Bristol Temple Meads Station on the Great Western Railway, via Istock

Bristol Temple Meads set to accommodate for the visually impaired

Bristol Sight Loss Council (BSLC) have collaborated with Network Rail to champion social inclusion for disabled passengers, enhancing accessibility at Bristol Temple Meads station to assist blind and partially sighted people with wayfinding ahead of the International Day of Disabled Persons on Saturday 3rd December.

Bristol Temple Meads has become more difficult to navigate for the blind and partially sighted people since the start of Network Rail’s work to renovate the station’s historic train shed roof. The necessary scaffolding towers have resulted in one way access in certain parts of the station, with other areas being completely closed off for access until the scaffolding can be removed.

To combat this accessibility issue, Network Rail have worked with BSLC to craft an audio guide of the station that will aid passengers in traversing the infrastructure. This marks the first time in which such a tool has been made available for any Network Rail managed station, opening the door to further implementation of this accessibility boosting tech.

Councillor Don Alexander, Bristol City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, said:

“I’d like to congratulate Network Rail, together with the Bristol Sight Loss Council, for developing this detailed audio guide. I hope it will be useful for blind and partially sighted visitors, helping them to travel independently to Bristol and beyond.”

The guide comprises 12 audio files, housed on a dedicated page on the Network Rail website and easily accessible from any personal device, such as a smartphone or tablet. Each file will guide the listener safely through a section of the station, making it far easier to navigate for blind and partially sighted people.

Bernadette Sachse, Network Rail’s station manager for Bristol Temple Meads, said:

“I’m so proud of the work we’ve done with Bristol Sight Loss Council to launch this audio guide, which will help to ensure that our station remains as accessible as possible for all passengers, especially during the roof works

“We want everyone to feel welcome at our stations and are constantly looking to improve accessibility for people who experience disability. Alongside the audio guide, all our station signage has been designed in high contrast so that it can be more easily read. We install tactile paving on our platforms to improve safety and have ensured that Bristol Temple Meads can be easily navigated by those using a wheelchair.

“It’s been fantastic to work with the Sight Loss Council, who have tested the audio guide to make sure that it’s as user friendly as possible. I hope that this useful tool allows people to feel more confident in using our railway.”

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