London Northwestern Railway and West Midlands Railway have welcomed the launch of a new £20m accessibility fund by the Department for Transport (DfT). The DfT has pledged to make money available for station improvements such as paving and raised platform edges.
The two local train operators say that everyone is welcome to travel on their trains and they are working hard to make their networks even more accessible. Both train companies are improving access for passengers at stations and on trains. This includes investing £700m in trains that will increase capacity by 25%.
Jon Harris, integration and accessibility manager for West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway, said: “The message is clear – there should be no barriers preventing passengers using our services.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to improve the user experience for all our passengers, including those with additional needs. We are continuing to make significant investments and work with partners across the industry, including DfT, to make sure the railway is open for all.”
The two operators have also formed a partnership with the West Midlands Rail Executive and Network Rail called the West Midlands Stations Alliance. This group is designed to speed up the approach to making station improvements.
In February, West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway began a year-long partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society which includes a pledge to make stations and trains more dementia friendly.
Other work already undertaken by the two train companies includes:
The setting up of a dedicated Stakeholder Equality Group to discuss improvements
Development of a bespoke disability training package for front line staff
Work with Network Rail on accessibility projects at stations including Lichfield Trent Valley, Tring, Stechford, Smethwick Rolfe Street and Worcester Shrub Hill
Carrying out an accessibility assessment at each station in our network
Supported the creation of a ‘Calm Corner’ for passengers at Crewe Station
For more information on Accessible Travel, including information on booking assistance at the station or help purchasing tickets, passengers can visit www.westmidlandsrailway.co.uk/accessibility or www.londonnorthwesternrailway.co.uk/accessibility