Avanti West Coast makes young rail enthusiast’s day

Avanti West Coast has helped a youngster’s dreams come true with VIP tour of Stafford station for an afternoon of trainspotting heaven.

Dillon Jones, 12, has his heart set on a career on the railway and was invited to join the Avanti West Coast team where he got the chance to try his hand at a number of duties including making his own station announcements.

Dillon, who has autism, is a passionate train enthusiast and a regular at Stafford station. On a recent visit, his first since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was presented with his own Avanti West Coast pin badge.  

After his mother, Jo, posted a message of thanks on a local Facebook Group, the pair were invited back by the team for a behind the scenes visit.

She said: “Dillon was made up to get his pin badge. He wanted to show it to everyone and tell them he worked for Avanti West Coast.

“He loves his trains. They play a big part in his life and how he copes with his autism.  The team at the station were so kind, patient and understanding. To get invited back was the icing on the cake. It has really boosted his confidence and his dreams now seem more realistic. Thank you for making my little man’s week.”

Mark Sefton, Customer Service Team Leader for Avanti West Coast at Stafford, said: “It was great to be able to invite Dillon along to the station for some hands-on, real-life experience.

“He did a great job and we hope it’s whetted his appetite for a possible career on the railways. At a time when the world is having to deal with so much, it was great to see that passion and his wonderful smile.”

As part of the afternoon, Dillon was presented with some Avanti West Coast gifts as well as a 12-month subscription to Railcam, the website that allows users to access real time footage of trains throughout the UK.

Simon Deane, Railcam News and Features Editor said: “Railcam is delighted to join with Avanti West Coast in providing Dillon with a memorable day. The COVID-19 pandemic had caused many traditional rail enthusiasts to furlough their hobby. Railcam has provided a virtual world of spotting from home. With over 100 camera streams available we think Dillon may be spoilt for choice.”

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