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East West Rail’s Accessibility Panel Steaming Ahead

A pioneering panel which aims to ensure the varying needs of disabled people are fully met by East West Railway Company (EWR Co) has been set-up.

The Accessibility Advisory Panel is thought to be the first of its kind for a UK based rail company building a new railway and will help EWR Co set industry-leading standards for accessibility and inclusivity.

The customer-first initiative has been set up in advance of trains operating from Oxford to Bletchley in 2025 and aims to ensure the needs of disabled people are considered early in the design and construction stages so East West Rail (EWR) can be accessed and enjoyed by everyone.

EWR invited disabled people to apply to be part of the panel to provide insights on the barriers to rail travel faced in local communities along the route and 12 people were subsequently appointed.

“My hopes are that the opinion of rail travel for disabled people will change for the better,” said panel member Liz Owen.

“That we'll not be an afterthought, and that this project will pave the way for other Rail companies to have an access panel and give others a voice too. I feel included and already listened to by being given a voice for so many. I am excited to be a part of something so big and for many, life changing.”

The East West Rail project will eventually create a new direct connection between Oxford and Cambridge, serving communities across the area and bringing faster journey times and lower transport costs, as well as ease pressure on local roads.

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