A £300m funding pot from the Government will improve disabled access at 73 rail stations across the country.
Over the next five years, upgrades such as footbridges and lifts will make it easier for disabled people to use the rail network, transport minister Nusrat Ghani has said.
Other stations will see smaller scale improvements such as tactile paving on platform edges or adjustable ticket counters.
Ms Ghani said: ‘We want the 13.9 million disabled people in Britain to be empowered to travel independently, which is why I am delighted to announce this roll-out of upgrades across the rail network.’
The cash will fund new lifts on platforms
The Department for Transport (DfT) said the improvements will be funded as part of its Inclusive Transport Strategy, published last year. However, the cash comes under the Access for All programme, which was launched in 2006 and previously funded up to the end of Control Period 5, i.e last month.
Following nominations from the rail industry, stations were selected based on a range of criteria including footfall, weighted by disability in the area, value for money, and local factors such as proximity to a hospital. The stations were also chosen to represent 'a fair geographical spread across the country', officials said.
The DfT said that 75% of rail journeys are now made through step-free stations. However, this may reflect the fact that disabled travellers avoid inaccessible stations.
Officials said that since Access for All was launched it has delivered more than 200 accessible routes into selected stations.
A further 1,500 stations have received smaller scale improvements such as accessible toilets, platform humps to reduce stepping distances and improvements to help those with a visual or hearing impairment.
Keith Richards, chair of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, said: ‘The Access for All programme has already delivered significant improvements in access to rail travel for disabled people over the last 13 years. It’s crucial to continually build on that.
‘The announcement is very welcome and must go hand-in-hand with clear and practical information to ensure that disabled people are aware of what improvements have been made, and that more travel options are now possible as a result.’