Online virtual tour of Liverpool Street rail station will help people travel with confidence
Lifestyle / Tue 24th Oct 2023 at 09:12am
GREATER Anglia and Network Rail have teamed up to launch Liverpool Street Station’s first-ever online virtual tour.
The tour has been designed to support journey planning, give passengers a clearer picture of the station before they travel, and reduce anxiety about how they’ll get around. It is especially useful for disabled people wanting to check accessible routes through the station.
Using the virtual tour, people can find out how to get to all public areas, including the main concourse, toilets, information point, customer lounge, ticket machines, platforms, taxi rank, and bus stops.
Detailed 360-degree photography lets users travel around the station realistically, and aerial photography and an interactive map show the location of all the facilities in relation to each other.
Key features can be navigated directly through a drop-down menu system, while the ‘autopilot’ tool gives users the option of selecting their destination and being automatically guided to it.
London Liverpool Street is owned and managed by Network Rail. Customer service is provided in partnership with Greater Anglia, which runs services between the station and Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, and other parts of London.
Greater Anglia already has virtual tours in place online for 14 of its busiest stations for Passenger Assistance, as well as for its entire new train fleet. The addition of London Liverpool Street as Greater Anglia’s London hub is a milestone addition to its virtual tour package.
Members of Greater Anglia’s Accessibility Panel, a group of disabled customers who meet regularly with the train operator, offered feedback during the development of the virtual tours and have been supportive of the project.
The technology was provided by a company called The Virtual Tour Experts and the tour has been designed to be accessible. A spoken scene guide with closed captions plays on the home page at the station entrance and it features an accessibility widget that enables the user to change to high contrast, large font size or audio transcription. Future developments will look at incorporating British Sign Language videos.
The tours can be viewed at https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/travel-information/your-journey/virtual-tourson any device and the addition of more stations is planned in the future.
Greater Anglia’s Accessibility and Inclusion Manager, James Bonehill, said,
“The idea was to create a tool for customers to assist them with their journey planning and reduce the anxiety about whether the station would create any accessibility barriers so that they can travel with confidence.
“We are committed to making rail more accessible and providing quality information to enable more informed journey planning.”
Network Rail Anglia’s Head of Route Stations, Heather Williams, said,
“The new virtual tour will help us give people a warm welcome to Liverpool Street before they’ve even set foot in our station.
“For many passengers, being able to plan ahead will help them have a calmer and more enjoyable journey.
“Our stations are for everyone and we are always looking for ways to give people the best possible experience when they visit us.”
Neil Henderson, Managing Director of The Virtual Tour Experts, said,
“We have 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 teams at Greater Anglia and Network Rail provided the perfect base for development and will ensure the platform continues to evolve.”
360-degree virtual tours are now available for 15 of Greater Anglia’s busiest stations – Bishop’s Stortford, Broxbourne, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Colchester, Ely, Harlow Town, Ingatestone, Ipswich, London Liverpool Street, Manningtree, Norwich, Shenfield, Southend Victoria, and Stansted Airport.
Lucky if you can even catch a train these days. Even if they're not on strike it's probably going to be late so don't worry about navigating the concourse - you'll have plenty of time!