RNIB called in to improve accessibility along Virgin East Coast line





Posted: March 7, 2017

One of the latest projects involving RNIB was a joint venture between the charity and Virgin Trains on one of the main lines between London and Scotland.

We were asked by the rail operator to help them make rail travel easier for millions of blind and partially sighted passengers on the East Coast route, specifically in regards to access to station and platform information.

Following a review of the current set-up on the route, more than a dozen “accessible maps” were installed at stations.

The RNIB “Maps for All” were initially installed at nine of the stations with the remainder of the maps being installed more recently.

This was an important project as a recent study by RNIB found that 40 per cent of blind and partially sighted people said they were not able to make all the journeys they wanted to using public transport.

A quarter of passengers raised specific concerns about rail travel, with a lack of accessible information on platforms found to be a main issue.

The maps use a mix of raised large print, braille and tactile symbols, and provide key station information like locations of platforms, toilets, shops and cafes at the station.

But while this was an important project, and one we hope to replicate across the country, we would recommend these types of accessibility considerations be taken during the planning stages of platform development.

Any rail or platform operator that is interested in undertaking a similar scheme can contact RNIB and we will be happy to review your current offering and work with you to make rail travel more accessible.

If you like to share your thoughts, ask for specific information, or find out more about our work please contact the team at [email protected] or call 01733 375 370.