Level crossing Phone to cross but can't speak!

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Davester50

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I can guarantee they absolutely had not thought about this, which is why the twitter response is slow. Rules such as this have been written with zero consideration for people such as you, the idea that someone might need to cross who can't speak just will not have occurred to them.
Is it much different from non-English speakers though?
 
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AnyFile

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My suggestion is that you can try to write to Network Rail directly instead of using twitter.

However I failed to find an email address.

This page about Contact us
contains link to a page that is actually not on the same web site, on line contact form.

The first link is titled "Report an incident or send us an enquire" . So it looks as the best option here.
You get to the page

titled
Report an incident or issue

Reading the text on this page is actually not very clear to me if this page is about reporting incident (as the url would suggest), but not an immediate safety threat, or if it is for any issues/questions? The words "an enquire", present in the previous page, can not be find here.

Anyway as I can not find any better alternative, I would try to use this one.
 
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If the OP cant communicate safety with the signaller then dont cross the railway.
"If you can't get your wheelchair onto the train by yourself don't travel by train"

"If you can't see the departure boards to find your platform don't travel by train"

How often do you hear those? You don't. Why? Because we try to make sure people CAN do things. I'm afraid your approach is regressive.
 

BluePenguin

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"If you can't get your wheelchair onto the train by yourself....
….Then have someone else help you board by providing a ramp
"If you can't see the departure boards to find your platform....
….Then have someone else you read them by asking or listening to announcements

How often do you hear those? You don't. Why? Because we try to make sure people CAN do things. I'm afraid your approach is regressive.
Absolutely, we should work to enable people TO do things although in both of your examples, people cannot do those things by themselves. The banging and crashing when putting down the ramp may embarrass a wheelchair user. As would needing to ask someone to read what to most people is crystal clear text. Someone needing to speak on the phone for another individual is likely to leave them feeling similar.

In the above examples, removing the assistance would involve either installing ramps which automatically retract such as on TFL buses or level boarding and platform access at all stations. Departure board text could be made a lot bigger too.

I won't comment specifically on the OP's issue as I can imagine it is a very sensitive one. Although my heart goes out to them. A big wig in an office somewhere may respond to any letters with advice they seek assistance on improving their confidence with their speech. For the record, my ex was deaf and although did speak was not confident about it. They would for instance struggle to hear the signallers response on the phone. They once missed their train due to a last minute platform alteration as the announcement was probably Phil Sayer's voice warbling out of speaker installed in 1985.

The railway still has a long way to go when it comes to accessibility...
 
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AlterEgo

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Is it much different from non-English speakers though?
Yes, because disability is a protected characteristic in law and the railway is required to make a reasonable adjustment, if it can.

It's difficult to know exactly what would work for the OP though (they are best placed to suggest!), and any solution may be entirely local, especially if they are a regular crossing user.
 

py_megapixel

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If the OP cant communicate safety with the signaller then dont cross the railway.
The problem with that attitude is twofold. Firstly, sometimes crossing the railway is in fact the only option. Imagine if, for example, the only nearby chemist is on the other side of a railway. What are you supposed to do if you are prescribed medicine?

There's also the issue that, if the railway had considered this scenario, then OP would be able to communicate safely with the signaller. They could provide a button to request permission to cross with a light which illuminated when permission was granted. They could ensure that every crossing was provided with a phone number to the signalling centre allowing people to use relay calls. Hell, in many places they could even install a footbridge, if they didn't mind throwing quite a lot of money at the problem. But they do none of these things, instead preferring to rely on people's ability to use inaccessible technology from the late 19th century.

I'm not saying that telephones don't have their place - they do - but I think we are past the point where they should ever be the only available form of communication.
 

skyhigh

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But they do none of these things, instead preferring to rely on people's ability to use inaccessible technology from the late 19th century.
As mentioned upthread, they are doing something about it - quite a number of crossings now have mini signals and other mitigations. Network Rail spend a significant amount of money annually on replacing and upgrading crossings. It's hardly fair to suggest they're just sitting doing nothing.
 

mmh

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The answer is surely to get assistance, i.e. get someone else to call. Yes, needing to do so reduces independence, but unfortunately there are many conditions which by their nature do. Coincidentally I was with a friend yesterday who can't speak (he's had his larynx removed) when his car broke down. I called the RAC for him. If he'd been on his own, I imagine he'd have asked family or a friend by text message to call them for him.

The problem with that attitude is twofold. Firstly, sometimes crossing the railway is in fact the only option. Imagine if, for example, the only nearby chemist is on the other side of a railway. What are you supposed to do if you are prescribed medicine?

There's also the issue that, if the railway had considered this scenario, then OP would be able to communicate safely with the signaller. They could provide a button to request permission to cross with a light which illuminated when permission was granted. They could ensure that every crossing was provided with a phone number to the signalling centre allowing people to use relay calls. Hell, in many places they could even install a footbridge, if they didn't mind throwing quite a lot of money at the problem. But they do none of these things, instead preferring to rely on people's ability to use inaccessible technology from the late 19th century.

