All aboard the Sienna Express
All aboard the 'Sienna Express' to York so that a special 5 year old experience what it’s like to be a train driver for the day.
Sienna suffers from a very rare condition that requires constant treatment at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. Her condition is so rare that doctors haven’t met any other child with all the same symptoms and have begun calling it the ‘Sienna Syndrome’.
To help her relax and enjoy her time away from the hospital, Sienna and her mother Selina will take train trips across the countryside. It was these trips that helped develop Sienna’s love of trains. During a recent trip FTPE conductor Mark Kennedy met little Sienna and discovered her love of trains. “She pulled on my heart strings when I first met her,” he said. “It made me realise how much we take life and our health for granted sometimes. She told me she loved trains so I made a promise to her to have this special day.”
On Saturday Mark lived up to his promise and took Sienna and her mother Selina from Warrington to York on the ‘Sienna Express’ to visit the Siemens train maintenance depot. At the site she was invited to drive a train using a simulator. The simulator is used as part of driver training and allows people to have a first-hand experience of driving a train and using the controls. After her training Sienna was given a private tour of the depot, to see the trains during maintenance work. After the tour Sienna was taken back to the York train station, where she boarded the ‘Sienna Express’ back to Warrington. But the best was yet to come, with Sienna being invited into the drivers cab while the train was in motion. She was able to watch the driver use all the controls she had just experienced, while watching the countryside go past through the front windscreen. Sienna was also presented with her own ticket for the Sienna Express and a FTPE character, kindly donated by advertising and marketing agency TBWA.
Selina King, Sienna’s mother said it was a wonderful day. “I’m sure she won’t be forgetting today any time soon. She really loves trains and can enjoy her time away from the hospital by taking train trips across the North. I think she did a great job for her first attempt at train driving, but I think she needs a bit more practise before I’d let her behind the controls.”