Buxton, via Northern

Northern pilot dementia accessibility scheme through new signage implementation

The train operator Northern is actively creating a more accessible and passenger friendly network as it has unveiled the first ‘dementia-friendly’ signage at one of its stations in Derbyshire.

Working alongside the Friends of Buxton Station and local dementia support groups, the pilot scheme has been designed to ensure that people suffering from dementia are able to traverse the stations with ease. This is achieved through fewer signs to avoid ‘information overload,’ strategic placement of signs at important ‘decision points’ and wider use of symbols to reinforce the wording chosen.

This pilot follows the approach of Dave Carlisle, chairman of the Friends of Buxton Station, to Northern for funding granted from the operator’s Accessibility fund. This comes as something of a passion project for Mr Carlisle, who expressed that he was compelled to action after having seen a plethora of rail users struggling to understand some of the signs and instructions at railway stations.

Chris Jackson, regional director for Northern, said:

 “We’re really pleased to get this pilot scheme off the ground – which has already been recognised by the Community Rail Network for influencing positive change.

“Small alterations can make a huge difference to someone living with dementia and the feedback from rail users at Buxton Station will help inform future station improvements across the network.

“I’d like to thank the Friends of Buxton Station for championing this issue and working so closely with us on this pilot scheme.”

To ensure this project can achieve optimal results, Northern and the Friends of Buxton Station are encouraging local dementia support groups and individuals on the deployment of the scheme to provide their feedback where possible, creating an ergonomic design to serve the public.

This scheme is a welcomed addition to train stations across the north, as it will contribute to bringing passengers back to rail after the recent decline in travel numbers due to the pandemic restrictions. As UK rail recuperates in lost revenue and commuting levels, championing the progression of accessibility measures will be transformative to encouraging people back to the railways.

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