Prince Philip website

Complaints after rail timetables turned grey to mark Duke of Edinburgh’s death

CrossCountry website greyscaled

The decision for online train journey planners to greyscale their websites to mark of respect following the Duke of Edinburgh’s death has led to complaints that they are now difficult to read.

The decision by National Rail Enquiries (NRE) and individual rail operators to remove colours from their websites goes beyond Government guidance for the period of national mourning, which only suggests organisations use “black edging or black banners”.

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NRE’s Twitter account received a number of messages following the change, some describing the decision as “utterly ridiculous”, and claimed it has made train timetables “extremely difficult to read”.

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Others claimed the switch is in breach of disability discrimination laws.

National Rail website greyscaled

In response to a passenger asking if there was a way for users to change the website back to normal, an NRE employee wrote: “Unfortunately, I do not believe there is currently”, adding: “I too have been struggling to read while it is coloured differently.”

Industry body the Rail Delivery Group, which runs NRE, issued a statement on Monday which said: “The National Rail Enquiries website has been temporarily greyscaled as a mark of respect following the death of HRH Duke of Edinburgh on Friday.

Network Rail website greyscaled

“We are listening to feedback about how people are using the website and are making further changes today to make it more accessible to all our customers.”

Elsewhere, the CrossCountry and Network Rail websites have adopted a similar approach to marking their respects to Prince Philip by greyscaling their websites.

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Robin Spinks, head of innovation at the Royal National Institute of Blind People, said: “Good web design and adherence to inclusive design standards is a must for all digital content creators.

“Appropriate colour contrast makes sense for every person accessing a website and is especially beneficial for people with sight loss.”

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About the Author

Sam Hewitt

Let off some steam...