Access to the rail network for disabled people
Scottish Ministers, through Transport Scotland, work in close partnership with the Department for Transport (DfT) to identify which Scottish stations should be given priority for improving access for disabled people.
In 2006, the DfT published the Railways for All Strategy outlining the UK government's intention to improve access to the rail network for disabled people across Britain.
A key part of this strategy is the £41 million Access for All Fund and the £6 million Access for All Small Schemes fund which provides ScotRail and other partners with further investment to make smaller access improvements at a range of stations across Scotland.
Access improvements, such as the Waverley Steps and Haymarket are delivered through other projects supported by the Scottish Ministers. All new build stations such as those serving the Borders Railway are built to modern railway standards and will be wheelchair accessible.
Transport Scotland and DfT published the updated Accessible Station Design for Disabled People: A code of Practice, which details the requirements for providing accessible rail services to disabled passengers.
Progress is being made to improve the design and layout of trains for disabled and other passengers. Most trains serving Scotland will be refurbished to meet rail vehicle accessibility standards by 2020.
The class 380 trains introduced by ScotRail in 2011 were the first in Britain to comply with the new European standards for accessibility (TSI PRM).
ScotRail provides details of Scottish stations and train services and their level of accessibility. Information on ScotRail's services for disabled people is available in their Disabled Persons Protection Policy.
Scottish Rail Accessibility Forum
The Scottish Rail Accessibility Forum brings together Scotland's rail industry and disability organisations to ensure that partners work together to improve access to our rail network. Read more about the forum.
You can find more information about accessibility to the UK rail network at the Department for Transport.
DfT allocated £41m from 2006 to 2014 to Transport Scotland for increasing the number of step free railway stations in Scotland.
The aim of this programme is to create an unobstructed and obstacle free 'accessible route' within each station, from at least one station entrance, to each platform, and between platforms served by passenger trains.
The improvements at these stations are being delivered by Network Rail and further details can be found on their Access for All website.
By 2014 nineteen Scottish stations had been made step free and accessible through this fund by installing compliant footbridges served by lifts or ramps.
In December 2014 the Secretary of State for Transport announced the extension of the Access for All fund to 2019. An additional six Scottish stations were included in the increased upgrade programme.
Network Rail are now developing proposals to improve access at Blairhill, Elgin, Hamilton Central, Kilmarnock, Kilwinning and Westerton railway stations. It is anticipated that work will begin on these stations over the next couple of years.
In addition, the Access for All Small Schemes fund provides ScotRail and other partners with a further £6m of investment to make smaller access improvements at a range of stations across Scotland.
Transport Scotland has an annual budget to invest in smaller scale improvements that can be made to rail station access and passenger services.
This annual £0.8m budget is managed by ScotRail, who work in close partnership with disability organisations, such as local access panels, to deliver improvements at their stations.The aim of the fund is to improve access to stations and passenger services across the wide range of disabilities experienced by many people across Scotland.
ScotRail has delivered over £6m on a wide programme of station improvements including automatic doors, variable height ticket counters and REACT systems for blind and visually impaired people. For more details, visit First ScotRail.
The fund also supported the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) to create Stations Made Easy, an innovative online information tool to assist disabled passengers plan accessible routes around all stations in Britain.
We also funded Describe Online to create text based descriptions of almost 50 of the busiest or most important stations in Scotland.
We have approved funding for a range of projects in partnership with a number of organisations:
- ScotRail programme of works
- National Express – variable height ticket counters at Dunbar
- Describe Online – Further 22 stations
- Sign-Now.com – Rail information in British Sign Language on First ScotRail's website
- East Renfrewshire Council – Access ramp at Busby Station
- Fife Historic Society – Ramp at Burntisland
- SPT - Improvements at Buchanan St and St Enoch's Subway stations
The Scottish Rail Accessibility Forum was established to bring together representatives of the Scottish rail industry and disability organisations to discuss and advise Transport Scotland on:
- the implications of proposals arising from Department for Transport on issues relating to disabled access
- how the rail sector in Scotland is able to support disabled people to use its services and how Transport Scotland can promote this
- developments relating to the Code of Practice on Train and Station Services for Disabled Passengers and Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (RVAR)
- the continuing roll-out of the "Access for All" funding stream including the selection of stations for future development
- the development of the Transport Scotland programme of work relating to disabled access to rail services.
The Forum currently comprises:
- Transport Scotland
- First ScotRail
- East Coast
- Virgin Trains
- First Transpennine Express
- Cross Country Trains
- Network Rail
- Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (MACS)
- Passenger Focus
- Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC)
- Scottish Accessible Transport Alliance (SATA)
- Scottish Disability Equality Forum
- Inclusion Scotland
- DeafBlind Scotland
- Douglas Gilroy (Consultant, National Federation of the Blind)
If you want to know more about our work on access please contact:
58 Port Dundas Road
Glasgow G4 0HF
Tel: 0141 272 7559