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National Express has held ‘try a train’

days, in which the operator chartered a service specifically for local organisations that deal with vulnerable groups. According to Sindall, this has successfully shown how the industry has improved in recent years, by encouraging passengers with a range of impairments, including mental health problems, to go back to rail or to use it for the first time. Legislation does not distinguish between

physical and mental disabilities. ‘Too often the industry’s perception of people with mental health problems is shaped by the incidence of railway suicides,’ explains Sindall. ‘In practice, many people with stress, anxiety and other related mental health disorders use our rail services without incident.’

FirstGroup says that while it is difficult

to address all aspects related to such disabilities, it issues staff guidelines on how best to deal with a range of situations. ‘ScotRail works closely with the Scottish

Consortium for Learning Disability in order to understand the challenges faced by this group of customers,’ a spokesperson for

FirstGroup says. Advance knowledge of the availability of disabled services can make the difference between rail being chosen over another form of transport. In December, Atoc launched Stations

Made Easy, which provides route planning and accessibility information to the mobility impaired online. The £1.2m project comprises 70,000 photographs taken at more than 2,500 stations to assist passengers.

Rolling stock

Stations are just part of the problem for disabled passengers, trains can be even more challenging, particularly for wheelchair users. Markin says the amount of provision for wheelchair users on rolling stock is sometimes ‘inadequate’. Small operators, in particular, struggle

to find the resources to offer a high-level of service to disabled passengers, but intercity operators sometimes push the boat out to accommodate wheelchair users. Markin singles out Virgin Trains for particular praise. Virgin offers wheelchair-accessible toilet facilities on all of its Voyager and Pendolinio

trains and if standard-class wheelchair spaces have all been reserved then an upgrade to first class will be offered automatically. One innovation that the rail industry

has introduced to help make travel easier for disabled passengers is the Disabled Persons Railcard (DPRC). Tocs co-operate to provide the card, which enables holders to claim a one-third discount on travel. The railcard is restricted to those disabled passengers who face the greatest difficulty when travelling. ‘We use proxy measures, such as receipt of Disability Living Allowance or other similar evidence for qualification purposes, but this can cause some problems,’ explains Sindall. For instance, in the past, registration as

deaf was a defining criterion but as fewer and fewer local authorities maintain a register of deaf people, additional indicators, like the use of a hearing aid, are now used. The number of railcards, which cost £18 annually, has grown from 70,000 four years ago to 125,000 now. The scheme therefore funds itself and is subject to no direct government subsidy. About three million tickets a year are sold with a DPRC discount, and that number looks set to grow.

Products and services

If you would like your product featured here call, John Bodill on 01223 273527 or email:

Thermo King

Thermo King has launched its all-new T-Series, a range of units for trucks,

offering market-leading performance. The new range uses innovative technologies to deliver the kind of performance, reliability and ease of use that operators always wish for. The T-Series delivers reduced fuel costs, whisper- quiet operation, ease of access to components for service, a cooling capacity in high ambients and unmatched ease of use. By minimising fuel consumption, energy emissions and operating noise, the T-series provides an environmentally-responsible operation.

Not only have the designers come up with a look

that reflects the innovative nature of this range, but they have made sure that T-Series exceeds expectations for bullet-proof, whisper-quiet equipment that has the cooling capacity required for multiple drops. The new range includes the T-600R, T-800R,

T-1000R and T-1200R for single temperature applications as well as the T-800R, T-1000R and T-1200R as Spectrum versions for multi-temperature applications.

l For more information, visit the website at:

PAGE 34 JUNE 2010

Carter Jonas Infrastructures

Carter Jonas is well-known through its residential and commercial property sales divisions, as well as other aspects of property consultancy. But the existence of the Infrastructures

Department (CJI) has been a well-kept secret, known only to its specialised clientele. Formed eight years ago, and driven by providing a service built on continuous improvement, CJI has achieved BS EN ISO 14001 certification, among other accreditations. This controls the environmental impacts of the company’s activities and makes a commitment that it will continually improve its environmental performance. It also applies to environmental aspects that the organisation can control and over which it can be expected to influence its client base. Over the last eight years, CJI, headed by Mark Hall- Digweed, has won several contracts with Network Rail, and other organisations, and has extended its services nationally through recently awarded Framework Agreements to the rail industry. Hall-Digweed said: ‘This new certification from BSI shows not only our commitment to sound environmental thinking on our own behalf, but also our willingness to influence the outcome of projects we service for clients.’

l For more information, contact Mark Hall- Digweed on 01793 437244 or email: mark.

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