PRAISE has been given to Hexham rail staff for helping a young girl's first time on a train a good experience.

Emma Clark, 11, who is on the pathway for autism, and her grandmother Maureen Clark, from Acomb, had planned a trip to the Metro Centre to do some shopping, when they met unexpected delays at lunchtime on Monday.

Mum Jo Clark said: "We'd planned a day out to visit the Metro Centre so we'd printed off the timetable and my Mum was very anxious. We're not used to getting public transport and I was at home with my other daughter.

"Then they announced the train was delayed and Mum started getting anxious. Then Emma suggested going to the ticket office to see the nice lady. Mum explained to the office staff that it was Emma's first time on a train, and then the lady gave Emma a book and she loved it, she read it all the way there and all the way back, and at bedtime."

Jo said the lady was 'very professional', and posted on Facebook to praise the staff at the station.

"Mum was singing the praises of the lady at the station which you can see from the Facebook post, she appreciated it so much," Jo said.

The book was Arlo's Adventures There and Back, written and illustrated by Bessie Matthews.

A pick-a-path railway safety book, it educates children on the dangers of railways, rail safety and what a train journey experience is like for children.

"Emma thoroughly enjoyed it and she has a better understanding of the dangers. It was an absolutely fantastic idea, and it kept Emma occupied all day, she had a big massive adventure," said Jo.

"The staff were fantastic, very calm, reassuring and informative."

The pair then got the next train, which got them to the Metro Centre before the arrival time of the original train.

"The staff told them there was a new train on its way and then they got on with their day and thoroughly enjoyed it," Jo said.

Jo said rail staff get 'such flack' with the negativity surrounding rail strikes, but the staff were 'really helpful and confident' helping Emma and Maureen.

Kerry Peters, Regional Director at Northern said: "I would like to say a huge well done to Deb and the team for going the extra mile for our customers.

"At Northern, we are proud to be a part of the communities we serve and aim to make a positive impact for the North."

Emma and Maureen had been planning the trip for six years, Jo said, and they went shopping in Smiggle and Primark for her sister Ruby's birthday.