'Step-free railway stations' target to be missed by 40 years

18 December 2019, 00:20

Charities want all stations to be step-free
Charities want all stations to be step-free. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Plans to make all railway stations in Britain fully accessible by 2030 are set to be missed by 40 years, a disability charity has said.

Leonard Cheshire has claimed that all stations will not be step free until 2070 if the current rate of enhancement work continues.

The charity warned that the inaccessibility of stations is stopping wheelchair users from travelling by train.

Out of the 2,579 stations in Britain, around 980 are still not step-free.

Research by Leonard Cheshire found that of these 980 stations, step-free work is only being completed at 19 per year.

This is despite the Government publishing an inclusive transport strategy in July 2018 with a commitment to make services "fully accessible for all passengers by 2030".

980 railway stations are still not step-free
980 railway stations are still not step-free. Picture: PA

Leonard Cheshire chief executive Neil Heslop said: "This is a timely reminder that our current rail network often excludes disabled people from making journeys others take for granted.

"As families look to enjoy the festive season together, accessibility issues will add unnecessary stress to disabled travellers who negotiate a substandard network every day.

"We call on Boris Johnson to prioritise the acceleration of Access for All, so disabled people can enjoy the life opportunities provided through modern, accessible rail travel."

The Government's Access for All programme was launched in 2006 and has led to step-free access being introduced at more than 200 stations.