Network Rail introduces passenger assistance scheme at more London stations
Stations across the Govia Thameslink Railway, South Western Railway and Southeastern networks have now introduced the sunflower lanyard scheme.
Credit: Network Rail
Major London train stations – including London Victoria, London Bridge, London Charing Cross, London Cannon Street, London Waterloo, Clapham Junction and Guildford, in Surrey – are now offering sunflower lanyards for passengers with hidden disabilities. The lanyards provide the passengers with a discreet way to show that they may need additional help whilst travelling.
Passengers wishing to participate in the scheme are able to collect the sunflower lanyards and wallets from any Network Rail or train operator information points at the participating stations, including ticket offices.
Network Rail’s Station Transformation Programme Lead for the Southern Region, Nicole Cohen-Wray, said: “Travelling by train for passengers with hidden disabilities can be quite daunting and we’re always looking at ways we can make their journeys easier. The sunflower symbol is the perfect way for passengers to discreetly identify themselves to our staff, so we can do everything possible to make their journeys as smooth as possible.”
Employees working within Network Rail, Govia Thameslink Railway, South Western Railway and Southeastern staff have been briefed to understand the meaning of the sunflower lanyards and can offer the right help to passengers who need it. Additionally, staff will wear green and yellow sunflower badges in order to signify to passengers with hidden disabilities that they can approach them for help if they need to.
The sunflower lanyard scheme aims to help passengers and their families affected by autism and Asperger’s, learning disabilities, dementia, mobility issues and visual or hearing impairments. The initiative is supported by the by Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) and other charities including Alzheimer’s Society and the National Autistic Society and Action on Hearing Loss.
Rail operator responses
Daniel Burn, the Gatwick Express Manager for Gatwick Airport station, said: “This is another way for Gatwick Express partnerships to deliver better experiences for all our passengers. With Gatwick Airport being one of the first to support the sunflower lanyard scheme, this extension of the scheme now supports the whole journey, including train to plane.”
Area Station Manager at Southern, Sophie Hill, said: “This is another option to help everyone to travel with greater confidence that they’ll get the support they need on their journeys. It’s a helpful addition to our existing travel support tools; including our travel support cards, priority seat cards and baby-on-board badges.”
South Western Railway
Michael Adlington, South Western Railway’s Accessibility and Inclusion Manager, said: “This is a great initiative. We hope that this increases the confidence of any disabled customers travelling through Waterloo, Clapham Junction and Guildford. We hope to extend the scheme to the rest of the South Western Railway network in the near future.”
Alzheimer’s Society, Gatwick Airport, Gatwick Express, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), National Autistic Society and Action on Hearing Loss, Network Rail, Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), South Western Railway (SWR), Southeastern, Southern Railway