Following the success of their trip with Southern Railway in April last year, a group from Possability People attended their third 'Try a Train' event from Brighton to Hampden Park via Eastbourne, hosted by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR).
Possability People is a Brighton-based charity supporting disabled people and people who have long-term health conditions or impairments to live more independently.
The day was led by GTR’s Train Presentation Manager, Anthony Dowsett and supported by colleague Ros Glossop. People with different disabilities from Possability People were able to carry out an access review of Eastbourne station and suggest solutions to help improve customer experience by using their own lived experience of disability. The group assessed everything from toilet facilities and café access to parking, signage and seating.
Lilly Kennard, Engagement and Inclusion Manager for Possability People said: “The Try a Train days provide an important direct link between disabled people and GTR/Southern Railway for disabled people to have their voices heard on the issues they face when accessing train services, and what would help overcome these barriers to improve overall experience and accessibility for all.
“Through utilising disabled peoples’ experiences to provide solutions on how to make train travel better and easier to access for everyone, we are able to raise awareness directly with the train company on people’s problems, and how making small changes can make a big difference to enabling people to use trains more confidently and independently. All the suggestions have been collated into a report with recommendations for GTR to act upon and help improve accessibility for all,” she added.
GTR’s Train Presentation Manager, Anthony Dowsett, said: "It was great to take a third group out under the ‘Try a Train’ initiative. Now a firm fixture in our calendar, we are committed to help people with accessibility needs build confidence in using our network.”
Antony Merlyn, GTR’s Accessibility Manager, added: “The group made some valuable observations on facilities during their trip which is really helpful for our teams as we make sure our network is accessible for all.”
Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:
- Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
- Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
- Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
- Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria