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SNCB speeds up accessibility improvements for passengers with restricted mobility
People with reduced mobility will find it easier to independently board Belgian trains sooner than anticipated as Belgian railway company SNCB speeds up the adaptation of its stations to make them fully accessible.
In a bid to increase opportunities for independent travel for disabled and elderly passengers, the SNCB has stipulated that all platforms must be 76 centimetres high and that all newly ordered trains must be given that boarding height.
The SNCB wants to double the number of such stations from 78 now to 150 by 2025. At the moment, travellers with reduced mobility require assistance to board most carriages in Belgium.
With this in mind, the railway company will also adapt the design of its new M7 double-decker coaches, 445 of which are already being delivered, to bridge the difference in height with the platforms and allow autonomous access to them. The modified trains could be used “in the coming years,” according to a spokesman.
In addition, on the sections where the new M7 trains will run, stations will be equipped with ramps and lifts to each platform, guidance lines for the blind, and easily accessible ticket machines.
The adaptation of trains and stations will further bring SNCB services into line with the European Union’s Persons with Reduced Mobility legislation which states that all travellers should have equal access to travel, whether by air, land, or sea. Travel providers are compelled to provide and install sufficient access facilities to enable this.