Memorandum by Railtrack (WTC 80)
WALKING IN TOWNS AND CITIES
Railtrack owns and operates the rail infrastructure
of Great Britainthe tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges,
viaducts, level crossings and stations. We own 2,500 stations,
which are mainly leased to the train operating companies. Railtrack
owns and operates 14 Major Stations. We recognise that walking
is an essential part of most public transport journeys and that
stations form natural hubs that can be developed as transport
interchanges between transport modes.
The DETR's Encouraging Walking: advice to local
authorities sets out the need to make "sure that access to
and within stations by pedestrians is as good as access by motor
transport" (introduction), and that "organisations responsible
for design and maintenance of stations should provide safe, convenient
and well signposted access for all users, including disabled people"
(section 3.18). Railtrack sets out below the actions we have taken
to meet these objectives.
Railtrack's 14 Major Stations: Birmingham New
Street, Edinburgh Waverley, Gatwick Airport, Glasgow Central,
Leeds City, London Bridge, London Charing Cross, London Euston,
London King's Cross, London Liverpool Street, London Paddington,
London Victoria, London Waterloo, Manchester Piccadilly are visited
by 1,246,000 every day. Most visitors are passengers, some only
use station services.
Our Major Stations form the hub of an integrated
transport network. Here we have a responsibility to ensure that
all customers can access the station easily whether they arrive
by car, bus, underground, metro, bike or on foot. In addition,
if they are entering the station to begin the next phase of their
journey we need to allow them to make this transition quickly
and easily. Examples of this commitment in action in relation
to walking can be seen at Waterloo and Glasgow Central where the
introduction of new traffic management systems make stations easier
to access by road whilst at the same time allowing customers on
foot to enter the station more safely.
Railtrack has developed a series of masterplans
for Major Stations that have included provisions to improve ease
of access for pedestrians. For example at London Bridge station
one of the objectives of the masterplan is to facilitate access
for all with the installation of lifts and escalators to all levels
and with the main concourse at street level, to provide easier
access to the station facilities for passengers and the local
community. One way to calculate the benefit of these improvements
is the "walk-time cost benefit". This looks at the most
efficient use of space on a station concourse to maximise the
flow of people. At Paddington these flows have been eased by the
installation of four main departure boards, in place of one, which
should disperse crowds on the concourse. Also at Paddington a
lift has been installed between the station and underground station
that will ease the access for disabled people. At Waterloo we
have worked with Lambeth Council on a new roadway scheme that
has made accessing the station safer, with the provision of more
crossings and access to station entrances.
As outlined in chapter 3 of Encouraging Walking,
crime and the fear of crime makes people reluctant to walk, and
although the perception of crime on the railway is much greater
than the reality, we have introduced regular security patrols
at Major Stations to reassure passengers and traders.
In the past 12 months we have worked with the
British Transport Police and local communities to improve the
personal security of all station users. Under the DETR's Secure
Stations scheme, and in-keeping with the recommendation in Encouraging
Walking of stations being better designed and with better conditionsespecially
lightingto help encourage people to walk and use public
transport rather than drive (3.33), the Major Stations are assessed
by the local crime prevention officer on four main areas: station
design, station management, crime management and passenger perceptions
of station security. 11 stations have already been accredited
(Glasgow Central, Victoria, King's Cross, Charing Cross, Manchester
Piccadilly and Liverpool Street, Euston, London Bridge, Waterloo,
Paddington and Edinburgh Waverley). Our objective is to achieve
secure station awards for all 14 major stations.
Around 70 per cent of major injuries suffered
by passengers happen at stations and it is essential for us to
minimise the risks associated with the operation of such busy
locations in which the public can move freely. The biggest problem
is slips, trips and falls and we have introduced a series of measures
aimed at tackling this. Passengers at our Major Stations are reminded
never to run on the platform or down stairs or escalators and
we have a hazard reporting system which Railtrack and Train Operator
staff are urged to use.
As outlined in chapter 3 of Encouraging Walking,
simple tactical actions can make existing walking routes much
better, the example given of providing clear signs. At our Major
Stations we are introducing new signage to make it easier for
customers to find their way around. The new signs have already
been introduced at Paddington and Gatwick stations and will be
introduced at Birmingham New Street, King's Cross, Liverpool Station,
Victoria and Waterloo in due course. The remaining stations are
being completed in line with their planned redevelopment work.
In addition to signage, we are investing in new customer information
screens to deliver train information more clearly, reliably and
in more locations around the station. Paddington and Leeds have
already seen new systems installed.
For the visually impaired we are laying tactile
platform edging and installing induction loops for the hard of
hearing. For those customers who are less mobile we have purchased
a fleet of electric buggies to assist the elderly, disabled or
those with heavy luggage, these provide a valuable service for
hundreds of customers every day. Last year, requests for this
service rose by 12 per cent to 10,600 at Manchester Piccadilly
alone. At Glasgow Central station customers can transfer from
the station buggies to powered wheelchairs to do their shopping
in the city centre.
Modern facilities at stations
Railtrack has developed the concept of Modern
Facilities at Stations to focus on the improvements in facilities
needed at all stations. After consultation with train operators,
funders, other stakeholders and the Regulator, all stations were
allocated to one of six types according to its size and function.
Five themes were set out: accessibility, comfort and convenience,
integrated transport, information and communication and; safety
All stations on the network were then surveyed
and the current level of facility logged along with forecast of
what will be required to meet the aspirations of the industry
for those stations. Modern Facilities at Stations assessments
are driving the projected investment of £830 million in Major
Stations over the next five years. We are committed to using this
investment to provide social and environmental benefits within
our stations and in the wider community.
Railtrack has developed a strategy to make all
stations fully accessible to disabled people, subject to funding.
Making a station accessible includes a wide
range of facilities including provision for disabled people to
be dropped off by car, appropriate gradients on ramps, proper
access to booking offices and waiting rooms, tactile marking on
platforms, passenger operated lifts, and appropriate public information
The Regulator in his Final Determination, published
in October 2000, decided that funding the programme of access
improvements for the period 2001-06 would be through the "discretionary"
capital available to Railtrack as a result of the overall Periodic
Review conclusions. In effect, this means that train operators
will lead the decision making on where and when investment takes
place. We are now re-visiting our disability strategy and working
with our rail industry partners to identify a way forward.
Railtrack recognises that for the successful
delivery of an integrated transport vision requires all responsible
for transport planning and provision to work together to achieve
this. Railtrack is working with SUSTRANS to improve access to
stations for pedestrians and cyclists. We have been supporting
the DETR "Better routes to stations" initiative and
supported train operator tenants with this. Railtrack has played
an active role in the development of Local Transport Plans. Our
regional zones work with county councils, passenger transport
authorities and unitary authorities on the development of partnership
projects some of which include pedestrian benefits. For example
at Hitchin station there have been forecourt and interchange improvements,
these have included a safer route for pedestrian access, jointly
funded with the local authority.
Encouraging Walking suggests actions
to provide the provision of high quality networks to "improve
links between walking and other modes of transport within the
network" and "make access to transport interchanges
easy, safe, convenient and well signposted for all users, including
disabled people" (page 24). Through our Major Stations, Modern
Facilities at Stations initiative and secure station accreditation
Railtrack has demonstrated that it is meeting these recommendations.