Symbol spotting exercise launched at Milton Keynes train stations to keep families entertained

This scheme has returned to educate and entertain youngsters.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 5:27 pm

Families travelling across Milton Keynes on the train this weekend can 'symbol spot', as London Northwestern Railway (LNR) relaunches its collection game.

From tomorrow (June 5), families can collect activity packs, filled with a map, a booklet and stickers. The scheme is aimed at children aged five and over.

The symbols range from letters, numbers, shapes, map symbols, signs and rail safety items. Children need to find one symbol spot disc at each stop on the Marston Vale line. Rubbings can be taken of each disc within the booklet. Once each rubbing has been correctly filled in a special completion coin can be collected at Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre.

Symbol spotting

Packs can be collected from Milton Keynes Central, Bedford, Bletchley or Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre, participants must show a children's rail ticket. The activity is designed to encourage children to discover more about map reading and the train timetable. As well as offering a valuable distraction to young, potentially restless travellers.

Participants can start from whichever station they choose on the line, which runs from Bedford to Bletchley.

Organisers haven't announced a closing date for the competition, so all symbols don't have to be collected on one journey, the scheme is expected to run across the summer holidays.

Vicky Cropper–Clarke, head of stakeholder and community a tLNR said: “With life and travel slowly returning back to normal, we know that parents will be looking for all sorts of enjoyable ways to keep their children entertained – in particular during the summer break.

One of the symbols children must etch

"The symbol spot activity is not only a chance to explore the great outdoors together, but it’s also very educational and will give children a chance to learn new life-long skills, whilst still having fun!”

In between lockdowns symbol spotting was activated on the train line during half-term in October.

Stephen Sleight, partnership officer for Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership (CRP), comments: “It’s fantastic to be able to relaunch our symbol spot project which was able to offer so much to families along the LNR Marston Vale Line when it launched last year. It’s been a real pleasure to work with Alice at Mini Map-Makers and the LNR team - and I’m thrilled that we are able to bring symbol spot back to the Marston Vale route for more young explorers to enjoy.”

LNR organised the family activity with the help of Mini Map-Makers and (CRP). Alice Gadney, director of Mini Map-Makers, comments: “The symbol spot was a lovely project to create with LNR last year. We’re very excited to relaunch it again in time for the summer break and help families understand the heritage and local history – whilst having lots of fun along the way.”

Teaming up to complete the etching