Colebrookdale Train Prices Cut on ‘Sensory-Friendly Sunday’
BOYERTOWN PA – People with neurodiverse conditions that include autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other sensory sensitivities are being offered an opportunity to ride on the Boyertown-based Colebrookdale Railroad at dramatically reduced prices on “Sensory-Friendly Sunday” (Sept. 11, 2022) at 1 p.m. from its station at 64 S. Washington St.
Tickets for the event have been selling well, and thanks to special sponsorship provided by Unending Promise, a Berks County non-profit agency, an additional 20 seats for the special excursion have been made available, the railroad reported Saturday (Sept. 10). It is providing Dining Class tickets at a price of $10, First-Class Lounge tickets for $15, and First-Class Luxury Parlor tickets for $45 each, all representing substantial reductions.
The sensory-friendly event will be less crowded, less sensory-stimulating, and less overwhelming for those who may have sensitivities to such things as sight, smell, touch, and sound. “We want every single person who is neurodiverse to know that they are welcome and have a place here, with us, aboard the Colebrookdale Railroad,” its Educational Program Director Michele Barrett, M. Ed., wrote.
A certified teacher, Barrett also is an “autism mom” who understands the experiences of “uncertainty, distress, and feeling forgotten” occasionally felt by families of and people with autism. During current economically challenging times, “these difficulties are amplified,” she acknowledged, and the “welfare of family members who provide home care to people with autism must also be considered.”
The railroad wants “to offer an opportunity for our friends to know that they are not forgotten, but instead that we are doing our best to ensure a safe, comfortable experience for them to enjoy an outing with their loved ones. We hope a few hours with us on the train helps them create new, positive memories during this challenging time,” Barrett stated.
Some tips for travelers
Colebrookdale Railroad wants caretakers to know what to expect before they arrive with their riders. It suggests you watch this video – https://youtu.be/CKOiGEL22ZQ – with your child or loved one with sensory sensitivities before this special event.
- The Quiet Car: Its first class lounge car is designated as “The Quiet Car” for those who wish to be away from sound and other activities while still enjoying the ride. The Quiet Car will also be a place for any on-board passenger to visit for a moment of calm if necessary. Neither music nor narration will be broadcast in this designated quiet area.
- Sound: If you or your loved one have sound sensitivities, please bring headphones to block-out sounds that may be overwhelming. That may include the train’s narration, which is broadcast in its deluxe coach, dining and garden cafe cars. Train crossing procedures will be modified to eliminate the horn.
- Touch: Complimentary coloring books and crayons will be provided to children. Bring your sensory toy, fidget, or book to read. The railroad will do its best to stagger boarding times to alleviate a person’s anxiety resulting from waiting in long lines. Those with weighted blankets or vests are encouraged to bring them.
- Smell: Artificial air fresheners will be turned off or removed from areas used during the event. Staff members will be asked to refrain from wearing perfume or cologne on the day of the event.
- Sight: Bring sunglasses or a hat if you have light sensitivities. These may be most useful when visiting the open-air car. Where possible, the railroad will dim lighting or cover intense lighting in the ceiling with fabric during the event.
- Taste: Items from an a la carte menu will be available for purchase while on the train. Because many have special dietary considerations, but anyone with food allergies or sensitivities will be allowed to bring their own drinks and snacks for this excursion.
Photos provided by the Colebrookdale Railroad