An Accessible Railway Would Get More Than 50,000 Disabled People Into Work

RAIL Branson 1...Handout picture released Tuesday June 5, 2001 of a Voyager diesel train which Sir Richard Branson hopes will kick start a "rail renaissance". He hopes that the new 125 mph trains will drastically cut journey times on Virgin Rail's two routes - West Coast main line and CrossCountry (correct). Complete with airline-style audio entertainment at every seat, the Voyager trains are being introduced initially on the CrossCountry Birmingham-Reading-Brighton route to beat heavy road congestion in the area. The trains, which have an on-board shop to replace the old-style buffet, will carry passengers on a local shuttle service between Birmingham and Reading and from July 22 they will become part of the Birmingham-Brighton timetable. See PA story RAIL Branson. PA photo: Handout/Virgin.


An accessible rail system must be prioritised as part of the economic recovery from Covid-19, says disability charity Leonard Cheshire. At present, 41% of railway stations in Britain are still not step-free and the Government is still set to miss its 2030 target on creating step-free journeys for disabled people by 40 years (2070).

Our latest study has revealed that more than 50,000 disabled people could get jobs if Britain had an accessible rail system.

Our research shows that 51,000 disabled individuals have turned down a job offer due to a lack of accessibility on the railway – 24,000 were actively seeking work, 27,000 said they would like to work.

Economic modelling* revealed subsequent benefits to the Exchequer would be as much as £900m if all 51,000 found work, with a potential output (GVA) boost of £2.5bn.

An estimated £4.3bn is needed for creating step-free access to platform level for disabled people across the rail network – a fraction of overall transport capital spending – and just a single year of spending on High Speed 2.

The cost to create step-free access represents just 2% of current transport capital investment.


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Updated: 3rd January 2021 — 7:51 am

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