Leading sight loss charity the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has worked closely with Network Rail to ensure that blind and partially sighted people using Birmingham New Street are kept up to date throughout the redevelopment of the station.
RNIB has provided advice on how best to communicate the changes to people with sight loss who use the station or whose walking routes would be altered. The changes are a result of the work undertaken on the new concourse which opened on 28April, the first major changes to the station for the last 40 years.
A detailed leaflet about these changes has been transcribed into braille, large print and audio and made available. Blind and partially sighted people have also been offered the opportunity to come to the station for a guided ‘preview tour’, visiting the new station concourse and surrounding areas. These one-to-one visits, lead by members of the station team, will help to familiarise people with the new layout.
Additionally, there will be a large permanent tactile RNIB ‘Map for All’ located opposite customer reception and mobility assistance in the new concourse. The map, designed for both visual and tactile reading, gives all passengers a good overview of the concourse, the facilities and services available as well as the location of the entrances to the 12 platforms.
Rebecca Swift, RNIB Regional Campaigns Officer for the West Midlands, said: “We are pleased with the steps the Network Rail team behind the redevelopment have put in place to ensure the needs of people with sight loss were taken into account when letting commuters and residents know about the changes to the station.”
Carol Stitchman, head of design from Network Rail said: “We have worked with RNIB to ensure that we communicate the changes to as many people as possible before the new concourse opens – either in person, at meetings or through our leaflets and the preview tours.”
Birmingham New Street Station is used by over 140,000 people every day and receives the highest number of requests for passenger assistance than any other station on the rail network.