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Disabled Rail Passenger: "I Was Forced to Crawl to the Toilet"
9:00am 13th May 2014
A passenger in a wheelchair claims she was forced to crawl to a toilet on a train in Cornwall.
Andrea Weston from Helston says she was told the only carriage with disabled facilities on the Paddington service was missing.
The 42 year old was offered a seat in 1st Class but her wheelchair would not fit through the door and there are no disabled facilities in 1st Class.
Andrea says staff also asked her to catch a later train from London.
Theo Blackmore from Disability Cornwall said: "It's a terrible problem. People come down to Cornwall for all sorts of reasons. We have a huge number of people who come down here for our main trade which is the tourist trade so in order to be welcoming for all people then we need to have good facilities on the trains for disabled people as well as for non-disabled people.
"Disabled people very rarely travel on their own. They often travel with their family, their partner, their children or their parents or they may be the parents or the grandparents. There's all sorts people and all sorts of reasons why we need to have good access to and from Cornwall so it needs to be as accessible as possible."
In a statement, First Great Western said: "We are sorry that Andrea was unable to be provided with wheelchair accessibility on this service. As soon as we knew that there was a fault, attempts were made to contact the customer and offer them an alternative. All of our high speed services are fitted with an accessible toilet however, unfortunately there is not an additional facility in the First Class accommodation. This will change when we get our new Intercity Express fleet in 2017. We will be in touch with Andrea as soon as we ascertained the full circumstances of her journey."
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