It has recently been brought to my attention by the campaign group Guide Dogs that both West Ruislip and Hatch End Stations in the constituency do not have warning tactile at the edge of their platforms. I know that this is both a vital orientation and safety measure that warns the blind and partially sighted, who are so reliant on public transport to travel, when they are close to the platform edge.
I understand that Network Rail has committed to the installation of warning tactile on all platforms by 2029. Whilst I welcome that this issue is being treated as a priority, nine years is too long for visually impaired people to wait for measures to be put in place that help with their orientation and safety whilst travelling.
As such, I recently wrote to the Chair of Network Rail, Sir Peter Hendy, to request for Network Rail’s commitment to install warning tactile on West Ruislip and Hatch End stations by 2026 to make travel safer for my constituents.
I am pleased to have received a reassuring response from Network Rail outlining their commitment to achieving their goals faster, and are working with the Department for Transport on proposals to help fund and deliver this. I will ensure that I raise the importance of this issue with the Department and will continue to follow all developments in this area closely.
You can find both the response from Network Rail and my original letter to Sir Peter Hendy below.
Response from Network Rail:
"Thank you for the attached correspondence to Sir Peter Hendy in respect of tactile paving on the platforms at West Ruislip and Hatch End stations in your constituency. I want to update you about what we are doing to allow all passengers to travel safely, independently and with confidence, including those who are blind or partially sighted.
We are working with colleagues across the rail industry to make sure that, as we rebuild from Covid, the railway is even more accessible - including going much further to roll-out platform tactile paving surfaces across the network. To this end, we've already completed tactile paving installations at 1,436 stations nationwide and plan to introduce them in a further 209 stations nationally by 2022. But we know we must go further if we're to realise our ambition of a truly inclusive and accessible railway.
We've worked on the basis of all operational platforms being paved by April 2029, subject to funding being agreed with the Department for Transport (DfT). But, recognising the urgency of this issue, we want to achieve this faster, and we're already working with the DfT on proposals to help fund and deliver this. Any support you can offer by raising concerns with the Secretary of State would certainly help to highlight this important issue.
We are also working with our train operator partners to determine how to prioritise which stations receive tactile paving, making sure that safety and accessibility for all passengers is at the heart of our decision-making.
I hope this information is useful but please let me know if you need anything further."