The National Rail Accessibility Group (NAG) has been established by GBRTT to support the delivery of a National Rail Accessibility Strategy (NRAS) consultation in an advisory capacity.

disabled people in and around a train station

The group consists of a GBRTT Chair and members comprised of independent disabled people with knowledge and understanding of the rail industry, together with charities representing disabled people.

The main aim of the group is to provide independent advice, guidance and constructive and considered challenge about whether and how the interests of disabled people and those with additional needs have been taken into account in the National Rail Accessibility Strategy development. In delivering its objective the group considers the interests of all disabled people and where appropriate other protected characteristics. In addition the group also provides help and advice on accessibility and access to other project teams within GBRTT.

The group meets every six weeks, but group members also take part in sub-groups and workshops.

National Rail Accessibility Group members

Helen is Chair of the NAG and is currently working for GBRTT as the consultation and engagement lead for the National Rail Accessibility Strategy (NRAS). She is a committed campaigner on improving transport for disabled people and runs Dolphin Diversity where she advises government, public, commercial and professional bodies on how to improve accessibility.

Helen is an experienced Chair of accessibility panels and currently chairs the Personal Mobility working group of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), East Midlands Rail Inclusivity Group, Heathrow Access Advisory Group (HAAG), and the Motability Operations Consumer Group. She is also a member the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) consumer panel.

Helen lost all her limbs after contracting meningitis in her early twenties.

Stephen is a Non-Executive Director of Network Rail. He became paralysed from the neck down at the age of 21, in 1981. Following this he qualified as a doctor and completed an MSc and PhD in disability and social policy. He has seen many improvements for disabled passengers over the years on the railways but recognises that there is still much more to do.

Stephen was the founder and Chief Executive of Disability Matters Ltd, a successful training and consultancy business before he took up leadership positions within FTSE 100 companies. Stephen is also Non-Executive Director at the Palace of Westminster Restoration & Renewal, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and trustee of a couple of charities seeking to improve life chances for disabled people.

Previously Stephen sat on the Council of the University of Southampton and was a Board Member of the Olympic Delivery Authority that was responsible for creating the infrastructure for the London 2012 games.

I’m a consultant with Southeastern, helping to improve the processes around assisted travel and the culture behind it. I was also responsible for setting up and chairing the customer access panel. Prior to that, I’ve consulted on assisted travel processes in the aviation industry

As a retired Paralympian, I’ve used my time in elite sport and lived experience as a disabled person to help organisations understand the importance of diverse teams and staff engagement during culture change.

I’m taking part in NAG because I believe my experience in people and teams will be important in helping everyone on the railway understand the cultural changes that will need to take place to ensure a truly equitable service for all.

Anne provides a personal example of courage, commitment and determination that challenges misconceptions about disability.

Athlete, author, disability and inclusion champion, and sporting ambassador, she inspires achievement and excellence across a broad range of life situations through campaigns and keynote talks and appearances that encourages others to overcome difficulties and maximise their potential but also provokes debates that create lasting changes. 

Carly is Autistic and a single mother of three daughters, two of whom are also Autistic. She has been a British Autism Advocate since 2008 and her advocacy work for the inclusion of Autistic women and girls has included speaking on news channels, universities and Parliament. She is also the first British Autistic woman to address the United Nations on Autistic females' rights.

Carly created the first free UK online safeguarding course for Autistic girls and has made award winning disability films shown in the UK, USA, Indonesia, India, Rome and Cannes Film Festival. Due to this, Carly was made an MBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours list for services to those with Autism.

Her book “Safeguarding Autistic girls: strategies for professionals” was published globally in 2021. It has now been sent to every police force in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In August 2022, Sheffield Hallam University invited Carly to receive an honorary doctorate for her sustained efforts.

Clive has worked within the disability sector for nearly 20 years.  Much of this time has involved him advocating for inclusive transport, including membership of several transport advisory groups within the rail industry.

Clive was delighted to be invited to join the NAG and help develop the National Rail Accessibility Strategy. He believes this is a great opportunity to ensure that the voices of disabled people and those with additional needs are being heard and helping to develop a strategy that will set clear goals with the aim of finally making rail travel open to all.

Clive has had sight loss since birth and is a guide dog user.

As a disabled rail passenger I would like to make sure the railways are as accessible as possible for everyone, including young disabled people.

Many people my age are maybe taking their first independent rail journeys, the railways are a step to greater independence and every journey should be as barrier free access wise as possible, I believe this will benefit every customer.

