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Northern to Trial British Sign Language Announcements on Trains

Northern is set to interpret its announcements into British Sign Language (BSL) on some of its services.

Passengers will first see the new BSL visuals on trains between Manchester Victoria and Leeds to interpret information such as station announcements.

Census data in 2021 showed that in addition to spoken languages, BSL was the main language of 22,000 people.

“We know that rail travel can be daunting for anyone with specific needs, and I really hope this makes a difference to give people confidence to travel by rail,” said Marc Silverwood, onboard systems manager at Northern.

Northern is looking for partners – charities, organisations or experts who could help provide sign language interpreters for the project.

The train operator aims to have the trial up and running by the end of the year.

“We’re looking out for people who could help with this scheme to interpret our announcements and who could share their expertise with us – so we can create the best possible service for our BSL passengers,” added Marc.

Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK, with 2,500 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.

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