A new Access Map has been introduced to guide disabled people, and others with mobility difficulty, of the facilities available at each railway station in the country.
Viewers can interact with a map of the entire network, superimposed on a street map of the UK, find their station, and then click to see what facilities it has to offer, such as step-free access, staff on hand to assist, disabled toilets and so on.
The little ‘flags’ on the stations are colour-coded – green for step-free access, yellow for partially step-free, red for no step-free access and blue for ‘don’t know’, though there aren’t many of those.
So, for example, rail travellers from Maidstone in Kent should use Maidstone East (green – step-free access, staff available to help, accessible toilets, train access ramp), rather than Maidstone West (yellow – step-free access to Platform 2 but steps to Platform 1 and staff assistance not always available) and they should certainly avoid Maidstone Barracks (red, steps to all platforms, unstaffed).
It’s a great resource, and makes it easy for passengers to select which stations to use, and which not to. It will be invaluable, not only to the disabled but anyone with a mobility problem – including children and heavy luggage.
What’s more, it’s a fascinating map to use to explore the rail network. Not only are passenger main lines on there, so are freight-only routes and heritage railways. And there are satellite views as well as maps.
The Rail Delivery Group worked in collaboration with train companies and the Department for Transport to create Access Map, and a great job they have made of it.
Transport Accessibility Minister Nusrat Ghani was pleased with the result. “I am delighted to see this new interactive map launched,” she said, “marking an important step towards our aim of providing disabled passengers with the information they need to travel independently – a key commitment in our Inclusive Transport Strategy.”
Accessibility campaigner Sarah Ward was equally enthusiastic: “Knowing in advance what features are at a station before I get there increases my confidence hugely. I think the map will be beneficial for a whole range of people. The more information you can have before you travel, the easier it is.”
Access Map is at http://accessmap.nationalrail.co.uk/