Teenager left stranded on platform after railway bungle

The teenager, with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, could see the pub from the platform but was forced to wait an hour for a train to another station which had a lift.

A DISABLED 18-year-old was left stranded on a railway platform after bungling staff failed to tell him the only way out of the station was up two steep flights of steps.

Declan Spencer had arranged to meet friends for a party in a pub which was just yards from the train station when he discovered there was no disabled access.

The teenager, with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, could see the pub from the platform but was forced to wait an hour for a train to another station which had a lift.

Declan, his aunt and carer Veronica Jones, caught the 6.33pm train near his home in Syston and arrived at Sileby five minutes later on April 15.

Train staff helped Declan leave the train onto the platform but failed to tell him the station had no lift or disabled access.

Veronica, 26, said: “We got on the train and told the lady where we were getting off.

“Staff helped Declan on and off the train with a ramp. But when the train had left Sileby, we saw the only way out was down two flights of stairs.

“Other passengers offered to help, as did people at the party which was across the road, but Declan and his wheelchair weigh 27 stone.

“In his condition, he is fragile, too. It would have been risky.

“It put a real dampener on the fact we were going to a party. I could have cried.

“We could see the pub where we were supposed to be.

“It is not okay to be stranded on a platform. The woman on the train should have known.

“They need to make it a lot clearer that people need to check. It was cold and in his condition, it was a struggle for him to be outside.”

The steps at Sileby station (Photo: Leicester Mercury / SWNS.com)

Declan’s mum Alex phoned East Midlands Trains (EMT) to complain and the company said they should catch a train to Loughborough and promised to arrange for a taxi to bring them back to Sileby.

But shockingly, when they arrived at Loughborough station an hour later, no taxi was waiting and they were forced to call one themselves.

The group eventually arrived at the pub two hours late. EMT have now apologised and promised to reimburse Declan for the cost of the taxi.

Alex, 35, said: “My son only stayed at the party for 90 minutes because it ruined it for him. For Declan, it really highlighted his disability.”

An East Midlands Trains spokesman said: “We’re very sorry and concerned to hear about the experience Declan and his carer had.

“We have spoken with Declan’s mum to apologise and reassure her we are looking into the circumstances of what happened and why the procedures we have in place did not appear to have been followed.

“We provide a free assistance service, bookable in advance, for any customers needing a bit of extra help.

“We will make sure that if customers want to travel to and from stations which are inaccessible, such as Sileby, they receive the right advice and assistance for their journey.”

Source: http://www.loughboroughecho.net/news/local-news/teenager-left-stranded-platform-after-13008216

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