Access for All: assisted travel lounge opens in Birmingham

A dedicated assisted travel lounge has opened at Birmingham New Street station in our latest effort for our Access for All Programme.

The programme provides obstacle-free, accessible route to and between platforms to improve travel for passengers.

The government’s Department for Transport, which funds much of Network Rail’s activities, has secured further funding of up to £300m to extend the initiative between April 2019 and March 2024.

The lounge at Birmingham New Street follows a £175,000 investment by Network Rail and helps passengers who need help to get on and off trains.

We offer assisted travel to all passengers who need help getting between trains and the station concourse. Last year, almost 59,000 people used the service at Birmingham New Street.

The new assisted travel lounge at Birmingham New Street station

The lounge provides a welcoming waiting space for people with additional mobility and sensory needs. A dedicated team is on hand to help them.

The door will always be open, with bright multi-coloured signs to aid the visually impaired, to make it easily accessible during opening hours.

There are 24 seats at different heights – an increase of 140% from the former waiting area in the main station reception. There is also a water bowl for service dogs.

The lounge was designed with the guidance of Birmingham New Street’s accessibility forum, which includes disabled people, their carers and advocates, to ensure the space meets the needs of those who will use it.

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.

Mark Sanders, a member of the Birmingham Accessibility Forum

Inclusive design

Inclusive design is an important part of Access for All. It put passengers’ needs at the heart of design and benefits people with a broad range of access requirements, including disabled people, some older people and those travelling with children or heavy luggage.

When inclusive design is achieved in our spaces and places – such as stations and footbridges – it means everyone can benefit from our full range of services and opportunities. It:

  • ensures everyone can use the railway safely, easily and with dignity
  • acknowledges diversity and difference, and is responsive to people’s needs
  • offers choice where a single design solution may not work for everyone
  • provides for flexibility in use, offering more than one solution to help balance everyone’s needs; and
  • provides buildings and environments that are convenient and enjoyable for everyone.

One of our accessible lifts