I'm not saying that telephones don't have their place - they do - but I think we are past the point where they should ever be the only available form of communication.

I think people are misunderstanding a point of relay calls, which is to be able to make calls to anybody without them needing to have any specialist equipment. I'm not sure why you think using them would mean a special number was required at a signalling centre.
 
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Bletchleyite

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Yes, because disability is a protected characteristic in law and the railway is required to make a reasonable adjustment, if it can.

It's difficult to know exactly what would work for the OP though (they are best placed to suggest!), and any solution may be entirely local, especially if they are a regular crossing user.

Would the ability to communicate with Network Rail by some sort of text message on your own device be a reasonable solution? OK, it's a bit weaker safety-wise because they know where the crossing phone is but they would be relying on someone relaying where they are accurately, but that could be resolved by giving crossings "names" that are tested to ensure e.g. predictive text doesn't corrupt them to the point of being potentially confused with another one? Or using crossing numbers that contain a strong checksum so if mistyped it can't lead to them thinking it's another one?

The answer is surely to get assistance, i.e. get someone else to call. Yes, needing to do so reduces independence, but unfortunately there are many conditions which by their nature do. Coincidentally I was with a friend yesterday who can't speak (he's had his larynx removed) when his car broke down. I called the RAC for him. If he'd been on his own, I imagine he'd have asked family or a friend by text message to call them for him.

Or, because it's 2021 and we make reasonable adjustments for disability, the RAC might (definitely should) have a system for summoning assistance by text message or app?

Crikey, you can even text 999 now (you have to register for it, though, which is a bit odd). Not just for those who can't speak or hear - it's well known in the hillwalking community, because if you're lying injured with a very poor signal the text might just get through.
 

lachlan

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The answer is surely to get assistance, i.e. get someone else to call. Yes, needing to do so reduces independence, but unfortunately there are many conditions which by their nature do. Coincidentally I was with a friend yesterday who can't speak (he's had his larynx removed) when his car broke down. I called the RAC for him. If he'd been on his own, I imagine he'd have asked family or a friend by text message to call them for him.



I think people are misunderstanding a point of relay calls, which is to be able to make calls to anybody without them needing to have any specialist equipment. I'm not sure why you think using them would mean a special number was required at a signalling centre.
No, disabled people often don't have someone else to call to get assistance. Being autistic can also make socialising harder so you're more likely to take trips on your own.

Disabled people do not want to rely on others for help and shouldn't have to.

In this situation, why is there not a web form or a number you can contact by text?
 

Sheridan

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I think people are misunderstanding a point of relay calls, which is to be able to make calls to anybody without them needing to have any specialist equipment. I'm not sure why you think using them would mean a special number was required at a signalling centre.

I think the point being made is that a fixed telephone as used at crossings connects direct to the signaller - in order to set up a relay call you would need to have a telephone number for the relay operator to connect to.
 

mmh

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Would the ability to communicate with Network Rail by some sort of text message on your own device be a reasonable solution? OK, it's a bit weaker safety-wise because they know where the crossing phone is but they would be relying on someone relaying where they are accurately, but that could be resolved by giving crossings "names" that are tested to ensure e.g. predictive text doesn't corrupt them to the point of being potentially confused with another one? Or using crossing numbers that contain a strong checksum so if mistyped it can't lead to them thinking it's another one?



Or, because it's 2021 and we make reasonable adjustments for disability, the RAC might (definitely should) have a system for summoning assistance by text message or app?

Crikey, you can even text 999 now (you have to register for it, though, which is a bit odd). Not just for those who can't speak or hear - it's well known in the hillwalking community, because if you're lying injured with a very poor signal the text might just get through.

Hmm, I hadn't considered that crossing phones are fixed connections. Do they provide a telephone number at all? I've never used one.

As for the RAC, perhaps they do have such a service - but if they do, the Motability scheme hasn't bothered to include it in the manual we used to find who to call!
 

alxndr

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I think the point being made is that a fixed telephone as used at crossings connects direct to the signaller - in order to set up a relay call you would need to have a telephone number for the relay operator to connect to.
There should be an alternative number provided at all public crossing phones.
 

221129

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Hmm, I hadn't considered that crossing phones are fixed connections. Do they provide a telephone number at all? I've never used one.
Crossing phones aren't connected to the network so don't have a number to call. You lift the handset and it starts ringing the controlling signaller.
 

Bletchleyite

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Crossing phones aren't connected to the network so don't have a number to call. You lift the handset and it starts ringing the controlling signaller.

