swalerail logo

Sheppey College Project

Sheppey College Logo

Project Introduction

In September 2018, Kent CRP and Sheppey College met to discussed a variety of ways in which they could work together to provide opportunities for the students to become involved in a number of Community Projects that would provide them with valuable life skills and work experience as well as helping improve all five stations along the Swale Rail Line. Subsequently, 3 projects were set up working with different groups of students to support their course work. This involved working with IT, Business and Construction students.

During the month of October, Kent CRP carried out 6 presentations to 209 students and tutors from the college. This introduced a number of ideas which the students could become involved in. This also included a briefing on how to stay safe around the stations in preparation for the forthcoming station visits.

Travel Training and Station Visits

During a week in November 2018, groups of students have been taken on the train to visit each of the stations on the Swale Rail Line. Students were made aware of the British Transport Police number 61016, how to report concerns and were to find helpful information. Students were tasked with looking at each station and identifying improvements that they could make to encourage passengers to use the Swale Rail Line.


During November 2023 we took a group of thirteen students from Sheppey College to the Travel Safe Travel Smart centre in Margate.

Travel training began as soon as we reached the station with a reminder to keep behind the yellow line until the train has arrived and stopped and to let passengers off of the train first. We also provided coaching in the use of the departure boards to check you are on the right platform and know the departure time of your train.

Therese explained the inspiring project work Sheppey College students have helped us with at all of the stations along the line to Sittingbourne. As station adopters they have created information panels, built planters, seating and a model of the Kingsferry bridge, planted flowers, and undertaken work experience opportunities, contributing to our communities while growing their own skills and confidence.

Once at the centre Nicola Dooris and Catherine Lamb led sessions designed to raise awareness of the dangers of tresspassing, facilities available to make your journey easier and how to get help from railway staff and British Transport Police.

Hard hitting videos from the You vs Train educational resources reinforced the messages to keep off the tracks and stay behind the yellow line as being key to staying safe from the dangers of moving trains and the electricity that powers them. 

Students were also reminded of the need to have a valid ticket for their journey, to use departure boards and platform matrix displays to check train times and platforms, to look for railway staff and help points if they need assistance and how to get help from the British Transport Police through the 61016 service or Railway Guardian app if they ever feel at risk when travelling by train.

The Travel Safe Travel Smart team gave away a few freebies and we made sure everyone received a  61016 card.

On the journey back students were asked if they felt scared about using the railway. Everybody said that they now knew how to use the railway safely, the dangers of tresspass and how to get help and assistance should they need it.

Our thanks go to Network Rail and Southeastern for their help organising the trip, and to the tutors and students of Sheppey College for participating in the learning.

National Community Rail Award 2020

Due to the impact of the project for the students, in September 2019, Landscaping and Travel and Tourism Students were introduced to the project as well and visited the stations to come up with ideas for further station improvements.

The project was recognised in the Community Rail Awards 2020 and achieved First Place in the Involving Children and Young People Category.  In 2021, all departments at Sheppey College will now engage in the project during their Community Weeks.

CRN award 2020

IT Project 2019/20

The IT students identified that one of the main problems they noticed at the stations was the lack of information available regarding what there was to do nearby or places to visit. As a result the students decided that they would create a promotional video of the area and a website that would provide this information. Click SwaleRail to visit the website or on the image.This information is accessible to passengers who can scan the QR code on the information poster and then visit the website.

Poster titled "Sheerness-On-Sea" detailing local sights, attractions and history
Queenborough Poster
swale poster
Kemsley Poster
Sittingbourne poster

The students have also produced a  fantastic video to help promote tourism to the area and places that people can visit if they are stopping at any of our local stations.

Level 1 IT Students wanted to create some Art work to help develop their photo editing skills. They decided to take photos of the trains at the local station and using photo editing techniques create some fantastic Pop-Art.

Business Project

The Business students wanted to find out much more about what the passengers who used the Swale Rail Line thought about each of the stations. They designed their own survey to collate data which could be used to help plan future developments at the stations. This was fed back to Kent CRP and Southeastern.

Students also designed a range of  raising awareness posters to inform the passengers about key issues. These included the themes of Equality, Mental Health, Addiction and Train Etiquette

Construction Projects

In July 2019, the construction students used their carpentry skills to create bird nesting boxes for Queenborough Station.

In October 2019 based on the feedback from the passenger surveys carried out by the Business students, the Level 2 and Level 3 students created two benches and planters made from sleepers and positioned these on Platform 2 at Queenborough Station.

Bird Boxes 2019
Queenborough bench 2019
Queenborough bench 2019
Queenborough bench

During 2020/21, while everyone was in lockdown, Sheppey College planned and prepared planter for Sittingbourne Station. As soon as the restrictions were lifted the planters were installed and then planted up by the landscaping team in May 2021.

Planter Sittingbourne Station 2021
Sheppey College Planter at Sittingbourne Station
Planter at Sittingbourne Station with Sheppey College Students

In March 2022, the construction and landscaping departments were able to undertake the Kemsley Project, which had been planned to take place back in March 2020, just before lockdown. The five stations along the Swale Rail Line  are represented by different coloured plants.  Sheerness blue, Queenborough yellow, Kemsley red and Sittingbourne white. Swale Halt is depicted by a large model of the Kingsferry Bridge.

Station Adoption
Planting in progress in the verge alongside a station platform.
A planted verge alongside a station platform.

Landscaping and Multi-Trade Project

The landscaping and multi-trade students identified a number of potential sites where there were overgrown areas or places were landscaping projects could take place. The front of Queenborough Station was identified as an area that needed a face lift so in July 2019,  and the multi-trade students put their skills to the test to help plant up wellies and create flower beds to add a splash of colour to the station.

In October 2019, the landscapers worked with the Minster on Sea Rotary Club to plant 2000 purple crocus bulbs in a roundel at to help raise awareness of the eradication of the Polio virus. By the end of February 2020 the crocuses had bloomed and brightened up the mound at the entrance to Queenborough station.

Crocus Planting Queenborough
A display of crocuses on a lawned area in front of Queenborough station
Welly Garden Queenborough
Queenborough Planting

Health and Social Care

The Health and Social Care department were interested in finding out more about accessibility at stations. In April 2021, they interviewed Ruth from the Southeastern Ticket Office at Sheerness to find out about ways to save money when travelling by train and the availability of travel cards and group savings. Members of the public were also interviewed about their opinions on train travel. This was filmed and made into a video, with the support of Phoebe (a student) from the IT department.

Work Experience and Portfolios

One of the main aims of this project is to provide students with the opportunity to showcase their work at and around stations rather than just being completed as part of their course work.

Linking the college work in with the Swale Rail Project allows students to create their work with their community in mind and everything they do will have an impact on their community. This will also help them build up a portfolio of their work that they can use when looking for future employment.

The project has also led to some students carrying out various work experience tasks and placements and providing them with opportunities to develop their skills further and gaining valuable work experience. This took place at Sittingbourne Station.

Station Adoption

At our Stakeholders Meeting in November 2019. Students from Sheppey College showcased the wonderful work they have been doing at our stations. They were also officially present with their station adoption certificates from Southeastern for all five stations on the SwaleRail Line.

Their achievements have also been recognised locally when they were presented with the Kent Under 18s Volunteer Team of the Year Award.

station adoption