BOYERTOWN PA – People with neurodiverse conditions such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other sensory sensitivities are being offered the opportunity to ride the Boyertown-based Colebrookdale Railway at dramatically reduced prices on “Sensory Sunday” (September 11, 2022) at 1 p.m. from its station at 64 S. Washington St.
Tickets for the event sold well, and thanks to special sponsorship provided by Unending Promise, a Berks County nonprofit agency, an additional 20 seats for the special excursion have been made available, the path reported. Saturday, September 10. It offers Dining Room tickets for $10, First Class Lounge tickets for $15, and First Class Deluxe Lounge tickets for $45 each, all of which are substantial discounts.
Tickets can be purchased online, here.
The sensory event will be less crowded, less sensory challenging, and less overwhelming for those who may have sensitivities to things like sight, smell, touch, and sound. “We want every neurodiverse person to know that they are welcome and belong here with us on the Colebrookdale Railroad,” wrote its director of educational program, Michele Barrett, M.Ed.
A certified teacher, Barrett is also an “autistic mom” who understands the experiences of “uncertainty, distress and feelings of forgetfulness” sometimes felt by families and individuals with autism. In these difficult economic times, “those challenges are magnified,” she acknowledged, and “the well-being of family members providing in-home care for people with autism must also be considered.” .
The railway wants to “provide our friends with the opportunity to know that they are not forgotten, but rather that we are doing our best to provide them with a safe and comfortable experience so that they can enjoy an outing with their relatives. We hope a few hours with us on the train will help them create new positive memories during this difficult time,” Barrett said.
Some tips for travelers
Colebrookdale Railroad wants custodians to know what to expect before they arrive with their passengers. He offers you to watch this video – https://youtu.be/CKOiGEL22ZQ – with your child or loved one with sensory sensitivities before this special event.
- The silent car: Its first-class lounge car is referred to as “The Quiet Car” for those who wish to get away from sound and other activities while still enjoying the ride. The Quiet Car will also be a place that any passenger on board can visit for a quiet moment if needed. Neither music nor narration will play in this designated quiet zone.
- Sound: If you or your loved one have sound sensitivities, please bring headphones to block out sounds which can be overwhelming. This can include the narration of the train, which is broadcast through its luxury coach, dining cars and garden cafes. Crossing procedures will be changed to eliminate the horn.
- To touch: Free coloring books and crayons will be provided for children. Bring your sensory toy, your fidget or your book to read. The railway will do its best to stagger boarding times to ease a person’s anxiety resulting from waiting in long queues. Those with weighted blankets or vests are encouraged to bring them.
- Feel: 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.
- Seen: Bring sunglasses or a hat if you are sensitive to light. These can be more useful when visiting the car outdoors. Where possible, the railway will dim lighting or cover bright overhead lighting with fabric during the event.
- To taste: Items from an à la carte menu will be available for purchase on the train. Because many have special dietary considerations, but anyone with food allergies or sensitivities will be allowed to bring their own beverages and snacks on this tour.
Photos courtesy of the Colebrookdale Railroad