View Full Version : Unaccompanied children on trains
What age do you think kids could travel safely on the train unaccompanied? I've emailed scotrail but no reply yet.
We're trying to come up with a better arrangement for dh's kids coming up to stay. At the moment the inlaws take them half way and I drive down to meet them but now sdd1 has started high school and ds2 is at nursery we have a problem. Neither of them are finished until 3.30pm.
This means for me the journey which used to take 2 hours will be nearer 3 having battled through Aberdeen traffic and it'll be a similar situation for them coming up through Dundee. It'll also mean that I get in the car at 2.30pm to go for DS1 and finally stop driving when we get home between 8 and 9pm.
The kids are 12, 9 and 7. I'd trust the 7 year old more than any of them :lol:
i used to ork for a rail company on board and personally would have no problem with 3 that age travelling alone.
What I would do is speak to the station staff and ask them to inform the on train staff about your 3 travelling on thir train alone, so they can keep an eye on them.
What we used to do was seat them as close to the buffet car as poss so we could quickly nip and see they were ok. Or if it wasn't busy I'd seat them in first class so I could easily check on them.
Station staff can then also inform the destination station so they can be met at the other end.
Sorry no way My ds2 is 13 and I wont let him go on the train on his own. I think ds1 was 14 before I let him go on his own. The 12 year isnt old enough to be responsible for the other two
I think its worth a call to Scotrail to discuss. There may be protocols etc for children travelling alone. Under 12's can fly unaccompanied on planes with a designated escort of the airline.
We've only just started letting our 14 year old son travel on trains by himself. When I say by himself, I mean he's usually with a friend. I think it depends on the maturity of the children tbh. But I agree with Moffgal, speak to the station staff and make sure the children are sat near to the buffet car. And make sure the eldest child has a mobile phone on them too.
I've emailed scotrail so i'll wait and see what they say. It probably won't happen until after new year now as its looking likely they'll be staying with us for an extended period (so no travelling up and down!)
Well many (including my friends!) children travel alone to and from school on trains every day, so 10+ I'd say would be absolutely fine. Not sure about the 12yr old having to be responsible for the other two though :meh: How long would the journey take?
I guess it would depend on how they would feel about it too.
Inlaws would like our 12 year olds to fly unaccompanied but the main reason it isnt happening is because they arent confident enough to go without adults with them.
It depends entirely on the children involved but I did it alone aged about 10/11 - so pre mobile phones - and survived.
If it's literally being put on a direct train and met at the other end, and you think they are responsible enough, then I'd give it a shot. Plenty of kids that age get trains and buses to school every day.
It's a direct train, get on in Dundee, off in Aberdeen, takes about 56 minutes.
We'll talk it through with his ex and his parents and may well do a trial run after xmas time once we've sorted out when they'll be staying here and the like.
Thanks for all the replies ladies.
Mine have done local trains from age 10 (year 6) alone. They have travelled together with older sibs from 9 and dd2 did an amazing accidental journey alone at just over 9!
( I took her 2 stops and got off, having called her 15yr old sis to check she would be getting that train and assumed she had got on. Waved dd2 off to find dd1 arriving on the platform(yikes!). The crucial difference between will you be getting train x and "are you on the platform NOW" being a problem!
Anyway dd2 hadn't a phone or anything but traveled the handful of stops and got off at the usual one. She then got the lady in the ticket office to call my mobile!)
so I think it would be fine BUT you need a couple of practice runs- sit in the next carrage and pretend you aren't there!
Also equip them with a phone and talk through the "what ifs" eg train breaks down, someone acts in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable etcp
my kids know to sit in a busy carriage, to move if they don't feel happy ( people who behave "oddly" eg drunk/ overfriendly etc). Above all they need to know it is ok to " pull the cord" if they feel really threatened. Also if disaster strikes to stick together and ask adults for help- mine have asked "what if the train crashes".
Have I scared you silly? Hope not. My kids cope best in new situations if we have practiced several time- I really do shadow in the next carriage/ make them get the tickets etc.
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