Disabled nurse sent 20 miles to cross track

DISABLED Karen Redmile is furious that she must make a 20 mile round trip into another county- just to get to the other side of a railway track.

Nurse Karen arrives back at Thorne North Railway Station from work and is used to being helped across the tracks to the opposite platform where there is a ramp out of the station, rather than stairs which she can’t manage.

But the occasional wheelchair-user was stunned when the train conductor who usually helps her - along with mums with pushchairs and elderly passengers- told her if she wanted to get to the other side of the platform from where she can walk home after 2pm she would now have to catch a train to Goole and then back to Thorne.

Disability charities have hit out at the decision and urged transport authorities to consult passengers before making such changes.

Thorne Town councillor Karen, 42, of South End, says there are no signs alerting passengers.

Grandmother Karen, who travels by train to work at Sheffield teaching hospital, said: “The station has disabled parking and a ramp at one side so it clearly suggests it is user-friendly for disabled people, but then if you end up on the other side of the platform you’re stranded, it’s ridiculous.

“There’s steps up to the bridge across the track and a set of steep steps down, and that’s it unless you are allowed across the track.

“There are no signs up or anything telling people about these changes so people aren’t going to find out until they end up on that side of the platform and then they’ll just be stranded. It’s a joke I’m absolutely disgusted by it.”

Karen, who suffers from Behcet’s disease that can affect her movement, said Network Rail told her provisions would be made for disabled people to travel to Goole free of charge, but not OAPS and mums with pushchairs.

She said: “I was told I could travel to Goole for free, but that’s not the point. I don’t want to be adding an extra hour to my journey for a start and whether it’s law or not for people with prams and the elderly it’s still discrimination because you’re discriminating against a group of people. Passengers I have spoken to are horrified by it.”

A Scope spokesman said: “There is legislation that requires all transport authorities to make reasonable adjustments so that disabled people can use their services. It would therefore be good to understand what provision this specific transport body is making for its disabled customers that does not involve an additional one hour round trip just to reach the opposite platform.

A Northern Rail spokesman, said they were aware of the access issues at Thorne North station and were working hard to address them.

Network Rail said it informed all passengers with wheelchairs or pushchairs as they purchase their ticket that there will be no access after 2pm on their return and provide them with information on how to return safely.

The spokesman added: “We are sorry the current situation inconveniences our passengers and we are working hard to provide the best service we can.

“We display posters at the entrance to all our stations and on every timetable urging anyone with access issues to call our freephone number 08081 56 16 06 to discuss how their journeys can be made as quickly and comfortably and possible.”