Mobility Impairment – No Disability Here!

 

During last year’s annual maintenance, the team at the Savannahlander were provided with a small amount of funding so that the service could become Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) Compliant. All three railcar units had hearing augmentation induction loops so that the informative and humorous commentary can be clearly heard by our passengers using hearing devices. By the start of next year, signage and floor tactile surface indicators will be installed for our visually impaired passengers.

The main part of the modification took place in our ‘center’ unit – car No 2053. This unit was never originally fitted with a toilet, but it did have a luggage area that featured wider than usual doors. This was an ideal car to modify because the wide doorways could be used to fit wheel chair elevators, and the lack of toilet meant that we could build a wheelchair accessible toilet from scratch.

And so it was duly done. There are two lifts installed – on in either doorway, and a large spacious and modern toilet was built. I guess the down side to this is that we lost twelve seats however, many passengers, and the crew, have enjoyed the benefits of the modification already.

Although we have not carried a wheelchair bound passenger to date, there have been a number of people who use wheeled walkers, working sticks, or whose ability to climb into the railmotor from the ground, departed them many years previously. For these people, they have been able to be easily moved raised or lowered into or out of the railmotor, and could join the rest of the passengers on the line side activities. For the crew it has been handy to unload baggage.

Although the Savannahlander can now cater for the needs of intending passengers who are confined to wheelchairs, it must be remembered that most of the accommodation and tour venues that we visit might not have the infrastructure required to fully support them. Especially in the case of transfer buses. However, the modifications are ideal for those who have a mobility impairment and are no long too good on their feet. The modified car is not alway a part of the train ‘consist’ either. If you make it know that you require the facilities provided in the modified car, please let us know at the time of booking or enquiring about your trip.