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GWR recognised for making train travel more autism accessible

From June last year, GWR has rolled out a series of modifications specifically to aid autistic customers <i>(Image: GWR)</i>
From June last year, GWR has rolled out a series of modifications specifically to aid autistic customers (Image: GWR)

Great Western Railway (GWR) has been recognised by The National Autistic Society for making train travel more accessible for people with autism.

The society applauded the train operator for introducing several autism-friendly changes, particularly at stations in the western region of its network.

From June last year, GWR has rolled out a series of modifications specifically to aid autistic customers.

These changes include over 700 staff members between Plymouth and Penzance undergoing autism awareness training.

GWR has also implemented a sound-series created to help autistic travellers understand the various noises they might hear during a train journey, as well as virtual video tours of stations to aid navigation before arrival, and sensory packs filled with tools to make travel easier.

Additionally, provision has been made for ear defenders at staffed stations, to assist passengers who may experience sensory overload or over-stimulation.

GWR also continues to promote its 'Try a Train' program aimed at building travel confidence among groups and individual travellers.

Falmouth Packet: From June last year, GWR has rolled out a series of modifications specifically to aid autistic
Falmouth Packet: From June last year, GWR has rolled out a series of modifications specifically to aid autistic

Dan Pearce, GWR's senior accessibility mentor, said: "We at GWR are committed to our customers, helping all those who wish to travel by train to be able to do so.

"This includes working to provide as accessible and supportive environment as we are able to - recognising everyone has different needs and expectations.

"This award recognises the work we have done to better accommodate the needs of autistic people, and we will continue to look for opportunities to extend these tools across our network and make the railway accessible for all."

These progressive changes deployed at some central and western parts of GWR's network form a two-year trial.

GWR's commendable commitment towards creating an inclusive travel environment has been seen positively by Christine Flintoft-Smith, head of autism accreditation at the National Autistic Society.

She said: "We'd like to congratulate GWR on achieving our new Autism Friendly Award.

"Every organisation that gains the Autism Friendly Award will be helping to make the UK a more autism-friendly place and make a difference to the lives of autistic people and their families."