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Rail Panel Lists Accessibility Issues for Disabled Passengers

East West Railway Company’s Accessibility Advisory Panel (AAP) has drawn up a list of issues that disabled passengers travelling by train regularly face.

The AAP has highlighted key areas for improvement that need to be considered early in the design and construction process of a new railway, so that rail travel can be accessed and enjoyed by everyone.

The ‘must-haves’ identified by the panel focus on trains, stations and digital services and include:

• Accessible toilets on trains and at stations, including Changing Places toilets

• Step free access to and through stations, including lifts, for people with mobility aids

• Level, unassisted boarding with minimal intervention

• Making timetables, information boards and social media content accessible for all

• Removing ticket barriers for disabled people, creating ease of access to the platform

• Removing the need to use an app to park – make displaying a Blue Badge sufficient

• Providing space on trains for two wheelchair users to travel together

• Making lighting more suitable for people with low vision

• Improving access to station staff who regularly receive disability training

• Providing a wide variety of seating styles with armrests

The AAP was set up in advance of trains operating on the first stage of East West Railway, from Oxford to Bletchley, in 2025, to consider design issues at the outset of building a new railway.

“When I first became disabled the first journey I had on an old British Rail train was in the guard’s van because the train wasn’t accessible to wheelchair users,” said Jo O’Dwyer.

“The guard’s van was an old wooden dusty old unit that was essentially there to carry parcels. Back then it wasn’t even thought about making transport rolling stock accessible for disabled people, but I am sure East West Rail will use our advice sagely and provide the best equipped infrastructure railway service they can.”

1 comment

1 Comment

This is great. It would be good to see them also considering clean air via ventilation/filtration and encouragement of masks (especially for people with respiratory symptoms) to make rail travel more inclusive for people who have a disability or health issue that can make them more vulnerable to covid or other airborne infections too.

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