Accessible Boarding Ramps

The Innovation Exchange is working alongside South Western Railway (SWR), who are looking to engage innovators and innovative companies that can help them solve a significant accessibility challenge. Traditional platform-to-train ramps can be too large to use on narrow platforms and/or unwieldy, and so SWR is seeking accessible boarding ramps for the platform-train interface on narrow-width platforms. It is essential that any solution is simple and safe for staff to use.


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This is an opportunity to innovate in collaboration with South Western Railway and make a major impact on accessibility in rail, pioneering a new or improved solution to a long-standing barrier to equal access. Any winning project is likely to attract significant attention from within the rail sector.


South Western Railway are looking for a solution for deploying boarding ramps for the platform-train interface at two stations, Hamble and Bedhampton, as a result of narrow width platforms at these locations.

The new ramps will be stored on the platform and need to be deployable on the class 450, 444 and 458 train units and must meet the National Technical Specification Notice (NTSN – formerly PRM-TSI) regulations as below:

  • Width – capable of handling a mobility aid of 700mm
  • Hold 300kg of weight
  • Ideally the angle is less than 12.5 degrees
  • Be ‘securely located’ to the train (Britain has led with pins/lugs but this need not be the only solution)
  • Contrasting and non-slip surface
  • At the base of the ramp, there needs to be at least 1500mm of space between the base of the ramp and the platform fence.

It is worth considering the deployment of the ramps; ease for rail staff to deploy both in terms of weight, portability, and train performance. Creative solutions are welcomed as long as they comply with regulations. 

South Western Railway are looking for a deployable solution as soon as possible. 

There is an opportunity to create a lighter, more durable ramp in the longer term. 

The ramp must be easily deployable for all staff involved and must take into account weather conditions such as wind. 

It would be beneficial for applicants to submit a preliminary design as part of their application.

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