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Rail threat as firms ‘fail accessibility deadline’

TRAIN companies will fail to meet a deadline for accessibility with about 800 carriages not up to standard, according to the government.

At least eight operators want to run the non-compliant carriages, among the fleet of 14,000 on the rails, past the Disability Discrimination Act’s January 1 deadline.

If they fail to reach an agreement with the Department for Transport trains will be taken out of use and services cancelled.

They include Northern, Transport for Wales, ScotRail, East Midlands Railway, Great Western Railway, South Western Railway, West Midlands Trains and London Overground.

Some blame delays in new or refurbished rolling stock that include accessible toilets, handrails and audio-visual information systems.

Paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson, 50, said: ‘They needed to start doing this 20 years ago.’

Dominic Lund-Conlon, of industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said 7,000 new carriages were being rolled out but accepted there is ‘more to do’.