The railway station that's the first in the UK to launch an audio guide

20-07-21 Taxi rank outside Bristol Temple Meads-Bristol Live
Credit: BPM Media

The UK’s first railway station audio guide to help those who are blind and partially sighted has launched in Bristol today (December 2).

Designed by Network Rail in partnership with Bristol Sight Loss Council (BSLC), the guide will help users navigate the station safely.

12 sectioned audio files are available on the Network Rail website and easily accessible from any smartphone or tablet.

Users can select from the list while navigating a section of Bristol Temple Meads, something which has become increasingly challenging since the station's renovation project began.

Scaffolding towers have been put up in parts of the station and some areas have become one-way only or temporarily closed for access.

Network Rail hopes to continue working with BSLC and users of the guide to roll out this kind of technology in other stations across the country.

Network Rail’s station manager for Bristol Temple Meads Bernadette Sachse said: “I’m so proud of the work we’ve done with Bristol Sight Loss Council to launch this audio guide, which will help to ensure that our station remains as accessible as possible for all passengers, especially during the roof works.

“We want everyone to feel welcome at our stations and are constantly looking to improve accessibility for people who experience disability.

“Alongside the audio guide, all our station signage has been designed in high contrast so that it can be more easily read. We install tactile paving on our platforms to improve safety and have ensured that Bristol Temple Meads can be easily navigated by those using a wheelchair.

“It’s been fantastic to work with the Sight Loss Council, which has tested the audio guide to make sure that it’s as user-friendly as possible.

“I hope that this useful tool allows people to feel more confident in using our railway.”

GWR accessibility mentor Coral Thomas added: “We are delighted to support the introduction of these audio guides at Bristol Temple Meads to assist customers who are visually impaired.

“GWR is passionate about making its trains and stations accessible to all. Bristol Temple Meads is undergoing some major refurbishments and anything that can be done to assist customers as they make their way through the station is a real positive.

“We look forward to receiving feedback from customers which may be of use as we seek to improve accessibility at stations across the GWR network.”