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Rail Station Accessibility

Volume 663: debated on Thursday 18 July 2019

You may have noticed, Mr Speaker, that most of our rail infrastructure is Victorian. That is why we have made £300 million available for the Access for All programme, which will cover 73 stations over the next five years. We are also seeking nominations for £20 million of funding for smaller-scale accessibility improvements for the mid-tier Access for All programme.

I thank my constituency neighbour for her response. Many MPs across the House met the Office of Rail and Road this week. We were delighted to hear that it fed into the Williams review that it thinks passenger assistance notice should be reduced from 24 hours to the same day. Does she agree that it should be possible for everybody, including those with mobility issues, to wake up in the morning and decide to use the train later that day?

I agree with my constituency neighbour. As a member of the Transport Committee, he will have heard a lot of evidence about how we can use new technology to make our rail network even more accessible. I have tasked the Rail Delivery Group with looking at the Passenger Assist app, so that it works in a way that he and I would accept, with live, up-to-date information about what is accessible on trains, including toilets, and the services needed in between.

May I press the Minister on accessibility? One thing that could be done to improve station safety is the closure of dangerous level crossings, including the one at Pencoed in my constituency. This has been an issue for years. There is support from the Welsh Government and local authorities. Following the feasibility study by Bridgend County Borough Council, we need the DFT to allocate some funding, to ensure that the crossing is closed and new disability access is included.

If funding was denied in the last round of Access for All allocation, another application can be made. If not, I suggest that an application is made with match funding for the next tier of Access for All funding.