Agenda item

Rail Accessibility Task and Finish Group

To agree the Terms of Reference for the Task and Finish Group to develop a prioritised action plan.

Lead: David Worsley


4.1             The Chair highlighted that accessibility to stations is of fundamental importance to many residents that Members represent including disabled and older people.  He stressed the importance of the industry placing a greater focus on standards of accessibility at stations and requested that Members support the establishment of a task and finish group which will  develop a plan for addressing these issues. 

He commented that the fundamental issues of accessibility need to be addressed as well as more innovative ways of funding access improvements such as through greater commercial use of stations, community use, and more devolved responsibility for managing rail stations in order to open up our rail stations to all people .

4.2          Members received the report from the Rail Strategy Manager who then outlined the key aspects of the report.


4.3          In relation to the formation of a task and finish group the Chair reminded the Committee that Cllr Swarbrick had volunteered to be a member of the group at the previous meeting and requested volunteers from the North East, Yorkshire and Humber areas.


4.4          Members were supportive of the work being undertaken with both Mayor Coppard and Mayor Driscoll stating that they would return to the Chair with nominations for the task and finish group for their areas.


The Chair stated that the Great British Rail Transition Team and Network Rail would also be involved in the group.  He then outlined what he believs the group needs to do, stating the need  to look at practical issues in order to make progress. He then highlighted the importance of the role of the industry in doing this and emphasised the need to work differently.  He added that the industry can be difficult to work with in relation to enhancing rail stations which need adaptations and stated that a clear message needs to be sent to them that a different and more flexible approach is required so that  these issues can be dealt with urgently.  

4.5          Mayor Rotheram suggested that train manufactures need to be invited on to the group as there are still manufacturers building rolling stock with step access.  He then highlighted the positive work in the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority on this matter and shared his ambition for a fully accessible network in the area.  He added that they have built a new station which not only takes into consideration people with mobility issues but also factors such as neuro diversity and audio and visual impairments and believes that this is the model that all stations should be working towards.


4.6          The Chair mapped out what he believes should be the plan for  more stations becoming accessible and the Committee addressed the issue of funding, with Mayor Rotheram highlighting the ‘access for all’ funding pot as a way of funding the required improvements, although he noted the funding quantum has not changed in a number of years.  He added that the Government will need to be asked for an increase in the quantum funding in order to increase the number of stations that can be brought up to standard more quickly.


4.7          The Chair stated that the funding arrangements position should be explored and a more devolved approach taken. He also requested that this item be a standing item on  future agendas .


1)   That the formation of a Task and Finish Group to oversee progress on the issue of accessibility be approved;

2)   That the composition of the working group be approved;

3)   That the following objectives for the member working group be approved:

·       To develop a detailed proposition for the future of accessibility at the North’s railway stations, for approval at a future Rail North Committee meeting

·       Support this proposition with a timeline and action plan.

Supporting documents: