West Coast Railways Disability Policy
Disabled People Protection Policy
Background to Operation
The West Coast Railway Company (WCRC) was, in 1998, granted a licence for the operation of steam and diesel hauled heritage and charter services over Network Rail controlled infrastructure.
The WCRC do not own or operate any stations. Station access for our train services are leased from the appropriate train operator or Network Rail.
People with disabilities frequently use our train services. The level of use varies, as does the nature of the disabilities encountered. Where possible we would prefer advance notification, so the company can cater appropriately for customer needs, however, our wish to operate a ‘turn up and travel’ service on the Fort William – Mallaig route can, on occasion, conflict with our desire to provide for the needs of people with disabilities, particularly when prior notice has not been given.
The company frequently operates train services for 3rd party customers. In the majority of cases, these trains are managed by the charterer, who is responsible for producing publicity and information, facilitating ticket sales, and providing stewarding of trains, together with assistance for people with disabilities. We will encourage charterers of our services to respond to the needs of people with disabilities by abiding where reasonably practicable with this policy.
Third party customers will be made aware of this policy through our standard contractual arrangements and of the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
WCRC acknowledges that it has an anticipatory duty to seek to improve services for people with disabilities.
Our carriages were built in the 1950s and 1960s and were not designed to accommodate wheelchairs and it is not possible to take a wheelchair into the seating area. Access to the seating areas and toilets is through narrow doorways.
We will however, do our utmost to assist passengers whose mobility is impaired wherever possible.
We will try to allocate seats that are nearest to doors and facilities.
We will try to store fold up, portable wheelchairs.
Whilst we cannot guarantee to provide physical assistance to help people get to their seats, our on board staff will, if requested, do their best to help in any way that they can.
All of our trains do carry wheelchair ramps for use in an emergency, a ramp can also be requested when booking your seats over the telephone if required to aid a passenger to walk onto the train.
We are sorry but we cannot carry motorised vehicles on our trains.
Some of the platforms are much shorter than our trains which may necessitate walking through a number of carriages when boarding or alighting, in addition the platforms at some remote stations are rather low or accessible only by a footbridge. These points should be borne in mind for passengers who may have a mobility issue.
The WCRC is committed to maintaining and where practicable, improving the accessibility for people with disabilities on the services we operate.
The company will liaise with station operators and Network Rail, to ensure that the needs of passengers with disabilities are met, and that appropriate access can be gained to our train services.
On The Jacobite, the Scarborough Spa Express and other services we operate, we will ensure that when passengers with disabilities require assistance off trains at the final destination, they will receive this within 10 minutes of arriving.
The WCRC will encourage all 3rd parties who use the West Coast Railway Company as their operator to abide with the conditions and requirements of this policy.
In the event of the failure of any of our services, we will ensure that suitable accessible onwards transport will be available if required by any passengers with disabilities on the service.
Every WCRC train has a steward allocated to each coach. The steward is there specifically to offer assistance to passengers getting on and off the train and to help with locating allocated seats.
Passengers with disabilities are encouraged to identify themselves to the Train Guard or Coach Stewards
Should passengers have any concerns they are encouraged to discuss these with the Train Guard or their Coach Steward who will be able to offer guidance and reassurance.
Information for People with Disabilities.
For more detailed information about our services, please telephone 01524 732100 between the hours of 0900-1630 on weekdays. We are pleased to communicate via the BT Typetalk service, from a Textphone enter 18001 before the number shown above.
Alternatively, you may fax us on 01524 735518.
An email facility is also available to assist people with communication difficulties in making enquiries. firstname.lastname@example.org
Should WCR receive notice in advance that passengers with disabilities require assistance, WCR will inform station staff as to passenger requirements and request that assistance details are put onto the DPRS.
Advance booking for people with disabilities will be encouraged, to enable more effective planning and allocation of resources.
Whilst the WCRC are not directly responsible for the operation of any passenger stations, our services call at stations operated by a variety of Train Operators where which a station access fee is paid by the WCRC.
We will continue to liaise with station operators, to determine the level of facilities available for people with disabilities, for example, step free access to platforms and the availability of wheelchair ramps and accessible toilets. Where appropriate, we will arrange for assistance to be provided to other forms of transport if that is required (e.g. to a taxi, coach or ferry).
A primary function of the services of the WCRC is to provide a nostalgic journey experience for our customers. This is facilitated by using a substantial fleet of rolling stock, most of which was designed, before the need to provide easy access for people with disabilities was fully recognised.
The WCRC will encourage charterers to ensure that the stock proposed for use is suitable for the needs of people with disabilities. In the event of the need to convey a wheelchair passenger in the guards van on a train, we will use reasonable endeavours to ensure that it is clean, lit and heated. All WCRC passenger trains carry a portable wheelchair ramp.
Currently, we regret that we are unable to convey powered scooters on the services we operate.
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West Coast Railways
Fax: 01524 735518