Kymberly Martin
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Accessibility no longer off the rails

Queensland Rail has improved accessibility on its long distance passenger rail service, Spirit of Queensland, however wheelchair users will still have to get help boarding and alighting the train.

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In September last year, Australian Paralympic athlete Richard Cordukes was prevented from boarding the Spirit of Queensland because he was not accompanied by a carer.

Most types of power wheelchairs or mobility scooters can be accommodated, however size restrictions do apply. The Spirit of Queensland has a retractable step that will fold down to assist customers boarding and disembarking, and a portable ramp can be requested for additional assistance.

Seating Car E has three accessible spaces for customers to travel in their wheelchair, with four additional accessible seats available for transfer with space for a customer travelling in their wheelchair to sit next to the fixed seating. Car E has an accessible toilet and shower compartment. The compartment also has a large sliding door, a timer which automatically closes the door after entry, specially designed grab rails, an emergency call button and door switch lock for privacy.

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Car B has two accessible rail beds with a lower aisle side frame which convert from a leather seat into a fully flat mattress as well as accessible toilet and shower compartment, large sliding door, automatic door timer, grab rails, emergency call button and door lock.

To assist customers with a hearing impairment the Spirit of Queensland provides:

  • Captioning on all safety and information messages, lifestyle programs and selected movies
  • Improved customer controls for headset sound clarity
  • On board hearing aid loops

To assist customers with vision impairment there are:

  • High visibility handrails and grab handles
  • Seats, aisles and flooring in contrasting colours
  • Accessible signage provided throughout the carriages with raised text, clear colour contrasts, pictograms and Braille
  • Overhead lockers with raised numbers and Braille to assist in identifying seat locations

For customers remaining in their own wheelchair for travel, wheelchair accessible spaces are available aboard the Spirit of Queensland and the Tilt Train. Customers can choose to have their wheelchair secured into position by tie down straps or use their wheelchair’s braking mechanism.

Collapsible wheelchairs are available on all Queensland rail travel services and customers who experience difficulty walking can request the use of these wheelchairs to traverse the aisle.

Depending on dimensions, mobility devices such as scooters can be stored on some services in accessible spaces or in the baggage carriage of the Spirit of Queensland. Customers also have the option of remaining in their scooter for the duration of the journey, depending on the size of the scooter.

For more information, visit Queensland Rail Travel.

To keep up to date with the latest assistive technology products and services don’t miss the 2019 ATSA Disability Expo at the International Convention Centre, Brisbane from May 15-16.

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If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch with Freedom2live’s managing online editor Kymberly Martin at [email protected].

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