Campaigners have called for Network Rail and the wider rail industry to work together to install tactile surfaces on all platforms on all mainlines by 2025 after it emerged that funding has been provided for the work.
It follows a report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) into the fatal incident in 2020 at Eden Park Station (pictured), in which a visually impaired man fell from the platform and was struck by a train.
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has now published a letter setting out progress on recommendations in the RAIB report.
It disclosed that Network Rail has been funded to fit tactile edges to all platforms on the mainlines by the end of Control Period 7 (CP7: 2024-29) and expects most of the work to be carried out in the last year of CP6 and first year of CP7 (2024/25).
It adds that individual Network Rail regions have provided prioritised programmes for fitting tactile surfacing to platform not currently equipped with it, and that funding has been agreed with Treasury and will be released by the Department for Transport once the programmes have been finalised.
The ORR said that after reviewing the information provided it has concluded that Network Rail has taken the recommendation into consideration and is taking action to implement it.
Blanche Shackleton, head of policy, public affairs and campaigns at Guide Dogs, welcomed the news. She said: ‘Guide Dogs has been clear that the installation of warning tactile on platforms should be completed as a priority.
‘Tactile paving is essential for keeping people with sight loss safe at railway stations. It allows them to travel independently with confidence when using the UK’s rail network. Our research shows half of people who are visually impaired do not use public transport as much as they would like; we know that a lack of accessibility features such as warning tactile is a factor in this.’
She added: ‘We have campaigned with other disability organisations to have tactile paving introduced for many years, and Network Rail and the wider rail industry must work together to complete this work by 2025.
‘In the meantime, we will continue to work with the rail industry to ensure measures are in place to raise awareness of stations where warning tactile is not yet fully installed.’