A YOUNG train lover couldn’t believe his luck when a rail company invited him for a behind-the-scenes tour.

Rustington resident David Elston absolutely loves trains.

The ten-year-old has autism and travelling on trains has helped him develop his speech and awareness.

He has Sensory Processing Disorder which can cause him to feel overwhelmed in some situations.

But travelling on trains and joining in with the next stop announcements has a comforting affect.

David’s mum, Donna, said: “It’s a calming environment for him. The train moves on the tracks from station to station, there’s no deviation.

“He finds the physical movement comforting too. David is also fascinated by the mechanical structure of the trains so the chance to see them up close was really exciting for him.”

Ryan Bower, a Southern Rail staff member, passed David at a station and saw his excitement at passing trains.

Ryan said: “I saw David at Angmering Station and saw first-hand David’s reaction to trains passing through the station.

“Seeing his reaction made me want to do something different for him, something that he will always remember.

“There can be so much negativity surrounding the railway and the business of running a service, it seems a shame when historically the railway is an institution and should bring joy as it always did.”

So Ryan organised for David to visit the Lover’s Walk train maintenance shed at Brighton Railway Station and see how his favourite trains are looked after.

There he got to get up close to the trains and learn all about how the Southern team make sure they are ready for service.

Donna said: “Thank you so much to Southern for making David’s dreams come true. It was a day he will never forget. Angmering station is practically our second home already and I can’t see that changing now.”

April is Autism Awareness Month and Donna said she wants to help fellow passengers to understand it better.

She said: “While we have had more positive experiences than negative, there still needs to be more awareness.”

“This includes explaining some of the behaviour and differences that children may adopt to make their lives easier, such as wearing ear defenders or reciting a list of stations.

“We’ve been able to use David’s passion for trains to improve his learning. I encourage people to ask questions to help them understand what Autism actually means rather than stare.”