Ernest Skelton in a Class 68 driver's seat

TPE gifts eight-year-old train fanatic with the ultimate birthday surprise

A lucky Scarborough youngster was given a birthday to remember this week thanks to TransPennine Express.

Ernest Skelton, known as Ernie, enjoyed a VIP tour of a Class 68 locomotive and an exclusive ride in the driver’s cab to York as part of his special eighth birthday celebrations.

The youngster from Scarborough, North Yorkshire, has been fascinated with trains for as long as his parents Aggie and Paul can remember.

After learning of Ernie’s love of trains, TPE invited the birthday boy and family for the ultimate day of railway celebrations.

Aggie Skelton, Ernest’s mother said: “I cannot thank TransPennine Express enough for making Ernie’s birthday dreams come true.

“It was a genuinely amazing day, from the birthday greeting on the information screens when we arrived at the station, to watching Ernie's response when he found out he'd be travelling in the driver's cab.”

Lead Driver Manager Steve Whitehead, presented Ernie with a TPE giftbag including his very own miniature driver’s uniform before offering Ernie a tour of his favourite train – a TPE Nova 3.

Steve then told the Skelton family they’d be travelling in First Class on their trip to York, but he had one more surprise – Ernie and his father, Paul, could ride in the driver’s cab with a front row seat into the world of driving trains.

Ernie said: “This is the best birthday, ever!”

“Thanks for showing me around the cab and what all the buttons do in my favourite train, Steve!”

To top off the day, under close supervision, Ernie was allowed to sound the horn as they drove past a whistle board.

Ernie added: 'It was so cool when I was allowed to sound the horn! It was so loud!”

Steve Whitehead, Lead Driver Manager for TPE, said: “It was lovely to meet Ernie and his family over the weekend.

“Ernie is such an enthusiastic, polite boy and it’s always great to meet people who could be part of the next railway generation.

“I hope he enjoyed the rest of his birthday and I’m glad we could play a part in his day.”

Notes to editors

Pictured - 

Ernie Skelton, birthday boy

Paul Skelton, Ernie's father

Aggie Skelton, Ernie's mother

Lilia Skelton, Ernie's sister

Steve Whitehead, Lead Driver Manager for TPE