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Disabled woman says using local train station is ‘impossible’

today27 June 2022

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A disabled woman claims her local train station is impossible for her and other wheelchair users to access. Barbra Whitby, 51, says she feels she loses her independence when she has to get someone to pick her up or drop her off at other stations due to the long flight of stairs at her nearest one.

The former palliative carer has been ill for three years after developing multiple sclerosis and cauda equina syndrome – an issue with her spine. She uses a wheelchair and mobility scooter but says she often cannot travel via Langley Mill station due to its flight of stairs and lack of a ramp. This is limiting her independence, Derbyshire Live reports.

Barbra has in the past had to rely a lot on her partner, Paul Williamson, 65, a trained analytical chemist, and has even had to appeal on social media for help and relied on complete strangers to help her onto the platforms.

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In addition, Barbra cannot visit her parents, who live close to their local station in Lowdham in Nottinghamshire, as often as she would like. She said: “I have to go to Nottingham from Langley Mill, but it’s the steps. They’re quite a long flight of stairs up to the platform.

“My body hurts every time I walk but it’s rare that I get the train on my own now because I’ll have to get someone to pick me up or drop me off at Derby or Nottingham stations in their car. I often feel massively guilty and a burden to people.

“I can drive but I won’t drive and then leave the car at the station especially if I’m visiting friends. It’s so frustrating because it’s a loss of independence. Because I can’t get on the train, I can’t visit my parents in Lowden. It’s very close to a train station for them and for other people but I can’t get the train, I have to drive there. Even though it’s only Nottingham it’s a 45-50 min drive.”

Barbra adds that an assisted ticket service should begin at the pavement before she has to tackle the steps. She said: “I went down to Essex over the summer and booked an assisted ticket, but they don’t meet you at the pavement which meant I had to put a post on Facebook asking for help.

“A lovely stranger who I hadn’t met before took me to the train station with my suitcase and walker. Once on the train, the assisted ticket system worked an absolute dream. But the platform at Langley Mill to go to Nottingham is impossible if you have any kind of disability.”

A spokesperson from East Midlands Railway said: “We are sorry to hear about the issues that Mrs Whitby is experiencing and we are keen to improve the accessibility shortfalls at the station.”

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Written by: thehitnetwork

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