Disabled hit the buffers

PUBLISHED: 15:15 18 September 2006 | UPDATED: 10:54 06 May 2010

Letchworth GC station where the goods lifts have not ben used for over 20 years

Letchworth GC station where the goods lifts have not ben used for over 20 years

A GRANDMOTHER has spoken out about the lack of provision for wheelchair users at a train station and The Comet can reveal only one out of seven stations investigated in Comet country has step-free access to all platforms. Wendy Crawley, of Wilbury Road, L

Hitchin station where the disabled only have access to northbound services

A GRANDMOTHER has spoken out about the lack of provision for wheelchair users at a train station and The Comet can reveal only one out of seven stations investigated in Comet country has step-free access to all platforms.

Wendy Crawley, of Wilbury Road, Letchworth GC, is angry her 18-year-old granddaughter - who she did not wish to name - cannot board a train at Letchworth GC station because there is no working lift there.

Mrs Crawley said: "There is no access to the platform for the disabled.

"They run a taxi to the nearest station with a lift, which is usually Stevenage, but that's discrimination and people should be treated the same.

"My granddaughter just wants to be treated like everyone else and go out with her friends.

"She has had enough to put up with in her life."

A spokesman for train operator First Capital Connect said: "There have been discussions about this for some time now.

"There are two lifts which are goods lifts but haven't been used for more than 20 years.

"The key thing at this stage is to find out what the costs would be to install new lifts and then to put together a funding package.

"Generally disabled access to stations is very poor because they were designed in Victorian times and haven't really been updated."

Stevenage station was the only station surveyed by The Comet to have step-free access to the booking office and lifts to all platforms.

Hitchin station only has disabled access to the booking office and northbound services.

Biggleswade and Baldock train stations both have step-free access to their booking offices but the platforms at Biggleswade can only be reached via a footbridge and the platforms at Baldock are only accessible by stairs.

Sandy station has disabled access to the booking office and platform two only.

At Arlesey station, step-free access to platform one is only available during booking office hours while platform two is accessible at all times.

First Capital Connect will be holding a customer and stakeholder consultation period to establish where improvements to their service can be made.

A consultation session will be held at Letchworth GC station on September 27 where Baldock station will also be discussed.

Facilities at Arlesey, Biggles-wade and Sandy will be discussed at a meeting at Huntingdon station on September 26.

All the meetings will take place between noon and 3pm.

Diagrams of existing facilities and layouts will be available and feedback forms will be provided.

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