Young train fanatic Ewan Kaczanow enjoyed a birthday surprise to savour with a VIP tour of Exeter St Davids station.
Train operator Great Western Railway treated Ewan to a ride on one of its Intercity Express Trains, showed him inside a train driver’s cab and took him into the station signal box to mark his 11th birthday.
Ewan Kaczanow dispatches a train from Exeter St Davids under the supervision of station colleagues
The South Tawton Primary School, Devon, pupil is a huge fan of GWR’s new bullet-style trains and has even built a level crossing in the back garden of his North Tawton home.
The VIP tour was made possible following an appeal by mum Teresa Pearse, who said she was forever taking Ewan to nearby viewing points so he could watch IETs passing through.
She said:“Ewan is totally obsessed with trains and I can’t thank GWR enough for giving him such a memorable day. This really has been his best birthday ever.”
Thumbs up: Ewan in the driver’s cab of an Intercity Express Train
Ewan, who was joined by his mum, dad Ian and school pal Eve, was given a special tour of the station by guard manager Ashley Richards and helped to dispatch a train.
Ewan said: “I’ve had a brilliant day. The Intercity Express Trains go so fast and I can’t believe I got to see inside the driver’s cab. I’ll never forget it.”
Birthday treat: Ewan with his school pal Eve
GWR customer ambassador Tracey Morgan welcomed Ewan to the station and helped set up his VIP tour.
Tracey said: “It’s wonderful to meet someone with so much enthusiasm for trains. I’m glad we were able to make it such a special birthday for him.”
Ready to go: Ewan dispatches a train with assistance from GWR’s Brendon Phillips
Dr Paul Clark, director of health, safety and environment for Network Rail (Wales and Western), said it was great that Ewan had such interest in the railway.
He said: “With more than 6,500 level crossings around the country, awareness of level-crossing safety is vitally important, especially for those around Ewan’s age.
“Studies show that younger people respond well to information passed on to them by their peers, so Ewan’s knowledge and enthusiasm are fantastic for spreading the message about safe use of level crossings to school-age children.”
Pictures: Simon Galloway
Notes to editors
Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.
We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR.com. GWR is a FirstGroup company.