Changing t(r)ack to optimise accessibility…

Paddington Station is continuing its tradition of being at the hub of developments with the installation of a state-of-the-art accessible toilet.

The new Changing Places toilet, alongside Platform 12 towards the new taxi deck, was opened with a new parent and child changing room/disabled toilet ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games. It was supplied and installed by Total Hygiene, the UK’s leading disabled toileting and washroom solutions provider, and sponsor of the Changing Places campaign for enhanced accessible toilets.

The new facilities, funded by the Department for Transport, are part of Network Rail’s (who own and manage Paddington Station) commitment to optimizing accessibility. The new facilities are in line with the Department’s code of practice for accessible station design, which advises that station toilets should not just be accessible to people in wheelchairs, but those who cannot bend, with limited strength, balance and/or vision, but, in addition, there should be a Changing Places toilet.

The Department of Transport, under its Putting Passengers First survey, found that toilets were the top facility most in need of upgrading, but also that they were the most important priority for improvement.

Patrick Hallgate, route managing director, Network Rail’s regional director, said,

We are committed to providing a better railway for all across our network and stations. Paddington is a hugely important station, used by 60,000 people a day, with links to Heathrow Airport and the Great Western region, and part of the Crossrail service starting in 2018. The new toilet facilities are one of the ways we are ensuring the station is fit for the future and meets the needs of its growing number of users.

The Changing Places toilet is larger than a standard accessible (Document M) toilet, and also includes as standard height adjustable adult-sized changing bench and hoist. Paddington is the first major London station to include one of the facilities; it brings the total now available in the UK to almost 450, of which a third have been installed in the past 12 months.