Improving the methods used to provide access to and from trains for wheelchair users

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mode - rail, place - europe, policy - disability, ridership - disadvantage


disability access, wheelchairs, Britain, rail


Disability access on the railways has grown up piecemeal. Methods of getting wheelchair users on and off trains have varied, both over time and by region. British Rail introduced the wheeled 'warden ramp' usually for access to or from the guard’s van. Since then there have been various developments, often stock-specific, and some operators have introduced company specific alternatives, such as the 'folding boarding ramp'. Passenger coaches are designed to accept specific ramps, which have lugs that secure them to provide a stable platform for the user. Many ramps have had their lugs removed to fit any train. This makes them unstable and could lead to accidents to wheelchair users, other passengers or rail staff. In addition, some trains present particular problems because of their height from the platform. The Disabled Persons' Transport Advisory Committee (Rail) asked RSSB to manage research into the best ways of overcoming these and related difficulties with the support of ATOC, DfT and Network Rail. Guidance documents will be produced for rail staff and for wheelchair users, although these could be combined. The anticipated benefits of the research include improved safety and convenience for wheelchair users; a safe system of work for rail staff; and the reduction of risk to all involved. This project was sponsored by Operations Focus Group.


Permission to link to the article has been given by RSSB, copyright remains with them.