That of course has the upside that there can be no confusion over location. But if you consider compliance, I suspect most deaf people will ignore the phone and cross anyway, so providing them with a means of communication with their own device, even if that does have a slight potential for confusion, would improve safety overall as well as improving the lot of the more compliant.
 

scrapy

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As well as those who can't speak, there are a sizeable number of people who can't read, or read english, possibly down to disability or lack of opportunity to learn. This type of crossing is also presumably unsuitable for them if they can't read the sign, they may think the phone is for emergency use only.
 

zwk500

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That of course has the upside that there can be no confusion over location. But if you consider compliance, I suspect most deaf people will ignore the phone and cross anyway, so providing them with a means of communication with their own device, even if that does have a slight potential for confusion, would improve safety overall as well as improving the lot of the more compliant.
I made the suggestion of a text upthread, and it was pointed out that the safety concern is that the time delay can be unpredictable with texts: sometimes they get through, and sometimes they take a while. There's also an issue where the user has to send a further message to confirm, further occupying the signaller and potentially slowing down trains.

The accessible option would seem to be a 'press to cross' button, which will give a clear indication to the signaller which crossing is requested, and confirm to the crossing user that the request is being processed. There would probably need to be either CCTV or OD to verify that the user is clear after the expected time for crossing has elapsed.
 

Bletchleyite

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I made the suggestion of a text upthread, and it was pointed out that the safety concern is that the time delay can be unpredictable with texts: sometimes they get through, and sometimes they take a while.

Yes, I did consider that. It could be mitigated by the signaller including the time in the text message. If you use Android or iOS text messages are now sent via a data connection so the lag should be minimal.

There's also an issue where the user has to send a further message to confirm, further occupying the signaller and potentially slowing down trains.

Processing text messages via some sort of automated system would be less time-consuming than a telephone call.

The accessible option would seem to be a 'press to cross' button, which will give a clear indication to the signaller which crossing is requested, and confirm to the crossing user that the request is being processed. There would probably need to be either CCTV or OD to verify that the user is clear after the expected time for crossing has elapsed.

Yes, but that's rather more complex to do. Using the user's own device means it could be rolled out to a lot of locations (not all as dependent on signal).
 

Highlandspring

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Once again I’ll make the point that public level crossings where pedestrian users are required to phone the signaller to seek permission to walk across are very rare. The telephones at user worked level crossings are typically only intended for those users crossing with vehicles or animals on the hoof. There is nothing to prevent a pedestrian phoning the signaller before crossing but equally there is no need for them to do so in order to use the crossing safely.

The vast majority of crossings which cater for pedestrian users will either be entirely passive (i.e. no additional warning mitigations for them at all) or will have some combination of whistle boards and/or miniature Red/Green lights to warn the user of an approaching train. All user worked, bridleway or footpath level crossings have signage telling the user how they are supposed to use it - even just a basic ’Stop Look Listen’ sign at a passive footpath crossing is an instruction on safe use.

The elaborate hi tech text messaging, CCTV systems etc.. devised here are really solutions in search of a problem.
 

AlterEgo

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Would the ability to communicate with Network Rail by some sort of text message on your own device be a reasonable solution? OK, it's a bit weaker safety-wise because they know where the crossing phone is but they would be relying on someone relaying where they are accurately, but that could be resolved by giving crossings "names" that are tested to ensure e.g. predictive text doesn't corrupt them to the point of being potentially confused with another one? Or using crossing numbers that contain a strong checksum so if mistyped it can't lead to them thinking it's another one?
It's an idea - all crossings have names anyway and most of them are quite distinctive (and some are even interesting!)
 

30907

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Once again I’ll make the point that public level crossings where pedestrian users are required to phone the signaller to seek permission to walk across are very rare.
Once again (in response to several posts, not just yours), this particular case is a crossing providing level access to another platform, not an ordinary public footpath. A (non-staff) user is far more likely to be a wheelchair user.

The instruction "to use station crossing use phone" is understandable as the crossing is not for general public use.
http://abcrailwayguide.uk/melton-mowbray-station-staff-level-crossing-leicestershire#.YLDJkGjTWf0

Incidentally, NRE does not offer level access to the opposite platform at all:
https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/mmo/details.html
 

Bletchleyite

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It's an idea - all crossings have names anyway and most of them are quite distinctive (and some are even interesting!)

True. I think if you had to provide a name and a number (ideally one that has a checksum) confusion would be very unlikely.

Clearly there are limits to what is possible without assistance (e.g. if you added blindness into the mix), but someone who is blind or deaf and dumb should really be provided for at all interfaces with the railway or indeed any other business or public service.
 

Highlandspring

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Once again (in response to several posts, not just yours), this particular case is a crossing providing level access to another platform, not an ordinary public footpath. A (non-staff) user is far more likely to be a wheelchair user.
Indeed, but going down the road of solving the ‘problem’ of the mute wheelchair user who can’t use a fixed crossing phone by spending tax payer’s money developing a mobile app that flashes a coded laser beam towards the moon, where a team of Network Rail signaller-astronauts solve a series of simultaneous equations to decide whether or not it’s safe for somone to cross is not necessarily a reasonable approach.
 

notlob.divad

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I have to say some of the attitudes on this thread are incredibly disheartening.

I will leave my comment at that.
 

miklcct

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I can't believe that the UK is so third-world that people need to CALL an operator to cross a railway.
 
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