A TOURIST attraction in the North-East is on the right track after receiving a top rating for its disabled access.

Locomotion: The National Railway Museum at Shildon was voted best out of 85 attractions nationally in a poll by disability charity Vitalise - pipping the Imperial War Museum in Manchester and Liverpool's World Museum to the accolade.

The charity’s report took in factors such as wheelchair access, numbers of disabled toilets and disabled parking spaces plus disability and carer concessions.

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The survey comes as Vitalise claims that many disabled people struggle to cope at tourist venues due to a lack of facilities.

George Muirhead, museum manager at Locomotion, said: “It’s a wonderful accolade for us to have at the museum.

“We are completely accessible as the museum is flat and we have ramps and a lift so that people can see into the coaches and also get onto the steam engines when they are running.”

The Shildon museum had previously won the 2010 Rough Guides’ Accessible Britain Award.

A large number of disabled visitors head to the museum in Shildon each year and many travelled there to see The Great Goodbye 75th anniversary Mallard display in February.

Vitalise asked the top 100 tourist attractions to rate their accessibility, of which 85 replied, to help to compile the survey.

This score along with the results of a survey of wheelchair users of the facilities was used to create the final rating for the museums.

Chris Simmonds, Vitalise chief executive officer, said: “Congratulations to the museum in Shildon on topping our league table.

“You have clearly gone the extra mile for your visitors with disabilities.

“People with disabilities have an estimated annual spending power in excess of £80bn.

“It is in the interests of the UK's tourist attractions to try harder to ease the fears of their disabled customers and encourage them to visit.”

The National Railway Museum in York was rated at number four on the Vitalise list of disability friendly access.

Amongst the other attractions listed were the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, London, and the People’s Palace, Glasgow.