Passengers first – from free toilets to Access for All

Published 19 March 2019 | Average read time
4 min read
Stories Putting passengers first Stories

Putting passengers first isn’t all about delivering large-scale infrastructure projects and railway improvements.

It’s doing what we can to make journeys easier and more convenient for the millions of travellers who use the railway every day.

That’s why we’re working hard to implement a string of smaller initiatives that will have a big overall impact on the passenger experience.

Free and improved toilets

The toilets at all 20 of our managed stations will be free to use from April, making journeys more comfortable at some of Britain’s biggest and busiest transport hubs.

The facilities are already free at stations including Bristol Temple MeadsManchester PiccadillyLeedsLiverpool Lime StreetLondon Paddington and London Waterloo.

Meanwhile, we’re revamping the toilets at some of our stations, such as Birmingham New Street, Liverpool Lime Street and London Victoria to make them more comfortable and more accessible to all passengers.

Meanwhile, we’re revamping the toilets at some of our stations, such as Birmingham New Street, Liverpool Lime Street (pictured) and London Victoria to make them more comfortable and more accessible to all passengers.

Free water fountains

We’ve installed free, cold water fountains at our managed stations so you can refill your own bottle – keeping passengers hydrated and significantly reducing plastic waste. We estimate the fountains save the equivalent of up to 1,000 plastic bottles at each location a week.

Better seating

Research from Transport Focus shows passengers would like improved seating at railway stations and we’re responding. Recent examples include modern, Swedish seating at London Victoria and London Bridge.

Free WiFi and content

We’re rolling out free WiFi at some of our stations – an initiative that’s already benefitting millions of passengers – starting with London Euston from 2016 and London Bridge from February last year.

At London Bridge, passengers can use a free content hub as well as free WiFi. Its features include:

  • Travel updates
  • Downloadable magazines
  • Film trailers
  • A kids’ zone
  • A retail section including a directory and details of any offers

To sign up for the free Wi-Fi at London Bridge station, open the Wi-Fi setting on your device while in the station, connect to FreeStationWifi, then follow the on-screen instructions.

Modern platforms with better access

Platforms are getting more crowded with more people using the railway than ever. To make more room at some stations, we can remove large, out-dated waiting rooms and replace them with smaller, modern facilities – like at Manchester Piccadilly.

Half of the shelter on the station’s most crowded platforms was home to an old toilet block and retail unit that had sat disused for almost 20 years. By the spring, a new waiting room will have more seats, USB charge stations and more heating.

Improving access to all passengers is important to a modern railway. One of the ways we’re delivering this is by installing step-free access at platforms. Today, there are step-free, accessible routes at more than 200 stations across Britain as part of the government’s Access for All programme.

We completed some improvements at Hebden Bridge station in West Yorkshire as part of a £2.2 million investment to upgrade access. We’ve resurfaced the walkway at the front of the station and installed lifts on platforms one and two to make it easier for all passengers to use the station, including those with limited mobility, heavy luggage or pushchairs.

Find out more about access through inclusive design.

Station spruce-up

Meanwhile, improvements such as better lighting, improved signage, new information screens, upgraded walkways and painting all combine to keep stations across Britain welcoming and fit for purpose.

In recent weeks, we’ve outlined such upgrades of all stations on the Glossop-to-Manchester railway line part of the Great North Rail Project. More than £1.5m of Department for Transport money will go towards Glossop, Dinting, Broadbottom, Hattersley, Godley, Newton for Hyde, Flowery Fields, Guide Bridge and Ashburys.

Similarly, stations on the Cumbrian coast, Lakes and Furness lines will benefit from £15m of improvements for passengers in the North. By the spring, we’ll have completed £1.2m of upgrades at Workington, Whitehaven, Sellafield, Barrow-in-Furness, Burneside, Staveley and Windermere stations.

Disabled Access Day

Station spotlight: Manchester Piccadilly

Station spotlight: Edinburgh Waverley

Highlights of the Great North Rail Project