The Avon Valley Railway offers a fun day out for visitors of all ages, and is particularly popular with young families, who love the friendly welcome and the opportunity to sit back and relax together as the world rolls by the window.
For many of these visitors it's the first time they've experienced a steam train (or perhaps travelled by train at all!) and the railway represents a very different world to the one they experience in their day-to-day lives.
We'd like to enhance those visitors' enjoyment by to helping them to understand the differences better, showing them what to look out for and why it's significant: the big engine that once pulled express trains and the small one that worked at the local chocolate factory; the compartments in this carriage or the luggage area in that one; why the locomotive changes ends when it reaches the last stop and why its driver has soot all over his face.
We'd also like to encourage visitors to get involved, whether by spreading the word about everything they've seen, donating money to a restoration project, or volunteering their time to help run our trains.
We plan to build this understanding of the past in an accessible way by employing present day technology:
* QR codes discreetly located on buildings, carriages and even engines, linking visitors directly to the history all around them via their smart phones, whether it's the compartment they're sitting in or the locomotive pulling the train.
* Information screens in our buffet carriages and booking hall, displaying news from the line and projects to become involved with, as well as pointing out what to look out for at the station and along the route.
* Improvements to our web pages, to ensure that they are up-to-date, informative and accessible, supporting the aspects of the project mentioned above for visitors to the railway as well as enhancing the experience of our online guests.