Home Page Haverhill News

Haverhill Poll
Haverhill Poll


Mailing List

Matthew Hancock
Your Local MP

Rail firm criticised for “disgusting treatment”

Thursday, 25th April 2002.

A disabled woman says she had been discriminated against by a rail operator, who, who would not let her bring her electric scooter on a recent visit to the Haverhill area.

Jeanie Cooper, 63, from Norwich, is an old friend of Carol Outhwaite, who runs the Jaybeth Animal Sanctuary at Barnardiston. Mrs Cooper suffers from MS and says a recent trip to visit her friend was spoiled because she could not use her scooter and was trapped inside.

Mrs Cooper travelled with Central Trains from Norwich to Cambridge and was picked up from the station by car. She had to return to Norwich on Tuesday but found the only direct train left at 6am.

She was advised to travel 18 miles by car to a station in Essex to pick up a direct train, or to be carried across a footbridge to change trains. Instead, Mrs Cooper had to be driven back to Norwich by car and could not use her return ticket.

“I was angry, it spoiled my visit because I could not get outside. They are discriminating against me and all disabled people by stopping us travelling around the country. It is ridiculous.

“The problem could be solved so easily — with just a small ramp I
could have got my scooter on the train without upsetting anybody,” Mrs Cooper said.

Carol Outhwaite said she was very annoyed that her friend’s visit had been spoiled. Mrs Cooper had no feeling in her legs and weighs 19 stones, so it would have been difficult and degrading for her to be carried between platforms.

“It has been awful for her, she has been a prisoner in the house. This is serious discrimination against the disabled. I think it is disgusting,” Mrs Outhwaite said.

A spokesman for Central Trains said they did not allow scooters or wheelchairs above a certain size on their trains as there was not room and they could be unstable.

Anglia Railways are starting to run a direct Norwich to Cambridge service this year and will be able to take smaller scooters on their trains.

A Disabled Assistance service was available if booked 24-hours in advance. There had been no intention to discriminate against Mrs Cooper because of her disability, but there did appear to have been a breakdown in communications.

For Disabled Assistance, passengers should ring (08457) 056027.

Haverhill Weekly News

Comment on this story

[board listing] [login] [register]

No comments have been posted for this news entry.


You must be logged in to post messages. (login now)

© Haverhill-UK | Accessibility | Disclaimer