Chance for disabled people to help make East West Rail accessible to all in Aylesbury Vale and Milton Keynes

A new panel will bring in people with disabilities at the planning stage to help ensure the new service is easy for everyone to access
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Disabled people in the local area are invited to join a new panel to help ensure that East West Rail services, due to be up and running from Oxford to Bletchley in 2025, can be accessed and enjoyed by everyone.

The East West Rail Company (EWR Co) is encouraging people to apply to join its Accessibility Advisory Panel, which will provide insights on different needs, to help the company build an inclusive service along the route from Oxford to Cambridge.

The Accessibility Advisory Panel will be formed of up to eight people with a range of impairments. It will meet regularly to consider issues such as access to stations and platforms, clarity of customer information, passenger assistance and the on-board experience.

Trains are due to be up and running between Oxford and Bletchley by 2025Trains are due to be up and running between Oxford and Bletchley by 2025
Trains are due to be up and running between Oxford and Bletchley by 2025

EWR Co is setting up the panel while the route is in the early planning stages and panel members must live or work between Oxford and Cambridge.

Bletchley resident Caroline Eglinton, who has worked in the rail industry for 16 years, is Head of Inclusion for EWR Co. Caroline, who has cystic fibrosis, is also the Disability and Access Ambassador for the rail industry.

She said: "The ability to access public transport can be a huge boost to quality of life and can open up many opportunities for people, yet there are still too many who are excluded from rail travel.

"As EWR is a brand new railway, we have a rare opportunity to build a service from the outset that will be easy to access – and enjoyable to use – for everyone, no matter who they are.

Caroline Eglinton is Head of Inclusion for East West Rail CompanyCaroline Eglinton is Head of Inclusion for East West Rail Company
Caroline Eglinton is Head of Inclusion for East West Rail Company

“I’m particularly looking forward to working with passionate local people via our Accessibility Advisory Panel. They will play a unique and vital role in shaping the service from the start, so that it meets the needs of all our potential customers, helping turn our vision of a fully accessible railway into a reality.”

Rail Minister Huw Merriman said: “By directly listening to the needs of disabled people living along the route, this fantastic initiative will help to ensure that the future railway is designed to work for the people that will use it on a regular basis.”