Trainline tests wheelchair accessible ramps before introducing them across new fleet
Greater Anglia has been trialling a new ramp design from Portaramp that will enable people with reduced mobility to get on and off its trains, before rolling it out across its new fleet.
Dominic Lund-Conlon, a transport professional, Transport Project Lead of Essex County Council and a member of Greater Anglia’s Stakeholder Equality Group, visited Portaramp with Greater Anglia to test out the prototype.
He spent time testing the ramp in his wheelchair, using a mock-up platform, and assessing it for ease of use, stability and gradient.
The visit helped to identify any necessary changes and improvements that would ensure the ramp is easy-to-use and suitable for people with restricted mobility.
Dominic remarked: “Inclusive design is much more than a toilet and a wheelchair space. The ramps need to be suitable for all, regardless of scooter, wheelchair, walking with or without an assistance dog – by working together we are enabling every customer to get on board.”
During the design process, Greater Anglia also consulted people with assistance animals to make sure the ramp met a range of different requirements.
Mandy Lancaster, General Manager at Portaramp, said: “Although we work with most of the main rail operating companies, train designs differ so our ramps are designed for each specific application. This means each new ramp must be tested to make sure they perform as required, so having the opportunity to work directly with Dominic and to get his input has been invaluable.”
Rebecca Richardson, Accessibility Manager at Greater Anglia, added: “We’re really grateful to Dominic for working with us to ensure the new ramp will meet customers’ needs. The new trains will be so much better for people with mobility issues with their low floors for easy access, extra space and accessible toilets.
“We’ve worked hard and consulted every step of the way to ensure that they will offer people with mobility issues a more comfortable journey and it’s great to be able to progress the design of these ramps, which will greatly help with that.”
Greater Anglia is replacing each train with 169 new trains, which will all have more seats, power and USB points, WiFi, air conditioning, accessible toilets, wheelchair areas and cycle spaces.
The first trains are now in East Anglia for safety and performance tests and are due to be in service from the middle of 2020.