BSL Totems BMO

Sign of the (train) times: Chiltern Railways install British Sign Language screens at busiest locations on the network

Train operator Chiltern Railways has installed British Sign Language (BSL) screens at locations across the network to provide latest, up-to-date passenger information and foster a more accessible environment on the railway. 

The trial consists of BSL totems at four of Chiltern’s busiest locations: London Marylebone, Birmingham Moor Street, Banbury and Leamington Spa.  

Figures from the Royal National Institute of Deaf People (RNID) estimate that there are currently over 150,000 BSL users in the UK, and for 87,000 people, BSL is their first or preferred language.  

This means that they may not always understand text-based information, particularly if standard customer boards are elevated or far away.  

Not only are the new totems pre-loaded with standard messaging and timetable information, but these innovative screens are also interactive in providing customers with information during periods of unexpected disruption. 

The screens also offer journey planning and onward travel functionality, meaning that customers can view local area maps and next direct trains. An NFC (near field communication) pad on the side of the totem also allows customers to wirelessly transfer information to their phone or device by touching the pad, meaning that the benefit of the machines extends far past the station concourse. 

Introducing this technology marks a strong step in the right direction for Chiltern in providing customers using BSL the reassurance they need to travel confidently on the railway.  

Following a successful trial at four locations, Chiltern’s aim is to explore rolling out this facility further across the network, enhancing accessibility and inclusivity in all of the regions it serves.  

Steve Scutt, Accessibility and Integrated Transport Manager, said: 

“We know that for those with accessibility needs, travelling on the railway can be challenging, particularly during periods of disruption.  

“We are proud to have installed these screens, which will give customers who use BSL real-time departure information and allow them to travel with confidence. 

“Moving forwards, pending a successful trial, we are determined to explore making these the new normal at stations across our network.” 

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Notes to editors

  • Chiltern Railways is part of the Arriva group, one of the leading providers of passenger transport in Europe,  employing around 38,000 people and delivering around 1.5 billion passenger journeys across 10 European countries. Arriva are part of Deutsche Bahn (DB), one of the world’s leading passenger and logistics companies, responsible for DB's passenger transport services outside Germany.
  • Chiltern operates commuter/regional rail passenger services from its Central London terminus at London Marylebone along the M40 corridor to destinations in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, as well as long-distance services to the West Midlands along two routes. Services on the Chiltern Main Line run from London Marylebone to Birmingham Snow Hill, Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford, with some peak-hour services to Stourbridge Junction.
  • Chiltern also runs trains on the London to Aylesbury Line to Aylesbury (with some trains terminating at Aylesbury Vale Parkway instead), on the Princes Risborough to Aylesbury and Oxford to Bicester branch lines.