Report calls for rails operators to provide ‘step-free’ access for disabled train users.

A report released by a charity which supports wheelchair users, has found that over a quarter of train stations in the east of England present difficulties to those with mobility struggles due to a lack of step-free access.

The charity, Leonard Cheshire, says the lack of access means disabled people may be prevented from travelling independently.

The report found that even at those stations with step-free access, a stair climbing aid or mobility ramp was required to support the person from platform to train.

What’s more, as with most stations throughout the UK, extra assistance must be booked in advanced. Those with disabilities, or without access to a wheelchair stair climber are not only unable to travel on a whim but have restricted employment opportunities due to limited accessibility.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We are determined to make sure that our railways are accessible to everyone, which is why we have already invested to deliver accessible routes and step-free access at nearly 2,000 stations around the country.

“But we recognise there is more to be done, which is why we launched our Inclusive Transport Strategy earlier this year and are committing further funding to deliver enhancements at railway stations until at least 2024.”

Alarmingly, the report stated that over a third of wheelchair users have found difficulty using the rail network. Step-access and stair-climbing aids such as mobility stair climbers will significantly reduce this figure and more importantly enable those with a disability to travel freely as and when they want.

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