“Small but important” station improvements make rail travel easier for disabled passengers

Published: 28 Mar 2022

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has completed a £600,000 improvement package over the past year to make the Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern rail networks easier for disabled passengers to use. Enhancements range from wheelchair-user-friendly customer information points to testing devices for induction loop systems.

The new customer information points at Three Bridges and Caterham have wide, automated doors and counters at a convenient height for wheelchair users.

A new waiting shelter at East Dulwich in South London is also designed to ensure enough cover and turning space for people using wheelchairs.

At Letchworth Garden City in Hertfordshire the rail company has converted a dilapidated Gents into a spacious, stylish accessible toilet.

Stairways and ramps at North London stations Winchmore Hill, West Hampstead and New Barnet have been given visibility and safety improvements with new bright yellow handrails and step edgings.

Staff at 70 stations now have new devices for regular testing of the induction loops that reduce background noise for people using hearing aids. Induction loops are installed not only at ticket office windows but in waiting areas, on platforms and at information points.

Part of the investment went into progressing designs for potential future schemes, including an accessible toilet at Finsbury Park and ramps to the main station entrances at Angmering and Reigate.

Carl Martin, GTR’s Accessibility Lead, said: “We’re delivering on our pledge to make travelling easier for our disabled customers, and others who need help with accessibility. These small but important improvements remove some of the barriers for disabled people. Something as simple as making the edges of steps bright yellow for people with a sight impairment, or putting in a handrail at the right height for a passenger navigating stairs and ramps, can make a real difference to people’s lives.”

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