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2019-12-19 RDG-001
Rail Delivery Group

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Accessibility letter


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Rail Delivery Group

Accessibility letter
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2019-12-19 Accessibility letter (Rail Delivery Group)

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date
19 December 2019
source Rail Delivery Group
type Statement



Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, representing rail companies, said:

“The rail industry is committed to making the railway more accessible so that everyone benefits from being able to travel by train. We are replacing half of the nation’s train fleet new for old and upgrading hundreds of existing carriages to make journeys more accessible. We are very sorry that problems with the manufacturers of new and upgraded carriages mean some have been delayed.

“Legal advice on the legislation covering the accessibility of rail replacement buses recently changed. Train companies have always done everything they can to get disabled people to their destination safely, no matter what their needs, in comfort and with dignity, including putting on accessible taxis where needed. We will continue to work with bus, coach and taxi operators to ensure that people with accessibility needs can continue their journey in a vehicle that complies with the latest regulations.”

Background information

Delays to new trains
o Manufacturers haven’t been able to meet demand and fully deliver new and refurbished trains in time.
o A delay in new train delivery has a knock-on effect as new trains always need to be tested and drivers need to be trained before we can safely and reliably introduce new rolling stock to the network.
o Some franchises have taken longer to be awarded than expected, either giving their new operators limited time to make progress or giving their existing operators late notice compliance requirements.
o In some cases, it’s a choice between running the trains and extra services that the new timetable demands or ensuring every single one is PRM compliant but reducing capacity and increasing crowding on the network.

Rail replacement services
o Three months ago, the regulator changed its legal advice regarding the application of accessibility regulations originally passed 15 years ago and due to come into effect on 1 January 2020. The new provisional legal advice means there are not enough compliant vehicles available for train operators to hire.
o Previously, it was understood that train operators had to make reasonable endeavours to secure accessible rail replacement services and provide accessible taxis where they could not. The new guidance requires train operators to ensure all rail replacement coach services travelling over 15 miles and carrying more than 22 passengers are accessible. Only 5% of accessible coaches in Britain are available for train operators to hire.
o Rail companies are working with coach companies to ensure accessible replacement services can be provided as soon as reasonably possible.


Railhub Archive ::: 2019-12-19 RDG-001





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