Campaigner hails 'massive' accessibility improvements at Dewsbury train station

Following a Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) campaign, tactile edging is now in the process of being installed at Dewsbury train station.
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The station will now benefit from tactile edging, which is used to mark the end point of a railway platform.

The campaign was launched by the RNIB after a blind man was tragically killed after falling from a platform in south-east London.

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Partially-sighted Samantha Heaton, from Dewsbury, who works at local sight-loss charity Outlookers in Batley and often uses trains as a form of transport, said: “Many people may not have yet really noticed the new tactile edging at Dewsbury train station or indeed valued the importance of it.

Sam Heaton at Dewsbury Railway station.Sam Heaton at Dewsbury Railway station.
Sam Heaton at Dewsbury Railway station.

“However for anyone with a visual impairment this is a massive step forward in accessible and inclusive design.

“Very sadly the push to implement the tactile edging has mainly come off the back of an RNIB campaign following the death of a visually impaired man at a train station.

“Seeing the edge of a platform is something sighted people will take for granted.

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“But it is great that the difficulties of visually impaired travellers are now being actively acknowledged and safety features implemented.”

Maqsood Sheikh, RNIB senior regional campaign officer for the Yorkshire and Humber region, said: “Tactile paving is not just an accessibility measure, it is fundamental to the health and safety of passengers and pedestrians.

“There should be no train platforms without tactile paving.

“The feature is essential in enabling blind and partially sighted people to travel independently and safely.

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“We are delighted that the Dewsbury train station has tactile paving installed on all its platforms and we would urge all rail operators to follow suit.”

Last year, the RNIB also delivered a rail safe petition backing calls for tactile paving to be urgently installed across the rail network, which was signed by 15,817 people.

The RNIB hopes this will speed up the process of installing tactile edging at every train station in the UK.

“We are pleased that Network Rail has recently stated that it intends to speed up the installation of tactile paving on all British train platforms where it is missing, although this is still subject to funding and formal approval from the Department for Transport.

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“We strongly urge the Rail Minister Wendy Morton to confirm the necessary funding as soon as possible.”

So far, 300 metres of tactile paving has been installed across platform one and two at Dewsbury train station, with the final 17 metres set to be installed over the next few weeks.

Matt Rice, route director for Network Rail’s north and east route, said: “We know that many people rely on tactile paving to use the railway independently, so I’m pleased with the great progress we’re making at Dewsbury station.

“I hope that by improving accessibility here, we’re helping even more people to travel with confidence.”

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Network Rail worked alongside TransPennine Express to install the tactile paving to make the station more accessible for customers.

David Smith, accessibility and transport integration manager for TransPennine Express, said: “Tactile paving is not just an accessibility measure, it’s fundamental to the health and safety of our customers and colleagues.

“This feature is essential in enabling blind and partially sighted people to travel independently and safely.

“Our ultimate aim is to have tactile paving installed at every TPE station.”