Yeah, I've managed to find a responsible friend to join me, and my mum should hopefully be okay with it (I'll ask her closer to the time) since she let my brother go on the train 5 hours away with a friend when he was 17, and i'll be 16 at the time so it should hopefully be alright!
Just sit down and talk to her. Tell her that you're a responsible person, tell her exactly where you'll be be, and tell her that you'll call her when you arrive, when you meet with your friends, when you're leaving to catch the train, and obviously when you get home. Keep communication open, because that's how you build trust.
You said you're almost 16. While it might seem a bit young to be travelling by yourself, you're also at the driver's license age and your mother can't keep you sheltered and within a 10 mile radius your entire life--otherwise, when you are able to get out, you won't be able to handle yourself in these situations.
Train rides aren't that bad. You'll literally sit for 4 hours. Not a lot can go wrong there. I see how she can be worried about meeting up with strangers, but that's up to you to portray your friends to your mother as smart, responsible people that you can be trusted with. As for getting home, you should be fine as long as your at your track 5 min before the departure time. If anything, you could catch the next train even though you would probably be waiting.
My parents were the same way, but in my situation, I wanted to travel long distances to concerts, which is arguably worse. But in the end, they decided that they had to trust me (especially because I would have found a way to get there one way or another). Sure, it's nerve racking your first time doing something like this, but it's so much fun! It's fun being out in the world by yourself! I ended up going to NYC and navigating subways by myself, and while I got on the wrong subway twice and missed my train home because the concert ran later than I expected (had to pull an all nighter at a friend's apartment that lived in the city and catch the first train back at 5 in the morning), it was a blast. Then again, I was 18 when I went through this but the first time I took the train by myself was when I was 16.
How old are you? How dependent? Just going off of this, talking about how you'd have to sneak off and lie to your parents, I'm guessing you aren't that old (maybe under 16; please correct me if I'm wrong). I know this isn't what you want to hear, but you should just listen to your parents. Going four hours away to meet people you only know over a website is not safe, and if they tell you not to go, then it's for your own safety. There are alternative ways to meet with these people- maybe you all could arrange a Skype date or something, but going so far and especially to a place you aren't familiar with to meet up with people you don't even know... I'm not saying that they're bad people at all, but things can happen.
Yeah, I'm 15 at the minute but i'll be 16 by time of the meet-up. And yeah I understand things could happen but they've been arranging these meet-ups since 2009 and it has all been fine, especially since many people go along with their parents. But yeah i'll understand if my parents don't let me go.
I might end up going with my mother so she can go shopping near-by so I can call her if I have any problems.
... I know this is not the impression one wants to make on a bunch of new people, but check if your parents have some shopping they need done and present it like this:
You would like to meet some friends with whom you've talked with for a long while on the internet. They are kind and you have X and X in common. You would really like to meet these people to make them into "real" friends but you understand your parents may have concerns regarding your safety. Thus you would like it if your mom tagged along and greeted these people so she could see for herself that they were nice and not 30+ serial killers. Then she could do her shopping, you could hang out with your friends for a couple of hours and then you and your mom could have coffee and take the train home together.
I know it seems very uncool to bring a parent, but if you explain to your friends the concerns your mother has and that this is the only way for you to meet them, they should be understanding. Also your mom may still require some persuasion (after all, you're asking for her to spend time and money to tag along), but if you show her that you really want these people for your friends and how important it is for you to go, she should relent. Good luck!
Thank-you, but this is my 2nd account, I'm using it since my watchers have heard this story loads and they're getting a little annoyed with hearing it..
Ah, that seems like a really reasonable idea, thank-you! I'm sure she could go off and do some shopping as there is a reasonably sized shopping center near by, and I could always catch up with her after i've done talking to my friends. I'm sure my friends would understand her bringing me as she is my mother after all.