A lot of us take it for granted we can access rail services with ease. For those who have different requirements (such as wheelchairs, parents with babies) sometimes using the trains can be more unhelpful than not.
Thankfully the UK Rail Delivery Group acknowledges this, and have developed a new map to help those who need to travel independently.
The map is at http://accessmap.nationalrail.co.uk/
It includes information about stations if they have:
- step-free access/partial step free access
- What facilities are one site such as accessible toilets, changing facilities
- Options of nearest stations if there are no facilities that can help them
Let’s look at some examples from the map
As you can see – it’s pretty well covered. There’s also a decent bit of information about connectivity too
Let’s pick on the Heathrow Stations. There’s a few less things, but its accessible – which for a major introduction in the UK – is a helpful thing.
Let’s wander beyond London. Again, I’ve picked a major station – Nottingham – and this is well equipped
Checking a region out of the area Long Eaton – it’s a lot more… simpler.
Meanwhile some stations in London are not friendly at all. Let’s look at Wandsworth Town
As you can see – it’s very facilities-lite, with the map suggesting to travel to Clapham Junction or Richmond if you’re taking a Wheelchair. If you’re looking for other facilities – it’s a little sparse.
Information is key
Being forewarned is forearmed when travelling – in any situation. With travellers who have different needs, knowing what assistance is there – be it in the forms of lifts, steps and facilities will help aid travel, and allow for independent travel where possible, and where to reach out to train operators when assistance is needed.
It’s a great initiative to open up the railway, and one that needs support as it strives to open up.
You can explore the map at http://accessmap.nationalrail.co.uk/
Images – National Rail Access Map, OpenStreetMap with National Rail Data Layer.
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