Latest Rail News

28.07.20

All of Britain’s rail companies to adopt Sunflower lanyard scheme

Network Rail and all of Britain’s train operators have signed up to the Sunflower scheme, which aims to help people with non-visible disabilities to discreetly let others know that they may need more support, time or assistance.

The scheme comes as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ people, some of whom may wish to use the Sunflower lanyards and cards, are expected to no longer be asked to shield and so may be considering taking the train.

LNER was the first train company to adopt the scheme in April 2019 and issued more than 10,000 sunflower lanyards during the first 12 months.

Southeastern also piloted it from October last year together with a similar initiative for people with non-visible disabilities, the JAM card.

c2c, ScotRail, TransPennine Express, Avanti West Coast, Hull Trains, Greater Anglia, Transport for Wales Rail and Eurostar all joined the scheme earlier this year. Now, all train operators are working together to recognise the Sunflower and improve train travel for people with non-visible disabilities.

Staff across operators in England, Scotland and Wales are being trained to identify when people choose to wear the lanyard or show a card, with further training around accessibility and inclusion. This scheme comes as part of a wider programme to make the railway more accessible for more people.

8,000 new, more accessible train carriages are set to be delivered by 2025 alongside delivering investment in accessibility improvements at stations.

Staff are also being given additional advice on how to support disabled passengers in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.

Robert Nisbet, Director of Nations and Regions at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “We want the railway to be accessible for everyone. The Sunflower scheme can help people with non-visible disabilities feel more confident asking for assistance, whether that’s to buy a ticket, find their way or get reassurance that the next train is theirs.

“Passengers returning to train travel after lockdown will also benefit from wider staff training to improve disability awareness and the 8,000 new, more accessible train carriages we are introducing by 2025.”

Accessibility Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: "Our railways must be open to everyone, and the Sunflower lanyard is a brilliant initiative to help passengers with non-visible disabilities travel with confidence across the rail network.

"As restrictions ease, and more and more people gradually return to the railway, it is more important than ever that we consider those around us when we travel by train. That includes passengers with non-visible disabilities who may be exempt from wearing a face covering."

Images: Rail Delivery Group 

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