Published on: Thursday, 7 September 2023
Last updated: Thursday, 7 September 2023
Train operator, Greater Anglia, has launched online virtual tours for its entire new train fleet to help people travel with confidence.
A first for the rail industry, the virtual train tours have been designed for all of Greater Anglia's new train types to support journey planning, give customers a clearer picture of what they can expect on board and reduce anxiety about travelling.
They are particularly aimed at helping disabled customers who are wanting to check how accessible their journey is.
Virtual tours are available for Greater Anglia’s entire fleet of new trains and are available at https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/travel-information/your-journey/virtual-station-tours
Using the virtual train tours, people can find out where the toilets, accessible spaces and cycle spaces are located and ‘walk through’ the train using the navigation tools.
Detailed 360-degree photography has been used to map each of Greater Anglia’s new train types, capturing all public areas, which people can navigate virtually.
Members of Greater Anglia’s Accessibility Panel, a group of disabled customers who meet regularly with the train company, offered feedback during the development of the project and have been supportive of it.
The web-based online virtual tour offers the option to navigate through the trains and an interactive map to see the entire train layout with ‘hot spot’ links to specific areas of the train.
The technology was provided by The Virtual Tour Experts and the tours software has been designed to be accessible.
It features an accessibility widget that enables the user to change to high contrast, large font size or audio transcribe. Future developments will look at incorporating British Sign Language videos as part of Greater Anglia’s commitment to improving customer information.
Greater Anglia’s Accessibility and Inclusion Manager, James Bonehill, said, “In addition to our virtual station tours, I am delighted that the project has been extended to cover all types of new trains now running on our network.
“This will greatly assist customers with their journey planning and reduce the anxiety about whether the station or train would create any accessibility barriers so that people can travel with confidence.
“We are committed to making rail more accessible and providing quality information to enable more informed journey planning.”
Neil Henderson, Managing Director of Virtual Tour Experts, said, “We've really enjoyed working on this project to create a number of industry firsts. The world of VR is developing fast but until now that development has not given due consideration to online accessibility.
“This tour is the World's first to incorporate an accessibility widget, guided tours, subtitled scene guides and there is much more to come. The user-first attitude of the team at Greater Anglia provided the perfect base for development and will ensure the platform continues to evolve.”
360-degree virtual tours are also available for 14 of Greater Anglia’s busiest stations – Bishop’s Stortford, Broxbourne, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Colchester, Ely, Harlow Town, Ingatestone, Ipswich, Manningtree, Norwich, Shenfield, Southend Victoria and Stansted Airport.