Passengers who need help to get on and off trains at Birmingham New Street station now have a dedicated waiting lounge to make travelling by train a more pleasant experience.
A new assisted travel lounge opened today (10 June) thanks to a £175,000 investment by Network Rail.
Assisted travel is offered to all passengers who need help getting between trains and the station concourse. Last year, nearly 59,000 people used the service at Birmingham New Street.
The investment, part of Britain’s Railway Upgrade Plan, provides a welcoming waiting space for people with additional mobility and sensory needs and a dedicated team to help them.
To make it easily accessible during opening hours* the lounge door will always be open, with bright multi coloured signs to aid the visually impaired.
There are 24 seats at different heights in the new lounge – an increase of 140% from the former waiting area in the main station reception. There is also a water bowl for service dogs.
Karen Hornby, head of performance and customer relationship for Network Rail, said: “It’s a priority for Network Rail to provide first-class service to our customers. Travelling through a busy railway station can be daunting for those with additional needs but the new assisted travel lounge provides a friendly space for people to wait and get the help they need from a dedicated team. It will transform the way passengers access rail travel at Birmingham New Street.”
The assisted travel lounge was designed with the guidance of Birmingham New Street’s accessibility forum, which includes people with disabilities, their carers and advocates, to ensure the space meets the needs of those who’ll use it.
Mark Sanders, member of the Birmingham Accessibility Forum, said: “I’m registered blind and travel with my guide dog Lily through the station which can sometimes be challenging.
“Having this new waiting lounge will give me a calm place to wait for assistance staff and will be great for the hundreds of people who use assisted travel every week. Network Rail has ticked so many of the boxes and has listened to what people like me need.”
Passengers who need the assisted travel service should speak to their train operator before their journey when booking their ticket.
The new waiting space can be found in the Birmingham New Street red lounge in the place of the old Virgin Trains first class travel lounge.
Notes to editors:
*It will have a staffed reception and be open seven days a week during the following hours:
- Sunday: 9am-7pm
- Monday: 7am-9pm
- Tuesday 7am-9pm
- Wednesday: 7am-9pm
- Thursday: 7am-9pm
- Friday: 7am-9pm
- Saturday: 7am-9pm