Sheffield to have improved railway accessibility to help visually impaired users
Railway stations across South Yorkshire including in Sheffield are set to have better railway accessibility, thanks to a fund by government-run train operator Northern.
Northern said South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive has won funding as part of a £250,000 scheme to install tactile braille and embossed lettered wayfinding signs on handrails as well as tactile maps at selected railway stations.
These signs, said Northern, will help visually impaired rail users to navigate and will provide information about steps and ramps.
Tactile maps are set to be installed at Meadowhall and Barnsley stations, while tactile and braille labels will be installed on handrails in Darnall, Dodworth, Elsecar, Silkstone Common and Woodhouse stations.
This is a first for the UK rail industry as the successful bids were chosen by the independent Northern Accessibility User Group (NAUG) and supported by Northern.
A total of 13 winning bids from community groups and other organisations are set to receive grants of up to £50,000 from the fund to make accessibility improvements at stations in their area and make services available to anyone who may feel isolated or excluded.
Other projects across the Northern’s network will focus on installing tactile wayfinding signs for people with visual impairments, immersive maps for people with autism and station improvements such as fitting handrails and ramps.
Mark Powles Commercial and Customer Director, at Northern said: “Our customers are the heart of everything we do, and we are dedicated to making Northern’s services accessible to everyone, and a to having a positive impact for the north.
“I am happy to announce that 13 bids have been successful, and I would like to thank everyone who got in touch with us with their ideas.
The fund is part of our wider project to transform our network and encourage people to use the railway – no matter their circumstances.”
Tim Taylor, director of customer services at SYPTE said: "We are proud to be able to contribute to improving station accessibility in South Yorkshire. We hope the inclusive design of signs and maps has a positive impact for visually impaired rail users, and helps to ensure that each and every passenger can use the railway safely, confidently and independently."