Campaign win: Network Rail confirms faster timeline for rail safety

Post date: 
Friday, 11 March 2022
Category: 
Campaigning
Inclusive journeys
A train station platform and train with people walking along the platform.

Thanks to your persistent campaigning, Network Rail is speeding up the installation of tactile paving on all railway platforms in Britain.

After a year of campaigning to make stations safe for blind and partially sighted people, this is an important campaign win for RNIB; we’re so grateful to the 15,817 people who signed our petition putting pressure on Network Rail and the Department for Transport (DfT) to urgently address platform safety.

Our #RailSafe campaign to ensure all blind and partially sighted people can travel in safety on our rail network continues, despite this good news, as we need all the funding to be in place.

Our campaign began following the tragic death of Cleveland Gervais, a partially sighted man who died after falling from a platform without tactile paving.

Last year around half of mainline railway stations in Britain lacked tactile. Despite 15 per cent of people falling from platforms being blind or partially sighted, we were originally told by Network Rail that the rollout of tactile paving would not be completed until 2029 unless further funding was provided by the Government. We were clear that making all train platforms safe for blind and partially sighted people couldn’t wait. We were concerned to see in the Office for Rail and Road’s recent response to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) report into Cleveland Gervais’ death that despite being funded by the DfT to fit tactile paving on all railway platforms, it could still be as late as March 2029 for Network Rail to complete this vital work.

With Guide Dogs and Disability Rights UK, we called on Andrew Haines, Network Rail’s Chief Executive, and Wendy Morton MP, the Minister of State for Transport, to firmly commit to accelerated rail safety timeline.

Andrew Haines responded:

I have tasked the regional teams to challenge themselves to bring the work forward as much as they practically can, given the significance of the potential benefits. We will certainly deliver it well before 2029. At the moment we are planning to have delivered the vast majority before the end of 2025, but I am pushing the teams to see if we can’t do better than that subject to funding and formal approval from the Department for Transport.”

As a result, our attention is now focused on that all important funding. Transport Minister Wendy Morton has again repeated that she will be making an announcement on future rounds of funding ‘in due course’.

Until this funding is approved, we will continue our #RailSafe campaign to ensure all blind and partially sighted people can travel in safety on our rail network.