Passengers who need help to get on and off trains at Manchester Piccadilly station now have a dedicated waiting lounge to make travelling by train a more pleasant experience.
Network Rail has invested £800,000 to create the new Assisted Travel Lounge by connecting a series of disused rooms behind the former passenger assistance waiting area near platform one.
The space has been transformed into a quiet and welcoming waiting area for passengers with additional mobility and sensory needs, with a dedicated team on hand to help.
The lounge includes:
- Accessible seating with integrated space for wheelchairs
- An accredited Changing Places toilet facility
- An accessible toilet
- A sensory space for people who find stations overwhelming
- A staffed welcome desk
- Facilities for service animals
- British Sign Language information screens
It was designed with the guidance of Manchester Piccadilly’s disability task and finish group, which includes disabled people, their carers and advocates, to ensure the space meets the needs of those who’ll use it.
The lounge is accessed through its own doors in the station’s side entrance lobby from the car park and will be open between 7.15am and 9pm from Monday to Saturday (Changing Places facility is open 24 hours a day on request).
Scott Green, Station Manager at Piccadilly, said: “It’s great to see the new Assisted Travel Lounge open and we believe it will transform the way passengers access rail travel at Manchester Piccadilly.
“For some, travelling through a busy railway station can be a very daunting experience, so these new state-of-the-art facilities will make a huge difference to them, providing a friendly space for people to wait and get the help they need from a dedicated team. It’s part of our ongoing commitment to provide the best possible service for passengers with additional mobility and sensory needs.”
Stephen Brookes MBE, Disability Rights UK rail policy adviser, said: “We continue to build on our close cooperative relationship with Network Rail and Manchester Piccadilly by being invited to give advice on all aspects of access to the station for disabled people. The success for us and indeed for Network Rail is that we help get it right from the start, so we are pleased to welcome this great facility.”
Last year, more than 75,000 people used the Assisted Travel service** at Manchester Piccadilly station.
The Network Rail station team works closely with train operators to help passengers who need assistance getting between trains and the station concourse.
Major train operators which serve Manchester Piccadilly have welcomed the opening of the new Assisted Travel Lounge for their customers.
Brandon Peat, Avanti West Coast accessibility and inclusion manager, said: “We want everyone to use the railway, so it’s great there’s now a dedicated space at Manchester Piccadilly which meets the needs of people who require assistance.
“This new lounge is the latest initiative on our route to make rail travel accessible and inclusive for all and we welcome Network Rail’s investment to improve the overall journey experience of disabled customers. We hope this space will reassure those who may need a bit of extra support that they’ll be assisted in the best possible way when travelling to and from Manchester.”
Nick Chadwick, CrossCountry’s regional director for North West & West Midlands, said: “It’s great to see the new Assisted Travel Lounge open at Manchester Piccadilly, delivering a step change in the customer service we offer to passengers requiring assistance at this key hub for the North West.
“We want to help as many passengers as possible travel with confidence on our network, so I’d invite anyone who would appreciate a helping hand at the station to come and make the most of the new facilities.”
Craig Harrop, Northern regional director, said: “We welcome the new Assisted Travel Lounge at Manchester Piccadilly. Making the railway as accessible as possible is something everyone across the industry supports and I’m pleased our passengers using the station can benefit from this new facility.”
For more information on how to book assisted travel visit: www.networkrail.co.uk/communities/passengers/planning-a-trip/assisted-travel/
Photo credit: Network Rail