Disabled Lancs man ‘humiliated’ after having to drag himself up station stairs

·4-min read
Chris Nicholson
Chris Nicholson

A disabled man from Lancaster says he was left feeling "humiliated" after having to drag himself and his wheelchair up train station steps.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain (GMB) on Wednesday (22 June), Chris Nicholson was travelling from Lancaster to London last Friday (17 June) – but it was at change over station, Milton Keynes, when the issues began.

When he disembarked his train on the hottest day of the year, Chris found that the lifts were not working leaving him unable to change platforms.

Lancashire Telegraph: Chris Nicholson on Good Morning Britain (Photo: ITV)
Lancashire Telegraph: Chris Nicholson on Good Morning Britain (Photo: ITV)

Chris Nicholson on Good Morning Britain (Photo: ITV)

After waiting 20 minutes for assistance, Chris spoke to security but claims staff “refused” to help him get to another platform at the station due to “health and safety policy”.

He said: "It was the first time that it's actually ever happened to me.

"I've never actually been put in that position before so I've never actually thought about that. It was a very big shock to the system."

After being told to disembark the train at Milton Keynes, Chris said he “didn’t know what was happening.”

He said: “I was told to wait on the platform where I got off the train and I was waiting there for probably about 20 minutes until I started to think 'people are starting to move, they're moving across to another platform - what am I doing here?'

"I went and spoke to security and the train platform organisers, asked what was going on. They said they organised another train from platform one but that the lift was out.

"There were no accessible toilets, there was no means to get water or any food. Given that it was the hottest day of the year you would've hoped that shops and amenities would've been open and sufficient for everybody.

“It was very humiliating. I have never been put in a position like that before. It was very emotional.

“Going up a concrete flight of stairs was putting my back in increasing pain – it was very humbling and I wouldn’t want anyone to be in a position like that again.”

Richard said: “What I simply cannot understand is why the staff that you approached as the minutes ticked by refused to help you onto the other platform.

“The reasons that they gave were quote, I just hate these three words, 'health and safety' - what did they mean?”

"I think when you talk about disabilities people often get scared, people are often very nervous to sort of help,” Chris said.

 

 

“People can be either very over-reactive and [try to] help all the time or they can be very nervous to help and don't want to make somebody's situation worse.

"I don’t think the staff weren't trained in how to react to a situation like that. It's a very rare circumstance.

"If staff had been trained to help people with different disabilities, had evac chairs readily available and actually had a working lift - because that lift had been down for seven days according to the security guard.

"I'm not just the only person who's been in this situation. It's progressed further and there's a lot of people out there who have had issued on public transport.

"If people were trained, if people had the knowledge and understanding of what to do then we wouldn't be in this situation right now."

Chris, an athlete and former rugby player, said he “wants to take this matter as far as [he] can”.

He said: “Public transport should be accessible to everybody, it doesn’t matter about your abilities, whether you can walk far, whether you’re in a wheelchair.

“If you’re paying for a service that should be readily available for you to access.”

Avanti West Coast provided a comment to GMB and said: “We are really sorry to hear of Chris’ experience which happened due to an extremely unusual combination of circumstances.

“Accessibility is extremely important to us and we have industry leading accessibility panels which help us to shape our business decisions based on the lived experience of accessibility experts.”

London North Western Railway said the lifts are now working again at Milton Keynes station.

Watch the full Good Morning Britain interview on ITV Player.

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