Yorkshire's Magnificent Journey


The Yorkshire’s Magnificent Journey project has commenced thanks to a £4.4m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The £10m project has also received £1.75 million from the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), as well as contributions from local organisations and private donors. With a combination of donations and grants, the railway has raised a majority of the funds to deliver the project. However, we still have a final push for the last £300,000 to be able to complete the project.

Travelling on a steam-hauled train is a wonderful and enjoyable experience… or at least it should be!

For most of us, the adventure begins when we climb aboard. Yet for some people, the adventure isn’t quite so exciting, particularly for our less-able and/or wheelchair-bound passengers and anyone with special needs. Our current wheelchair accessible accommodation involves designated wheelchair bays located in one end of selected second class ‘open’ carriages. However, these vehicles do not have suitable doors wide enough to enable the direct loading of wheelchairs.

Each vehicle is positioned adjacent to a ‘Brake’ vehicle, which has a Guard’s compartment and an adjacent luggage area, which is provided with double doors. Once the wheelchair user is on board, they must navigate through the corridor gangway into the next carriage, then pass through a further doorway to gain access to the wheelchair accommodation.

Typically we are limited to two wheelchair users per train. There are times when disabled passengers have to to experience the indignity of being hidden away from the rest of the passengers, usually in the unheated and austere luggage area. Wheelchair users who are part of a larger family group can sometimes get separated because there is nowhere suitable for them to sit together.

We also need to improve the information we provide to enable visitors with special needs to plan their visit and know what to expect.

Creating a Solution – Fuss-free access

‘Fuss-free Access’ will mean that all of our carriage sets in service contains one vehicle that has been specially adapted to ease access for everyone with mobility problems and accommodate them with their friends and family.

In total, we will have five vehicles.

Each converted carriage will have a significant area (nearly half of the vehicle) that is fully accessible for wheelchair users, including an accessible toilet. Double doors will provide direct access, eliminating the need to fit through narrow, corridor gangways. The size of the space will also make group outings possible.

We are already making fantastic progress already have three accessible vehicles. The remaining two are due for completion in 2022.

We are busy consulting with professional bodies representing people with special needs and will improve the information we provide pre-visit. We will also train our staff to understand the needs of all our passengers and provide enhanced signage to help facilitate an easy journey.

We look forward to providing all our visitors with the same wonderful and enjoyable experience, whatever their needs.  

Your support and generosity can help us achieve our goal, Yorkshire's Magnificent Journey!