Greater Anglia trains is trialling a new type of wheelchair ramp manufactured by Portaramp which is could soon be rolling out across a fleet of new trains.
Founder of Review My Wheelchair and transport professional, Dominic Lund-Conlon, visited the manufacturer with Greater Anglia to test out the prototype.
Dominic spent time testing the ramp in his wheelchair, using a mock-up platform, and assessing it for ease-of-use, stability and gradient, in conjunction with Greater Anglia representatives, design consultant Paul Stanforth of Trainways Ltd, and manufacturer, Portaramp.
The visit helped to identify adjustments and improvements that will help to ensure the ramp will enable those who need it to board and alight easily.
Dominic, Transport Project Lead, Essex County Council, and a member of Greater Anglia’s Stakeholder Equality Group, said: “Inclusive design is much more than a toilet and a wheelchair space.
“The ramps need to be suitable for all, regardless of scooter, wheelchair, walking with or without an assistance dog – by working together we are enabling every customer to get on board.”
Mandy Lancaster, general manager at Portaramp, said: “Although we work with most of the main rail operating companies, train designs differ so our ramps are designed for each specific application.
“This means each new ramp must be tested to make sure they perform as required, so having the opportunity to work directly with Dominic and to get his input has been invaluable.”
During the design process, Greater Anglia also consulted people with assistance animals to ensure the ramp meets a range of different needs.
Greater Anglia’s accessibility manager, Rebecca Richardson, said: “We’re really grateful to Dominic for working with us to ensure the new ramp will meet customers’ needs.
“The new trains will be so much better for people with mobility issues with their low floors for easy access, extra space and accessible toilets.
“We’ve worked hard and consulted every step of the way to ensure that they will offer people with mobility issues a more comfortable journey and it’s great to be able to progress the design of these ramps, which will greatly help with that.”
Greater Anglia is replacing every single train with 169 brand new trains, which will all have more seats, power and USB points, fast free wifi, air conditioning, accessible toilets, wheelchair areas and cycle spaces.
The first trains are now in East Anglia for safety and performance tests and are due to be in service from the middle of next year.