be one of the first train operators to introduce Social Stories as a part of our ongoing commitment to making rail travel more inclusive.

We recognise that traveling by train can be overwhelming for many people, and we want all of our customers to feel confident and safe when travelling with us.

That’s why we’ve launched our Social Stories, which help take away as many surprises when travelling as possible and allow customers to have an idea of what to expect from the comfort of their own homes.

Amy French, Accessibility Co-Ordinator at TransPennine Express

This is an ongoing project, and we will continue to produce Social Stories of different scenarios and topics, taking on board feedback from customers and our Neurodiversity Network Group.

Chris Jeffery, Accessibility and Transport Integration Manager at TransPennine Express

The introduction of our Neurodiversity Network Group and Social Stories is just the beginning of the many steps we will take to ensure all colleagues and customers who fall under the neurodiversity umbrella feel welcome and supported onboard our trains, in our stations, and at work.

Harriet Harbidge, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at TransPennine Express

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