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I was watching the para Olympics having just completed a railway station when I realised it was missing one vital element, wheel chair access for disabled people and parents with push chairs. I discussed the issue with relatives and friends who have access problems and they all agreed Lego should show the lead in its next station by including features which made life for disabled Minifigures and parent Minifigures much easier
My revised station features a ramp leading up to an extra wide barrier gate system. These wider gates for wheel and push chair access are a common feature on UK tube and railway stations. Next I built a lift into the platform access stairs that allows people to travel from one platform to the other without the use of stairs. Finally I built 3 ramps that extend out on rams to the train when it is in the station, these are under the control of a railway employee.
Key Project Features are
. Easy access ramp to platform level
. Wide barrier access for wheelchairs and pushchairs
. Lift (elevator) for step free changing of platform
. Extending wheelchair ramp for boarding the train
Playability features are
. Opening doors on lift (elevator)
' Lift (elevator) that can be raised or lowered by hand
. Opening access barriers
. Pull-out access ramp
. Operating of up to 3 track from the platforms
When building the station I made a number of decisions, the first was to focus on accessibility issues only as I think this a really important issue in life. My modified carriages always feature a wheelchair position as I think it’s an important message for my grandson.
Next my station height is higher than standard Lego because it makes access to the train coaches more realistic in scale terms. When researching this I found European platforms are about 760mm above the top of the rail to the platform level and UK platforms are nearer 1100mm. My design is around elbow height on a Minifigure.
I have shown the track one brick spacing out from the platform which is Lego standard and allows use of wider trains such as the Emerald Night. I prefer my platforms one brick closer for realism when the train is in the station but the use of a base for the construction allows this to be changed at will. The third track (not shown) would need supporting on one side. By extending the main platform with a 6 brick wide platform a 4th stopping platform can be incorporated on the back side of the main platform.
The use of the base also allows the station to be stored on a shelf in a cupboard and for modular extension by plugging on duplicate stations minus bridge and ramp. The desire to be able plug in extension modules and make 4 -6 car stations is the logic behind use of a base plate and such a rigid platform structure.
The lift was started out with many complicated mechanisms with gears rack and pinions and ratchets, but finally I settled on a simple box in a tube idea using position and friction to hold the lift in place. At the bottom level it sits on the floor and at the top level opening the door holds it in place.
The train loading ramp has friction cylinders and a latching mechanism when extended.
Finally one issue where Lego life mirrors Real life, the standard doors from Lego are not wide enough for Wheelchairs to pass through. Ideally I needed a 5 brick wide door or shave something off the wheel chair wheels, in the end I settled for simple clean lines for the whole structure. Wider doors one day please Lego.
In the end I found the project inspiring and I am particularly pleased with the unfussy result , The station looks almost Art Deco.