Carl Martin with Steven Pejda at Three Bridges

UK: Govia Thameslink Railway has completed a £600 000 programme of small station improvements to make the Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern networks more accessible.

The works included installing improved customer information points at Three Bridges and Caterham stations, with wide, automated doors, and counters set at a convenient height for wheelchair users. An additional waiting shelter at East Dulwich has been designed to ensure there is enough cover and turning space for people using wheelchairs.

At Letchworth Garden City, GTR’s contractors have made a toilet more spacious. Stairways and ramps at Winchmore Hill, West Hampstead and New Barnet stations now have bright yellow handrails and step edgings.

Staff at 70 stations have also been provided with devices to regularly test the induction loops that reduce background noise for people using hearing aids, at ticket counters and in waiting areas, on platforms and at information points.

Part of the spending was allocated to planning future improvements, including an accessible toilets at Finsbury Park and ramps to the main entrances at Angmering and Reigate stations.

‘We’re delivering on our pledge to make travelling easier for our disabled customers, and others who need help with accessibility’, said Carl Martin, GTR’s Accessibility Lead. ‘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.’

These improvements were part of GTR’s 2021-22 Minor Works programme. Larger accessibility schemes such as lifts are usually funded by the Department for Transport’s Access for All scheme.