Six Avanti West Coast colleagues complete 450km charity cycle across India

The team raised over £10,000 for the Railway Children, cycling 450km from Agra to Jaipur, through India’s famous Golden Triangle

A team from Avanti West Coast have swapped trains for bikes to raise over £10,000 for charity by completing a gruelling 450km ride across India.

Six Avanti West Coast staff cycled for six days from Agra to Jaipur in aid of the Railway Children Charity.

Taking on the challenge were Rob Taylor, Food and Beverage Lead; Natalie Popat, Birmingham International Station Manager; Jim Lindsey, Business Intelligence Manager; Ryan Evans, Planning Manager; and Katie Smith and Kathy Earl, both Train Managers. They joined eight other riders from the railway industry for the fundraiser.

The route, which was through India’s famous Golden Triangle, provided the team with breathtaking views, a unique experience to visit the towns and villages of Rajasthan, as well as the opportunity see first-hand how the Railway Children money is being used to support young children in the country.

They also visited one of the railway help centres – set up by the Railway Children – at three of busiest stations in the Indian capital New Delhi, where volunteers work in partnership with the local police to scout for vulnerable children running away from home on trains. They are then reunited with their parents or taken into care if their family can’t be found. The money raised by the Avanti West Coast group equals the amount needed to run one of these centres for four months.

Children at a school set up by the charity were also presented with pencils and colourings by the Ride India team.

Speaking after the ride, Rob Taylor said: “It was an incredible and humbling experience to be a part of. While cycling through the villages on the route, we were greeted by so many happy locals who waved and wanted pictures with us.

“Seeing first-hand the work that the Railway Children do, really brought home the importance of the money we have raised from our cycle challenge, which in itself was tough yet really enjoyable. I encourage others to get involved with future opportunities!”

Cat Howourth, Events Manager at Railway Children said: “I had the honour of supporting the Ride India challengers and I am in awe of their grit and determination to not only complete the challenge, but to raise as much for Railway Children as possible in doing so – all with the biggest smiles on their faces!

“They faced 32-degree heat, driving rain and thick fog, whist dodging camels, cycling round goats and stopping for cattle along the 450km route.  It costs around £28,000 to fund our entire project across Delhi Sarai Rohilla railway which is where we visited as part of the trip so this money makes a considerable difference to the work we do.”

The sponsorship pages for the riders are still open for donations:

Ryan Evans and Rob Taylor

Natalie Popat

Kathy Earl

Katie Smith…

Jim Lindsay…


About Railway Children

Railway Children has a vision of a world in which no child is lost to the streets. Across the UK, India and Tanzania, our experience and relationships across transport networks provide a unique opportunity for us to reach children who are alone and vulnerable before they come to serious harm.

Whether it’s supporting young people off the streets and into nurturing, family-based care, providing education through our Children’s Centres or helping a child find solutions to the problems they face, we’re there for every child for as long as it takes.

Through working with families, caregivers and other social services alongside dedicated, one-to-one support, we help young people build a brighter, sustainable future.

But we know we can’t achieve real, long-lasting change on our own. So, we work with key partners including agencies, rail partners, local government and the public to raise awareness of the underlying issues that affect young people, and to drive forward policy that can bring long-lasting change.

Together, we’re determined we’ll leave no child behind.

About Avanti West Coast

Avanti West Coast, operator of intercity rail services on the West Coast Main Line, is a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia, delivering a cleaner, greener railway that drives the West Coast forward.

We’re on a mission to revolutionise train travel. Our refurbed Pendolinos are returning to the rails, with a £117m investment that’s delivering best in class comfort. Rebuilt using sustainable materials wherever possible, including tables made from recycled plastic bottles, our upgraded fleet offers 25,000 brand new seats, free Wi-Fi, onboard recycling and much more.

New Hitachi trains are set to replace our Voyager trains from 2024, leading to a 61% cut in carbon emissions. Quieter and roomier, with more reliable Wi-Fi, wireless charging for electrical devices and a real-time customer information system, the new 23-strong fleet is the result of a £350m investment in sustainable travel.

We’re tackling climate change wherever we can, from reducing energy and water use to training drivers in eco-driving techniques and sourcing food and drink from local suppliers. Our goal is to be net zero carbon by 2031. We’re on track.

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