A few weeks ago, School Council met with Neil from Great Western Railway to discuss how train journeys could be easier for Deaf people.

Students discussed how, when there are unexpected changes or delays to a train journey, Deaf travellers sometimes miss this information because they can’t hear announcements. It’s also more difficult to travel at smaller stations, where there may not be digital display boards. As a result, some of our students said they don’t feel confident using rail travel.

Neil from GWR asked for suggestions on how the service could be improved. School Council suggested lights in each carriage that light up when there is an unexpected change to the journey – this would alert Deaf travellers that they need to find a member of staff for more information.

School Council also offered to deliver Deaf Awareness training to GWR staff.

Neil told the students about a text service offered by GWR, where Deaf travellers can sign up and text questions to a priority customer service number, and receive speedy replies. They would also receive alerts to service changes.

Neil is keen to work with the Deaf Academy to give students more rail experience, and it was suggested that students undertake ‘mystery journeys’ to test the current provisions in place for Deaf travellers, and feed back their experiences. Neil said;

‘Ideally GWR would like to set an example to other rail services on how to improve accessibility’.

We hope to continue working closely with GWR to improve rail travel for all Deaf people. GWR recently donated train tickets to London for this year’s finishing students’ trip to Madam Tussauds, as their end of year celebrations. They also generously donated £2,500 to the Deaf Academy.