Skip to content

Access for All update – April 2021

We’re working hard across Britain to provide Access for All – from step-free access to the latest tech to give you better journeys.

The Access for All Programme aims to provides an obstacle free, accessible route to and between platforms.

It’s part of the Government’s Inclusive Transport Strategy and means updating a lot of our Victorian railway. Today we have we now have step-free, accessible routes at more than 200 stations and we’re working to give you greater accessibility at even more.

Here’s a look at some of our progress this year …

New tech for the Southern region

This month we introduced two new facilities to make the railway more inclusive at stations we own and directly manage in our Southern region.

They’ll benefit you if you use British Sign Language (BSL) or if you’re blind or visually impaired.

The first – SignLive – is an around the clock sign language interpretation service. This will mean you can keep up to date with station announcements and safety information if you’re deaf or hearing impaired, no matter the time of day.

The second – RoomMate – is an electronic, wall mounted device that gives blind and visually impaired passengers a bespoke audio description in an accessible toilet.

Network Rail station staff member next to the RoomMate technology outside a station toilet
RoomMate helps you access the toilet if you’re blind or visually impaired

The stations offering SignLive and RoomMate services are: Clapham Junction; Guildford; London Bridge; London Cannon Street; London Charing Cross; London Victoria; London Waterloo

Macclesfield station’s £400,000 lift upgrades

A station platform with customer lift, canopy and train

You can now benefit from more reliable step-free access at Macclesfield railway station after a major overhaul of its lifts.

They reopened this month after a replacement of the lift cars and mechanical equipment. The £400,000 investment will greatly improve accessibility at the busy station. It’s part of the Great North Rail Project to improve journeys in the North of England.

David Rutley, MP for Macclesfield, said: “The news that the work to upgrade Macclesfield’s station has been completed is positive for local passengers.

“In normal times, many passengers and visitors use the station every day and this vital refurbishment of the lifts will make it much easier for everyone to access the platforms, especially those with mobility issues. I am pleased that Network Rail’s £400,000 investment in Macclesfield Station has assured accessibility for many years to come.”

Investment at Theale station

A multi-million-pound upgrade to Theale railway station near Reading is due to begin this year, with plans set to include:

  • improved accessibility across the station, with a footbridge and lifts to connect platforms on both sides of the tracks funded by the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Access for All (AfA) programme
  • step-free access to the new station building and both platforms, making the station fully accessible for the first time
Station sign at Theale railway station near Reading on a clear day
  • replacing the existing ticket office with the building located closer to the new footbridge and designed to meet modern accessibility standards in full
  • upgrading and opening new toilets.

Step-free access available at West Ealing station

The entrance to West Ealing railway station, daytime

Last month West Ealing station in London became step-free. We built an accessible footbridge with lifts to all platforms, and a new bay platform for Greenford Branch trains, which we created by widening platform four.

The improvements will help your journeys between Paddington, Heathrow and Reading.

Information about these step-free access improvements will be incorporated into the Transport for London journey planner and the free TfL Go app, to help those with accessibility needs plan their journey.

Acton Main Line station step-free

Acton Main Line railway station became step-free after lifts and a new ticket hall opened last month.

In preparation for the Elizabeth line, we upgraded the west London station by building a spacious new ticket hall from steel and glass including gate lines. We also provided a covered, accessible footbridge with lifts serving both platforms.

Meanwhile, you’ll find improved platform waiting shelters, lighting, signage and customer information screens.

A train calls at Acton Main Line railway station, beneath a footbridge

Read more:

Access for All Programme

Station improvements

Planning a trip

Access for All: assisted travel lounge opens in Birmingham

Together we can end domestic abuse