Monday 17 Jan 2022
Plans revealed for new Manchester Piccadilly Assisted Travel Lounge
Plans have been revealed for a new Assisted Travel Lounge at Manchester Piccadilly station for passengers who need help to get on and off their train.
Network Rail is investing £800,000 to transform a disused room near platform one into a quiet and welcoming waiting space for people with additional mobility and sensory needs, served by a dedicated team of staff to help them.
It will include:
- Accessible seating and seven wheelchair bays
- An accredited Changing Places toilet facility*
- A sensory space for people who find stations overwhelming
- A staffed welcome desk
- A water bowl for service dogs
Work on the new lounge will start in June and is expected to be complete by the autumn.
It’s being designed with the guidance of Manchester Piccadilly’s disability task and finish group.
This includes disabled people, their carers and advocates, to ensure the space meets the needs of those who’ll use it.
Maisie Hogan, Network Rail sponsor for the project, said: “It’s a priority for Network Rail to provide first-class service to our customers. Travelling through a busy railway station can be daunting for those with additional needs but the new Assisted Travel Lounge will provide a friendly space for people to wait and get the help they need from a dedicated team. It will transform the way passengers access rail travel at Manchester Piccadilly.”
Stephen Brookes MBE, rail policy adviser at Disability Rights UK, said: “We welcome the provision of a new Assisted Travel Lounge at Manchester Piccadilly station. Major rail stations are intimidating places for many rail passengers and for those with a range of disabilities the experience can even put some of us ‘off’ using rail travel, so the fact that the design and location of this important facility involved the views and requirements of a group of disabled people is a significant move towards future cooperation on such projects across the rail network.”
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “It’s encouraging to see a key station in central Manchester deliver a facility that will benefit many passengers from within and outside of the region.
“TfGM have been working in partnership with Network Rail and local train operators for a number of years on various accessibility and inclusivity initiatives and, although we are pleased to see this valuable facility being installed in Manchester Piccadilly, there is still a long way to go to ensure that all stations across our city-region are accessible to all.”
Assisted travel is offered to all passengers who need help getting between trains and the station concourse.
Last year, nearly 22,300 people used the service at Manchester Piccadilly station. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the figure was around 44,500.
For more information on how to book assisted travel visit: www.networkrail.co.uk/communities/passengers/planning-a-trip/assisted-travel/
Major train operators which serve Manchester Piccadilly have welcomed news of the Assisted Travel Lounge investment for their passengers.
Brandon Peat, accessibility and inclusion manager for Avanti West Coast, said: “We want everyone to use the railway and we welcome Network Rail’s work to provide a space that meets the needs of people who require assistance.
“This investment in a new Assisted Travel Lounge highlights the industry’s commitment to making rail travel accessible and inclusive for all and this lounge will help improve the overall journey experience for disabled customers when travelling to and from Manchester.”
Kathryn O’Brien, customer experience director for TransPennine Express said: “The introduction of a brand new Assisted Travel Lounge is excellent news for rail customers, and will make a real difference in making Manchester Piccadilly more inclusive for all.”
Chris Jackson, regional director for Northern, said: "The installation of a dedicated Assisted Travel Lounge at Manchester Piccadilly is fantastic news and will be another positive enhancement for the station.
"Great progress has been made to make the railway as inclusive and welcoming as possible and I'm sure our customers will welcome the new facilities on offer."
John Robson, CrossCountry regional director North West and West Midlands, said: “CrossCountry welcomes this new facility which will ensure we can continue to provide the best possible service to those of our customers who need it most. A safe place to wait and qualified staff to hand makes the difference to a customer’s journey. It can allay fears and promote confidence when travelling.”
In addition, passengers are reminded about work to replace the lift which provides step-free access to platforms 13 and 14 at Manchester Piccadilly station which is starting later this month.
Work to the lift begins on Monday 31 January 2022 and takes place until Monday 16 May 2022.
For more information on this project please visit: www.networkrail.co.uk/ManPicLift.
Notes to Editors
* Standard accessible toilets do not meet the needs of all disabled people.
A Changing Places toilet facility has:
- a height-adjustable adult-sized changing bench
- a ceiling mounted hoist
- a centrally placed toilet with space either side
- non-slip floor
- a height-adjustable washbasin
- an emergency alarm
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About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.