§ Mr. Tom Clarke
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he has taken to ensure that the operators of Ashford international railway station provide(a) a ticket office window at a height convenient for wheelchair using passengers and (b) means of independent access by wheelchair users to the carriages of trains using the station. 
§ Mr. Watts
We have no powers to require European Passenger Services to make modifications to Ashford international or to the trains which serve it. In the longer term, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 will enable 113W us to set access standards for new rail vehicles and to address the accessibility of railway stations. We have already begun discussions with the rail industry.
In the meantime, I understand the EPS worked closely with disabled people and I think that is borne out by the generally high standard of access which is provided.
The company took advice specifically on the design of the ticket counter and concluded that the particular design of desk provided met the needs of both wheelchair users and other passengers. The arrangements for access to the trains at Ashford are the same as those provided at Waterloo international and on other parts of the InterCity network. They have been shown, over a number of years, to work satisfactorily.