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‘We need disabled access’
4:00pm Monday 13th August 2012 in News
ABOUT 800 people have signed a petition calling for disabled access to the only station platform on the Cotswold Line without a step-free entrance.
Grandfather Steven Price, from Pershore, started the petition after his eight-yearold grandson, whose family live in nearby Bledington, struggled to use the steps on Kingham station’s footbridge to travel to London to take part in trials of a new treatment for a muscle-wasting condition he suffers from.
Mr Price says the lack of ramps means the platform used by trains to Oxford and London is out of bounds to disabled passengers.
The bridge is also hard to use for the elderly and people with heavy bags.
He said: “My grandson has been on aeroplanes many times and there has never been a problem, but ask him to get on a train here, a mile down the road from his home, and it’s impossible.
“He has to go to Great Ormond Street Hospital twice a week and using the train would be ideal.
“We started out helping him over the bridge, as he can only walk short distances, and that’s when I saw a lot of other people struggle on the steps.
“In the end, his parents decided to drive him to London instead, but twice a week that isn’t easy. It would be if we could get access to the platform. It would help a lot of other people too.”
While train operator First Great Western will provide a taxi to take passengers who need assistance to disabledaccessible stations, Mr Price said: “You have to get to your nearest station first, because they won’t pick you up from home. From here you have to go to Moreton or Charlbury, and that adds about 45 minutes to the journey.”
His campaign has won support from the Cotswold Line Promotion Group’s president Lord Faulkner.
Mr Price has met FGW’s mobility and inclusion manager John Blacker at the station to discuss the issue and look at possible solutions.
An FGW spokesman said: “Where a station is not fully accessible, First Great Western will provide alternative transport to the nearest accessible station.
“Railway infrastructure often dates back 160 years and we know many of our stations need work to improve accessibility.
“We will consider accessibility at Kingham in future work programmes.”
Mr Price’s petition can be signed online at ipetitions.