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24 August 2021

Glaucoma UK supports campaign calling for Network Rail and the Department for Transport to address rail safety faster

Originally published in the Summer 2021 edition of Insight, our quarterly membership magazine.

train station

In the last edition of Insight, we shared the sad news that Cleveland Gervais, a partially sighted man, was tragically killed last year by an oncoming train after falling from a platform without tactile paving at Eden Park Station in South East London.

A report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), found that the lack of tactile surfacing was a likely key factor in Cleveland’s death.

In response, 11 organisations including Glaucoma UK have signed a joint statement which calls on Network Rail and the Department for Transport to urgently install warning tactile surfacing on railway platforms in Britain.

While the organisations who have signed the joint statement welcome Network Rail’s commitment to installing tactile surfacing across all operational platforms, we’re asking for their current timeframe for completion by 2029 to be brought forward.

Blanche Shackleton, Head of Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns at Guide Dogs says,

“The current timeframe from Network Rail is hugely disappointing and doesn’t recognise the urgency of the situation. Tactile surfacing is a vital safety measure for everyone. Evidence from America shows us that when tactile surfacing was introduced, people falling from platforms was reduced by 65% among those with sight loss and 45% for the general public. We cannot wait until 2029 for platform safety.”

The Department for Transport and Treasury also have a role to play in increasing the pace of funding releases to Network Rail so tactile surfacing can be installed in all stations as a matter of urgency.

The following organisations have added their names to the joint statement in support: Disability Rights UK, Glaucoma UK, Guide Dogs, Leonard Cheshire, Macular Society, Retina UK, Sense, Thomas Pocklington Trust, The MS Society, The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and Visionary.