Good News Friday: Your weekly roundup of positive rail news!

Posted: 19 April 2024 | | No comments yet

In this week’s installment of ‘Good News Friday’, UK operator Northern takes centre stage. Read about their new art schemes and bug hotels!

good news friday

“Railway stations are a great ‘platform’ for my work”, says artist on a mission to inspire region’s neurodivergent residents


northern art

An autistic artist from Middleton in Rochdale, Greater Manchester has spoken out about the role that railway stations have played in his mission to inspire the region’s neurodivergent residents.

Dez, who also goes by the name LoveArtPix, is an artist and campaigner whose work can be found at transport hubs across the North West.

Speaking as part of an event to mark Autism Awareness Month (1-30 April), Dez said: “Railway stations are a great ‘platform’ for my work.

“Not everyone will find themselves in an art gallery or exhibition hall, but millions of people pass through train stations every year as they go about their daily lives – and it is in these everyday moments that, I believe, you can really inspire someone.”

In June 2020, his first artwork at a railway station was unveiled at Manchester Oxford Road and just under a year later his work appeared at Manchester Victoria as part of a series of events to mark the fourth anniversary of the Manchester Arena attack.

And it is at Manchester Victoria where two of his biggest pieces of art can be found, with a huge mural of the Manchester skyline and a tribute to the station itself found on the passenger footbridge that links many of the platforms.

Other stations on the Northern network that have inspired artwork by Dez include Blackpool North in Lancashire and Grange-over-Sands in Cumbria.

Dez added: “I find creating artwork a great way to focus and my message is always one of positivity – to encourage people to keep going, stay focussed, don’t be deterred and never stop asking questions!”

For his work and contribution to the local community, Dez won an Autism Hero Award in 2023 and has recently been nominated for the Positive Role Model for Disability Award in the National Diversity Awards 2024.

For more information about the National Diversity Awards and to vote for Dez to win in his category, please click here.

Craig Harrop, regional director for Northern, said: “Dez is an incredible guy and a real inspiration.

“Over several years now, we’ve been able to develop our partnership with him and showcase his work as well as the meaning behind it to millions of customers passing through our stations.

“His is an important message and we’re happy to support it.”

For more information about Dez and his work, visit:  

‘Bug hotels’ coming to three Northern railway stations on the Bentham Line to support biodiversity

bug hotel

Northern is set to open ‘bug hotels’ at three stations on the Bentham Line between Leeds and Morecambe as part of a project with local schools to support biodiversity.

Undergraduates working for the train operator as part of their ‘Year in Industry’ will lead the sessions with local schools, which are designed to educate schoolchildren on biodiversity and the importance of caring for local habitats.

The workshops, which are being delivered in partnership with Bentham Community Rail Partnership, will take place at schools in Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

The ‘bug hotels’ will be created from old wooden pallets and when complete will contain a variety of repurposed materials including twigs, bamboo canes and corrugated carboard.

Mike Roe, safety and environment director at Northern, said: “We’re committed to making a positive contribution to the environmental sustainability of the areas in which we operate.

“Bug hotels are a small but practical solution to increase biodiversity at our stations and I’m excited to see the end result of the hard work by our ‘Year in Industry’ colleagues and the students at the schools along the Bentham Line.”

Workshops are set to take place before the end of the summer term and stations will be selected based on their proximity to participating schools.

Gerald Townson, chairman of the Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership, said; “As the railway looks to improve station and lineside environments, we are delighted that the ‘Year in Industry’ students this year have chosen a biodiversity theme for their community project.

“They are keen to work with primary school pupils in Giggleswick, Long Preston and Keighley to raise awareness of the Bentham Line’s ecology and engage the pupils in the creation of insect habitats and pollinator patches at the schools and stations.”

Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK, with 2,500 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.

Related organisations