Access for All update
Published 3 December 2020 | Average read time
5 min read
Stories Industry-leading Putting passengers first

We’ve made lots of progress in our work to improve accessibility on the railway, including new tech launched last month for lifts and escalators.

Last month we shared our plans to give you live data on almost 1,500 lifts and 300 escalators across hundreds of railway stations around Britain. Real-time information on their working condition will make it easier to plan your journeys.

We’re releasing an open data source with live data on the status of lifts and escalators at about 370 stations nationwide. This will increase to 463 stations over the next 12 to 18 months.

It comes amid the Access for All Programme 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.

Previous open source data releases have quickly led to in app and web developers using the information to create simple apps that hugely help passengers when planning journeys.

Stairs and escalators at Reading station
Reading railway station

This latest development, delivered through our research and development programme, uses monitoring devices on lifts and escalators to create give live information on the equipment to third parties through an open data source.  This allows the third parties, such as web and app developers, to create travel planner apps to provide live lift and escalator availability information to passengers. 

What else have we been up to?

Edinburgh Waverley Masterplan concept revealed

Access for All featured in the Edinburgh Waverley Masterplan we published in August. We, along with the Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council, unveiled our concept designs for transforming the capital’s main station as part of the Edinburgh Waverley Masterplan.

It envisions a station that’s a vital part of the city, with a major new public space on Waverley Bridge providing views of the iconic city skyline. It will be a station that puts people first, providing easy Access for All. It will also provide vital city connections for walking, cycling and public transport.

We proposed a new mezzanine concourse across the whole station that will help deliver better access to Waverley from the surrounding streets. It will also enable the creation of fully-accessible entrances and increase circulation space for passengers.

See the full Masterplan.

The Masterplan and Edinburgh Waverley today

Step-free access for Canterbury East

Platform at Canterbury East station
Canterbury East station

We’re giving Canterbury East railway station step-free access for the first time.

The £4.8m investment will make the station much easier to use if you have mobility issues, are older or are travelling with young children.

We’re installing new lifts and a new footbridge. We will also install tactiles along both platforms to improve use for passengers with visual impairment.

The proposed works will preserve and respect the railway character and appearance of the area. We aim to complete the project by July.

Step-free in Croydon

In October, we installed three new lifts at Selhurst station to give you easier access between the station entrance, ticket office and platforms.

It followed a new footbridge and lifts at Coulsdon South which was completed in August.

Chris Heaton-Harris, Accessibility Minister, said in August: “Our Access for All programme is proving that government investment is making a real difference and improving people’s lives.

Outside of Coulsdon South station
Coulsdon South station

“The new lifts and bridge will give more people confidence to travel by train, especially disabled people and those with pushchairs or heavy baggage.”

Upgrade at Mills Hill

New lift at Mills Hill station
New lift at Mills Hill station

We’re installing a new ramp and lift at Mills Hill station to provide step-free access to platforms at the Greater Manchester station for the first time.

Chris Jackson, regional director at train operator Northern, said in September: “We are absolutely committed to making the Northern network as accessible and as welcoming as possible for all our customers.

“The improvements being made at Mills Hill will, when complete, give customers with special mobility needs much-improved access to the rail network and, in-turn, so many fantastic destinations across the north of England.”

The accessibility improvements also form part of the wider Great North Rail Project – a plan to deliver better stations, track and trains across the North of England.

Find more about the Great North Rail Project.

Multi-million pound investment at Cadoxton

In September, we completed accessibility improvements at Cadoxton station in south Wales – multi-million-pound lifts and a footbridge.

The improvements also include a new waiting shelter on platform two, widening the doorways in and out of the ticket office and the installation of tactile paving on the platform edge.

We’ve also built a new ramp from the ticket office leading out onto platform one.

David TC Davies, UK Government Minister for Wales, said: “The accessibility improvements at Cadoxton train station demonstrate the UK Government’s commitment to building a bigger, better railway for Wales.

Three people opening the station at Cadoxton station in south Wales
Cadoxton station in south Wales

“Accessible stations will open up routes to more passengers across the country, empowering people to travel independently and helping us to make inaccessible transport a thing of the past.”

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