Disabled access to be improved at train stations in Essex

4 April 2019, 16:15 | Updated: 4 April 2019, 16:17

Disability wheelchair icon on doorpush

Disabled access is going to be improved at 73 railway stations in Britain - including Grays and Southend East stations in Essex.

The Department for Transport says over the next five years, £300 million will go towards improvements such as installing lifts and adjustable ticket counters, to make it easier for disabled people to travel on the UK's rail network.

It's being funded through the Government's inclusive transport strategy.

Wheelchair user and disability rights campaigner Hollie Brooks from Wivenhoe, told Heart any improvements to accessibility when it comes to train travel is "fantastic" but said that staff training and trains themselves must be looked at too: "Often even though you've pre-booked tickets and pre booked your assistance, staff don't know that your'e turning up or a lot of the time staff can actually be quite patronising. There needs to be some sort of thing. where we can roll it out across the country. even if it is as simple as these are the phrases you can use and these are the ones you should avoid."

Speaking about the trains themselves she added: "Things like ramps not being available, disabled toilets not working on trains or just not having a disabled carriage as part of your train. When that happens, as a wheelchair user, you're often just stuck in the door way, which is not only dangerous, it's a fire hazard, it's not comfortable for you but you have no access to a toilet either so we need to look at how we change some of the busiest lines across the UK."

Transport Accessibility Minister Nusrat Ghani will said: "Transport is vital for connecting people with work, friends and family, but also to enable them to enjoy visiting some of the wonderful cultural, historical and natural sites across the UK.

"We want the 13.9 million disabled people in Britain to be empowered to travel independently, which is why I am delighted to announce this roll out of upgrades across the rail network.  

"Over the next five years these newly accessible stations will open up routes across the country, helping us move closer to a transport sector that is truly accessible."

All work at the stations is due to be completed by the end of March 2024 at the latest.