The following feature article which was first published in Rail Professional Magazine in March 2015, looks at the requirements for disabled access on UK railways.
According to the ONS Opinions Survey 2011, around a fifth of disabled people report having difficulties related to their impairment or disability when accessing transport. Christian King, General Manager at Kee Systems, takes a look at the options for improving disabled access at train stations.
Ensuring optimum safety for passengers at train stations is extremely important and with over 11 million people in Great Britain classed as disabled, there must be safety measures in place for all members of the community. The Equality Act 2010 requires measures to be in place that do not discriminate against disabled people. At the same time, the Building Regulations recommend an outside diameter tube size for handrail installations of between 40mm-45mm.
Without suitable handrails, ramps and lifts, access can be extremely limited at train stations. Recent years have seen the launch of several initiatives aimed at improving access for disabled people with substantial amounts of money being allocated to improve access at main line stations.
Safety is, of course, the foremost concern and a correctly installed handrail provides optimum safety for all passengers. There are a number of possible handrailing solutions on the market which satisfy the requirements outlined in the Equality Act 2010, Building Regulations Part M and British Standard BS 8300.
The two main options available are fabricated systems and tubular structures, which are assembled using standard tube and fittings. While fabricated systems involve a lot of preparation, require a skilled installer and can be problematic due to on-site welding, tubular structures are a much more flexible alternative.
At the planning stage, all that is required is a simple layout drawing showing where to place the uprights. With fittings, there are more design options, as they can easily accommodate changes in level or direction, and meet virtually any design requirement.
When it comes to ease and speed of installation, then handrails constructed using standard tubes and fittings are proven to be less expensive than fabricated structures. These structures are installed with a hex tool and tube cutters, and are therefore easily assembled without specialised workers or equipment, saving both time and money. This eliminates the need for any special work permits. No cutting, welding, threading or bolting is required, speeding up the installation process drastically and ensuring the integrity of all coatings is left intact.
These fittings are incredibly versatile and are an ideal retrofit solution. With the range including an ‘Add-on’ offset fitting, a new handrail can to be added onto an existing structure of an appropriate size. This also allows a non-compliant system to be upgraded in line with the regulations. With a tubular structure, the challenges of retrofitting a project are kept to a minimum, as once again, no special tools are needed.
To satisfy the ‘not cold to the touch’ and visibility requirements set out in BS 8200: 2005, galvanised fittings are available with the additional option of power coating in all RAL colours.
Products in Practice
Kee Access® and Kee Klamp® Key Clamps handrails have been installed in various locations throughout the UK, including Hayle station in Cornwall and Brighton Main Line, to provide access to either the station entrance or the platforms.
The Kee Access® and Kee Klamp® Key Clamps fittings have been powder coated in vibrant yellow to clearly mark the routes. At Hayle Station the fittings have created a smooth, continuous handrail that is fully compliant with DDA legislation and has enabled the provision of better, safer access for all travellers.
Kee Systems offers a total package, from technical advice and specification, to site surveys, estimating and a full supply and installation service as required. For more information, visit: www.keesystems.com
Safety barriers and handrails constructed from fittings such as Kee Klamp® Key Clamps and Kee Access® ensure optimum safety for passengers at train stations.
How to improve railway access