Accessibility targets for Wales’ trains branded ‘impossible’

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The recommendations set out by the Welsh Government aimed at improving accessibility across the rail network in Wales have been described as “daunting” and “impossible”.

A new report claimed that 70% of Wales and Border trains would be unable to meet new regulations by 2020 after a petition backed by charity Whizz-Kidz called for better access for disabled passengers.  

Arriva Trains Wales, which currently holds the franchise for the Welsh rail network, has already begun modifying its trains and installing better access solutions.

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The report states that there are issues with doors, ramps and wheelchair spaces given that Arriva’s newest trains are already 20 years old.

The Welsh Government is currently talking to four other train operators and a new contract is expected to be awarded next year. But until this happens no major accessibility changes are likely to be made.

Cabinet Secretary Ken Skates told the committee: “It’s my view that as part of the open dialogue that we’re having with bidders, disabled passengers’ needs are fully addressed,” according to a BBC report.

But the committee’s report said: “The timescale (for delivery by 2020) appears extremely daunting, if not impossible.

“We stress that the issue is not simply one of legal compliance, but, critically, one of ensuring that a major element of public transport is accessible to everyone.”

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