A NEW map is being launched by local rail operators, to make train travel more accessible to help boost people's confidence to travel by train.

The new ‘Access Map’ has information about all stations across Britain and allows people to, at a glance, identify whether any station in the country is accessible so they can plan according to their needs.

The map will show whether stations have step free or partial step free access; what facilities are available at a station, including accessible toilets and changing places and where alternative accessible stations are situated.

According to London Northwestern Railway and West Midlands Railway, the main train operators in the West Midlands, 85% of the train operators stations are already step free, with a number of current and future projects to make further stations accessible to all.

A new door-to-door travel planning service called 'Ask Annie' is also being trialled, to improve travel confidence for the over 65's and those who are not familiar with using public transport on a regular basis.

Robert Nisbet, Director, Regions & Nations at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Our new map will help to boost passengers’ confidence when they travel by train, eliminating the element of surprise and giving them the reassurance that comes with planning a journey and knowing what to expect.

“We know we need to go further and the rail industry is driving bigger changes to make the railway accessible for everyone. We’re investing billions of pounds into thousands of more accessible carriages, developing an app to speed up booking assistance, and upgrading infrastructure to make stations across the country more accessible.”

The Rail Delivery Group worked in collaboration with train companies and the Department for Transport to create Access Map.

Transport Accessibility Minster Nusrat Ghani said: “I am delighted to see this new interactive map launched, marking an important step towards our aim of providing disabled passengers with the information they need to travel independently – a key commitment in our Inclusive Transport Strategy. However, we know there is more to do, which is why earlier this month we announced the 73 stations across the country which will receive a share of £300 million Access for All funding to improve disabled access.”

Accessibility Campaigner Sarah Ward said: “Knowing in advance what features are at a station before I get there increases my confidence hugely. I think the map will be beneficial for a whole range of people. The more information you can have before you travel, the easier it is. The rail industry has delivered over £500million of accessibility improvements since 2006, with 75% of journeys now made through step-free stations.