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Network Rail’s Southern region is marking the International Day of People with Disabilities on 3 December 2020 with the introduction of new accessibility features at three of its largest London stations.
New state-of-the-art mobility buggies have been introduced at London’s Victoria and Waterloo stations during November 2020, and a new ‘Changing Place’ facility – specially designed for passengers who are disabled – has opened at London Bridge station during December 2020.
The Changing Place is reserved for passengers who are disabled, including those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, who can use the facilities assisted by their family members or carers. They include features such as a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench, a hoist system, plus a curtain for privacy from family members or carers, and specially designed toilets and sinks.
Stations Director for Network Rail‘s Southern region, Nicole Cohen-Wray, said: “Our stations need to be a space where all passengers feel comfortable and confident to enter. I’m delighted by the inclusion of the new Changing Place at London Bridge, as well as the mobility buggies at Waterloo and Victoria stations. Just two of the most recent initiatives we’ve introduced to make stations open and accessible for all.”
To access the facility, customers will need to request access when they arrive at the station and be escorted to and from the facility by a member of the station team.
Speaking about the new Changing Place at London Bridge, Antony Merlyn, Accessibility Manager for Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) – which runs Thameslink and Southern services through the station – said: “This will be a real game-changer for the many people who need it; it will make a huge difference to our disabled customers.”
Meanwhile, new mobility buggies are being introduced to help disabled passengers, enabling them to have a comfortable and spacious ride through the stations’ concourse and platforms. They replace buggies that were over 20 years old and are part of Network Rail’s mission to help passengers with accessibility needs to navigate around the station. The new buggies have even better accessibility features, such as more flexible body panels, six seats and fully opening rear doors with large grab handles.
Meanwhile, rays of purple light are beaming from London Waterloo and railway stations across the country as the rail industry joined the global #PurpleLightUp movement and celebrates the contribution of disabled people around the world.
This article first appeared on www.globalrailwayreview.com
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