‘It was one of the best days of my life’: 15-year-old gets to be a train driver for the day

A teenager’s dream came true when he won a day-in-the-life experience as a train driver.

Charlie Avery, 15, from Herne Hill, became the first person to enjoy a train driver experience day with Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) after he won the prize in a charity auction. 

The money raised from the auction will help four-year-old Teddy Lichten, from West Sussex, access lifesaving cancer treatment.

Charlie Avery and Jim O’Donnell in the cab simulator (Picture: GTR)

Charlie said: “It was one of the best days of my life and was a great opportunity to go behind the scenes and see what it’s like to be a train driver.” 

First, Charlie took a seat inside the full cab simulator, driving through the Thameslink core, which runs from St Pancras to London Bridge. 

He said: “The cab simulator was fantastic, because it was so realistic, and the whole experience has definitely made me more determined to work in the railway.”

Charlie Avery getting the full train driver experience (Picture: GTR)

Then it was time for the real deal. GTR’s train simulator manager, Jim O’Donnell, took Charlie to Finsbury Park station where he got to ride in a real driver’s cab.

Mr O’Donnell said: “Once we stopped at St Pancras and I checked that everything was safe, I let Charlie press the automatic train operation button so he could say he had driven a train. 

“It was a really positive day showing Charlie and Pete our train simulator at Hornsey depot, especially as they were both very interested in the railway. 

“It was also really nice that we could help support the charity work for Teddy, because it’s important to give back to the community.”

To donate to Teddy’s cause and to find out more about the fundraising, click here.

Pictured top: Charlie Avery in the in the cab simulator (Picture: GTR)

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