2022 has been our biggest year yet. We’ve had some big successes, while also laying the groundwork for some bigger wins next year and in the future. Here are some highlights:
In January we launched a family-friendly scorecard to assess train operating companies against a series of family-friendly metrics such as the availability of space for unfolded prams on trains. The report led to our widespread media coverage, including in national media such as Sky News and the Independent. We were also delighted to be receive a four-page feature in Rail magazine. We plan to repeat the scorecard again early next year.
Space for pushchairs on train concept design
In March we welcomed a new train interior concept from transport design consultancy PriestmanGoode that included space for unfolded prams and pushchairs. We met with PriestmanGoode during the design process to offer feedback and influence the design, and some of the members of the team visited a demonstration of the new design at Marylebone station.
Kings Cross Family Lounge
In October we welcomed the country’s first Family Lounge, which was opened by LNER at King’s Cross Station. It a soft play area, “beach hut” style pods with table top games that work well as areas for families to each lunch (one has been designed to have more privacy for breastfeeding), and a giant Hornby train set (as seen in the video below from Tim Dunn).
The Family Lounge is a major success for our campaign, as we first proposed the idea of family-friendly waiting areas when meeting with LNER in June 2021, and we’re delighted with the significant effort and investment LNER made in creating this space. We were consulted on the plans for its design, and CFFT campaigners and their children have visited and given it the thumbs up.
Social media milestones
Our Twitter account passed 1000 followers during 2022. Our new Instagram account, led by new campaigner Amy, stormed passed the same landmark following an endorsement by poet (and long-time campaign supporter) Hollie McNish that showed how trains could look if it they are designed with families in mind.
We’ve welcomed Amy, David and Rae to the team this year, and we’re always grateful for anyone willing to offer a helping hand; no experience is necessary. We would particularly welcome campaigners in Wales and Scotland, since our team mostly live and travel in England, but there are unique opportunities for change in Wales and Scotland due to the devolution of rail. If you would like to help, please get in touch!
Looking ahead to 2023
It’s not all been good news, and we’ve been disappointed that new trains or refurbishments this year have not taken the opportunity to include space for pushchairs in new train designs. We’re informed that these processes take several years, and so our campaign may have started too late to influence trains manufactured this year. However, we’ve been working on a couple of initiatives to make sure these same mistakes don’t happen again.
First, we’ve written to all train operating companies asking them to sign-up to five commitments including ensuring that all new and refurbished trains include space for unfolded prams. This has generated lots of discussion between us and train operating companies, and has increased awareness of our campaign.
Secondly, we’ve continued lobbying for changes to the Key Train Requirements document, to include changes we originally suggested back in 2021. This document is used as best practice guidance for train design, and we’re hopeful that the new version (which is due to be released in March 2023) will include new sections on family-friendly spaces.
So, lots to look forward to in 2023 – get in touch if you want to join us for the journey!