Furious mum calls for 24-hour disabled access at Twyford stationBy Jon Nurse
February 12, 2013
An angry mum is calling for 24-hour disabled access at Twyford station after a humiliating journey with her son.
Hurst mum Sarah Barnard, 46, spent more than two hours trying to get from London to Twyford on Sunday, January 27, after being sent on an unsuccessful detour to Reading with wheelchair-bound Theodore.
Now the mum-of-three is insisting on action from First Great Western (FGW) to avoid more families being embarrassed by the limited service.
She said: “It ended up being a disaster. We couldn’t even get off the train [at Twyford]. It spoiled the whole trip.
“They have ramps and lifts but there are times you can’t access them.
“We did the research [for travel] to the British Museum and the timetable website could check on services that are wheelchair accessible. Nothing popped up to suggest we couldn’t use it at a certain time.”
Miss Barnard and 12-year-old Theodore, who has cerebral palsy, were sent to Reading where they were advised to wait for a disabled access taxi which never came. Station staff eventually decided to escort them back to Twyford with a ramp.
“The guys that helped us were really lovely, it was just a rubbish system,” Miss Barnard added. “It was humiliating for Theodore. We should be able to use facilities that are already there.
“We are not the first people this has happened to. A man was stranded on the middle platform on New Year’s Eve.
“It makes me angry, when they opened the lifts there was a big hoo-ha - but it’s not true.”
The station lift opened in November 2009 and is available while the station is staffed between 6am and 7pm on weekdays and 8am to 3.30pm at weekends.
FGW provide free alternative transport from an accessible station to an unaccessible station during unmanned hours.
A FGW spokesman said: “Railway infrastructure dates back 160 years and we know many of our stations need work to improve accessibility.
“In the past three years we have delivered improvements at over 40 stations, spending in excess of £6m.
“To ensure best value for money we have to prioritise which station improvements will benefit the most number of people.
“We will be considering accessibility at Twyford in future works programmes.”