What Is Proposed?
SENRUG believes every station should have, as a minimum, level access to all platforms, seating and shelters on all platforms, timetables displayed on all platforms and some means of communicating live train running information with passengers. This could be a Customer Information System, Help Point or alternative technology. It should not depend on customers being able or willing to use mobile phones.
Larger stations such as Morpeth which serve inter-city trains should also have a staffed ticket office, waiting room and customer toilet (and baby change facilities), which should be open throughout the day eg from 06:00 to 17:30 and an ATM cash machine.
Passengers should be able to reach platforms at any station without using steps. This is needed not just for those with mobility problems, but also for children in buggies and travellers with luggage. All passengers should also be able to check timetable information, shelter from the elements whilst waiting for a train and to be advised if for any reason their train is not going to arrive on schedule.
Passengers travelling on inter-city trains, where journeys might typically be 3 or 4 hours, expect access to a waiting room, toilet and baby change facilities before they travel. Inter-city passengers are more likely to wish to buy their ticket from a staffed ticket office rather than a machine due to the range of different tickets available, all with different conditions. Additionally, passengers travelling on inter-city trains need more specific advice in the event of disruption, such as whether tickets will be accepted on alternative routes, and deferment of travel, than are given through automated systems.
SENRUG believes the DfT should make it a franchise commitment for the train companies to provide a minimum set of facilities at each station they manage. The minimum set of facilities could vary by class of station, but attention should be given to the requirements of a station managed by a local train operator but which also serves inter-city trains.
SENRUG understands Rail North are drawing up such a list of minimum station facilities. SENRUG believes the specific facilities it has mentioned should be included in Rail North’s list, and provision of these facilities should be a mandatory requirement for train operators to provide, not just a recommendation.
Thanks to SENRUG’s campaigns and lobbying, both Morpeth and Cramlington station now have a CIS (Customer Information Screens) system and PA announcements. At Morpeth, Greater Morpeth Development Trust (GMDT) are leading on the renovation of the derelict station buildings which will create a bistro style café faciity for the benefit of rail passengers and non rail users alike. At SENRUG’s request, Northern are now looking at significantly increasing the hours at which Morpeth station is staffed which will increase the opening hours of the toilet and waiting room.
Northern have now advised SENRUG that once the station building renovation work is complete (expected March 2020), they will be staffing the ticket office from 06:15 to 17:30 on Mondays to Fridays and from 06:15 to 12:45 on Saturdays. It will however continue to be closed evenings, all day Sundays and Saturday afternoons. It is not yet clear as to whether there will be access to the Waiting Room and Toilet when the Ticket Office is closed.