Report finds at least 79 London stations are a danger to blind people

By Joe Talora, local democracy reporter

At least 79 London train stations have platforms that are dangerous to blind or partially-sighted people, a Freedom of Information (FoI) request has revealed.

Several platforms at major stations, including London Waterloo and London Victoria, have either no tactile paving or only partial tactile paving to mark the edge.

And there are no plans to install the “vital” safety measure unless there are major renovations.

The figure was revealed in an FoI request by the London Liberal Democrats and coincide with an investigation into the death of a visually impaired man at a train station in South-East London almost a year ago.

The investigation concluded today that the lack of tactile paving along the platform edge at Eden Park station in Bromley played a role in the man’s death as he “was unaware that he was close to the edge” before falling onto the tracks.

There are now growing calls to install the safety measure on all station platforms after Network Rail figures revealed that one-third of station platforms across the UK, including the 79 in London, did not feature tactile paving.

Lib Dem Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon today said: “In 2021 it is staggering that one third of platforms around the country lack tactile paving, a basic safety measure, simply because it is only installed when there are major station renovations.

“Tactile paving on train platforms is not an optional extra, but instead a vital safety measure.”

Network Rail currently intends to have tactile paving installed on all platforms by 2029, but Caroline Pidgeon said this needs to happen “far sooner” and that “a clear timetable for safety improvements must be brought forward”.

She added: “Today’s report is absolutely right in highlighting that it does not make sense to continue waiting until platforms are refurbished to finally install tactile paving.

“Safety improvements should not be held up any longer.

“Network Rail needs to reach 100 per cent provision of tactile paving far sooner than 2029.

“We cannot afford to wait seven years for such a basic safety feature to exist at every train station.

“A clear timetable for safety improvements must be brought forward, starting with immediate action at island platforms, stations which only have partial tactile paving on their platforms and unstaffed stations.”

The report into the incident at Eden Park published today made several recommendations including that Network Rail and the Department for Transport should seek to install tactile paving at “high priority locations” in a “timely manner”.

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