Work ramps up to improve accessibility on trains for disabled people


Clearer information will be made about the availability of accessible toilets in advance of journeys and the DfT will work with train companies to assess how staff training can be improved, reports City AM.

It added that where facilities are out of order, the industry has been told to make sure disabled passengers are informed before the train departs, while maintenance teams will work on making sure accessible toilets are more reliable so fewer toilets are out of service in the first place.

The discussions between rail minister Paul Maynard and senior rail industry representatives came after Paralympic athlete and disabilities campaigner Anne Wafula Strike shared her humiliating experience.

Earlier this month, she said a train company failed to provide an accessible toilet on a three-hour journey. The athlete said she was left incredibly humiliated after being left to wet herself on a CrossCountry train.

Maynard said: “I take the issue of accessibility on our railways extremely seriously and these commitments from industry are just one step forward to improve things. It is vital that all people, including disabled passengers, are able use public transport and I will continue to push train companies on this matter.”

Since 1999, it has been a requirement that all new trains with toilets are built with accessible ones, and all trains built before then have to comply by 2020.

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators and Network Rail, said: “The rail industry wants to modernise what is often Victorian infrastructure to make it more accessible and to provide far better information to enable people with disabilities to travel with confidence.

“When things go wrong, rail companies want to put them right, and we are keen to hear directly from people with disabilities to understand their experiences which is why the industry is already engaging more with disability groups to understand how we can improve.”

The DfT will publish its Accessibility Action Plan later this year, addressing accessibility across all types of public transport.