Erik Matthies is RNIB’s Policy Officer for Inclusive Journeys, which covers everything to do with streets and transport. He came into this role after volunteering which he was motivated to begin because of transport issues he faced as someone registered blind himself.

His volunteering and lived experience also included advocacy for LGBT+ and immigrant causes, and he endeavours to ensure this intersectional view is prominent in all his work.

Fara is Chair of Network Rail’s Built Environment & Accessibility Panel (BEAP) supporting the vision of an inclusive and accessible built environment for all.

Her background has involved work in the disability sector for over 20 years and she is currently Head of the Centre for Accessible Environments (CAE) a leading authority on inclusive design for over 50 years with the mission to drive greater inclusion in the built-environment. Fara represents CAE within the Changing Places Consortium (CPC) which supported the update of the England CPC guide.

Fara is currently interim Chair of the London Regional Stakeholder Network panel, a panel of users and organisations set up to support the Disability Unit in the Cabinet Office on inclusive policy developments, as well as a specialist expert for the Design Council. She also sits as a Disability Expert for Her Majesty’s Magistrates Courts and Tribunal Service.

Keith is a barrister, arbitrator and accredited mediator. He set up the Consumer Panel at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and served as its Chair for six years until 2017. He served as Chair of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) at the DfT for nine years.

He is currently a Board Member at the consumer watchdog Transport Focus, Board member at the Private Healthcare Information Network, an independent member of the General Chiropractic Council, a Panel Member at the Competition and Markets Authority, and also a member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In February he was appointed as the independent Chair of the National Centre for Accessible Transport Board, a Motability-funded consortium aimed at closing the transport accessibility gap.

He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2022 New Year Honours list for his work on inclusion and access to transport for disabled people.

I’m passionate about disability rights. I started my career with Leonard Cheshire in 2006. I work closely with disabled people to champion meaningful engagement.  I Co-Chair the Disability Employee Network at Leonard Cheshire promoting an inclusive and diverse workplace free from discrimination and bias. I’m a long standing Staff Association London Office representative providing a voice for all staff on issues affecting them.  

Wellbeing is an area I’m really interested in and have recently trained to be a Wellbeing Champion. Work and life balance is very important to me.  I’m currently studying for Apprenticeship Level 5 Coaching Professional with BPP, which I’m really enjoying.  

Outside of work I love running with friends and growing my own vegetables, alongside raising two children and four chickens!

Nick is an established subject matter expert in transport accessibility and inclusion management.  

He has a proven track record in working with Train Operating Companies, Network Rail, and legislative (DfT) and rail regulatory (ORR/RSSB) bodies. With extensive board level experience, Nick has project managed TOC wide and nationwide initiatives to enhance, embed and champion access and inclusion across the UK Transport Sector.  

Nick is a founder member of the Network Rail Built Environment Access Panel and Chairs the West Midlands Trains Stakeholder Equality Group.  

Nick is a full-time wheelchair user and brings with him personal experience, professionally applied. 

A uniquely experienced disabled professional within the field of Access & Inclusion in relation to Transport, Engineering, Management and the Build Environment.

Currently as Multimodal Access & Inclusion manager for Transport for Wales, I possess a successful track record of organisational improvement. Implementing advanced problem-solving skills and strategic approaches to incorporate consultation and advocacy towards the delivery of evolved policy, operational and strategic deliverables.

Being a member of the National Rail Advisory Group, I will be able to deliver my experience and insights nationally. Championing the views and mechanisms for changed as expressed by all.

I am on the NAG as the rail lead for the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland.

Prior to retiring, I worked for twenty years in the Scottish Parliament as the Clerk to various Committees, including Health, Economy and Social Services. Before that I was Director of an EU Programme, based in Glasgow and supporting local authorities in central and Eastern Europe.

Stephen has multiple disabilities. He gained a civilian MBE in the 1990/91 Gulf War ‘Ops Granby’ awards. In 1999 he undertook a course at Coventry University gaining a BA First Class Honours in Communications in 2002. 

Stephen was appointed in 2018 as the Minister for Disabled People’s Rail Sector Champion.  

He is Rail Policy Adviser for Disability Rights UK and promotes the business case of the economic value of the significant number of disabled people who travel by rail.   

His membership of the GBR transition team is underpinned by his mantra that only by including disabled people in planning and awareness can we see positive access outcomes.