East West Railway Company (EWR Co) is inviting disabled people who live locally to apply to join a new panel to help ensure its services can be accessed and enjoyed by everyone as part of its early route planning work.
EWR Co’s Head of Inclusion, Caroline Eglinton, is encouraging people to join the Accessibility Advisory Panel, which will provide insights on the different needs of the diverse local communities to help the company build an inclusive service along the route from Oxford to Cambridge.
The Accessibility Advisory Panel will be formed of up to eight people with a range of impairments. It will meet regularly to consider issues such as access to stations and platforms, clarity of customer information, passenger assistance and the on-board experience. Panel members must live or work between Oxford and Cambridge. Anyone interested in applying can find out more on EWR’s community hub.
EWR Co is establishing the panel whilst the route is in the early planning stages and represents a key part of EWR Co’s strategy to place accessibility at the heart of the project from concept to delivery.
Caroline Eglinton lives locally and has worked in the rail industry for 16 years. She is the first head of inclusion for EWR Co, which has been clear on its commitment to building a service that meet the needs of its diverse local communities.
Caroline has lived experience of disability and is also the Disability and Access Ambassador for the rail industry. She champions inclusion across the company, supporting and advising colleagues at every level to ensure the principles of equality, diversity, and accessibility feed into all parts of the business at every stage of the project, and are reflected in its external work with partners and local communities.
She said: “It’s a privilege to be working with EWR Co and I’m really excited to be using my experience to change lives for the better in the place I live. The ability to access public transport can be a huge boost to quality of life and can open up many opportunities for people, yet there are still too many who are excluded from rail travel. As EWR is a brand-new railway, we have a rare opportunity to build a service from the outset that will be easy to access – and enjoyable to use – for everyone, no matter who they are.
“I’m particularly looking forward to working with passionate local people via our Accessibility Advisory Panel. They will play a unique and vital role in shaping the service from the start, so that it meets the needs of all our potential customers, helping turn our vision of a fully accessible railway into a reality.”
Image credit: EWR