Virgin Trains has opened the doors to ‘The Calm Corner’ at Crewe station – a room which has been specifically designed to offer customers with hidden disabilities a safe and calm environment.
The inspiration for the room, which is the first of its kind on a UK railway network, came from Megan Hughes who was on work experience with Virgin Trains. She came up with the suggestion based on her personal experience of having Asperger Syndrome.
The idea was brought to life with the help of Network Rail, London Northwestern Railway and SLC Rail with advice from Direct Access on room layout and Boss Design for choice of furniture.
Some of the rooms features include: –
- Use of grey and green colours to give a calming effect;
- A living wall and plants to complement the colour scheme;
- Specially designed furniture for comfort and relaxation;
- Childs’ play table;
- LED rope lighting that can change brightness to suit;
- Screens with old images of Crewe station and town centre to help trigger memories for those suffering from dementia;
- Railpoint Totem offering helpful advice (EG train and station layout).
“This new room is going to make a massive difference for people using the station,” explained Megan, 28 from Goostrey, Cheshire. “I know from my own personal experience how daunting it can be when using public transport.”
“I was truly blown away to see it for the first time today. It is so much better than expected and I can’t thank Virgin Trains enough and everyone who helped make this happen.”
“We want to make travelling by train as easy as possible for everyone,” explained Victoria Whitehouse, Inclusion Lead at Virgin Trains. “The Calm Corner is somewhere people can escape from a very busy station and it will hopefully encourage those with hidden disabilities to have the confidence to travel by train.”
The launch of The Calm Corner comes on the back of the roll out of the JAM card (Just a Minute) for those with communications barriers and more recently the Virgin Trains Chat Carriage
To support the opening of The Calm Corner, members of the Virgin Trains team at Crewe have undergone training to help them identify those customers in need of help, distinguishing between the different types of hidden disabilities and how best to respond to and support someone that may be having difficulty with the station environment.
Jon Harris, Integrated Transport and Accessibility Manager for London Northwestern Railway, said: “The Calm Room is an important addition to Crewe station, and working closely with our partners and other train operators is key to providing a positive experience for all passengers – no matter what accessibility challenges they face.
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