Train Graphic
Great Western Passengers' Forum Great Western Coffee Shop - [home] and [about]
Read about the forum [here].
Register and contribute [here] - it's free.
*** Make campaign for the widest possible support and acceptance - [here]
 25/09/2019 - WWRUG / Transport Focus
03/10/2019 - ACoRP Community Rail Awards
05/10/2019 - WSR shuttle last for 2019
10/10/2019 - IET Signalling Talk - Reading
16/10/2019 - MRUG meeting
16/10/2019 - ACoRP board nominations close
Random Image
Train Running @GWR Twitter Acronyms/Abbreviations Station Comparator Rail news GWR co. site Site Style 1 2 3 4 Chat on off
Next departures • Bristol Temple MeadsBath SpaChippenhamSwindonDidcot ParkwayReadingLondon PaddingtonMelksham
Exeter St DavidsTauntonWestburyTrowbridgeBristol ParkwayCardiff CentralOxfordCheltenham SpaBirmingham New Street
September 22, 2019, 01:36:32 pm *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Forgotten your username or password? - get a reminder
Most liked recent subjects
[56] IETs into passenger service from 16 Oct 2017 and subsequent pe...
[38] Templecombe
[38] St.Erth Park and Ride
[34] No steam to Ryde (for a number of years)
[30] 21st September 2019 - RailFuture National Conference, in Brist...
[28] Out of Office quiz - September 2019
News: A forum for passengers ... with input from rail professionals welcomed too
 
   Home   Help Search Calendar Login Register  
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: Paralympian Sophie Christiansen stuck on SWR train - BBC News  (Read 673 times)
bignosemac
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 16989


Coffee Shop Forum Roving Reporter


View Profile
« on: August 22, 2019, 11:19:23 pm »

Yet another instance of a disabled person being badly let down by the rail industry. When will they learn? There needs to be robust enforcement of the law with penalties that will hurt TOCs. Ideally I'd like to see individuals in court answering for the failings.

From the BBC:
Quote
Wheelchair user Sophie Christiansen, who has cerebral palsy, tweeted a video of her ordeal on her London to Godalming journey. The footage shows a passenger holding the train doors open for the dressage rider until an exit ramp is provided.

South Western Railway (SWR) said it had apologised to Ms Christiansen.

"I went home and I cried. It finally hit me that society is just not going to change to make services truly accessible. I will have to accept discrimination all my life." The 31-year-old from Ascot said she was told SWR staff were aware she was travelling on the service but when she arrived at her stop there was no-one waiting with a ramp. "It's always the general public helping me; I don't know what I'd do without them," she said. "Without the help I probably would've ended up in Portsmouth at the end of the line because there is no real way for me to block the door to stop the train from moving."

Ms Christiansen said she "went home and cried" because of the repeated difficulties she faces over accessibility on trains. She said she was stranded "one in 10 times" and called on the government to lobby rail companies to improve disabled access.

Despite previously speaking to SWR's inclusion manager about introducing automated ramps to make travelling for disabled people smoother, Ms Christiansen claims manual ones are still in place.

"I literally don't know what it will take for the rail in this country to make the service more accessible," she said. "There should be a different system to allow me to be independent".

Andy Masters, head of services at disabled rights charity Back Up, said stories like Sophie's were "all too common". He said wheelchair users routinely needed to consider problems over access at stations and whether they would manage to find a guard to get them on and off trains. "An easy journey is not a given, but being able to use public transport is essential to most people's daily lives. It allows us to go to work, socialise and get to where we need to be. Accessible stations allow disabled people to live the lives they want, just like everyone else.''

SWR said it was investigating the incident "as a priority" and it was reviewing the process "to make sure this doesn't happen again".

Rail Delivery Group, which represents UK train operators, said it was working to bring "thousands of new, more accessible carriages on track and speeding up the process for passengers booking assistance."
Logged

CyclingSid
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 492


Hockley viaduct


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2019, 07:06:19 am »

Have seen similar on SWR. I do wonder how this is going to work with DOO and unmanned stations, after about 17:00.

Maybe a few rail executives ought to do "secret" trips in a wheelchair on their network, I am sure there is a TV programme in there somewhere.
Logged
Rhydgaled
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 1373


View Profile WWW
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2019, 11:07:44 am »

From the BBC:
Quote
when she arrived at her stop there was no-one waiting with a ramp.

...

Despite previously speaking to SWR's inclusion manager about introducing automated ramps to make travelling for disabled people smoother, Ms Christiansen claims manual ones are still in place.
I can imagine that automated ramps would be rather difficult, partly due to having to somehow find space for that equipment on the train and partly due to varying platform heights, curved platforms etc. And we should be wary of possibly killing some town's chances of a station by saying that new curved platforms are not allowed.

I think Andy Masters' comment in the article of whether wheelchair users "would manage to find a guard to get them on and off trains." is key. I believe there is a requirement for 'call for aid' buttons at the wheelchair spaces. Logic would suggest that wheelchair users could press this just before their stop, just like an able-bodied passenger would request a stop on a bus, and somebody would come along to help the passenger alight. It is absolutely vital therefore that staff are available to respond to a 'call for aid' activation at short notice; that is one reason for my current forum 'signature', the key part of which is "Don't DOO it, keep the guard".
Logged

----------------------------
Don't DOO it, keep the guard (but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea if the driver unlocked the doors on arrival at calling points).
Gordon the Blue Engine
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 624


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2019, 02:50:42 pm »

I agree that there is a case for a guard (for want of a better name) on trains. 

The ORR’s view is that DCO (or DOO), with the Driver controlling the opening and closing of doors is safe, subject of course to suitable on train and/or platform cameras etc. 

I agree with this view. However, there are other things that need to be done to provide an acceptable level of customer service which the Driver cannot do.  Assisting disabled passengers board and leave the train is one.  On Radio 4 a while ago I heard someone from the ORR or DfT being asked how a disabled person could board a  Thameslink train at an unstaffed station – he gave the ridiculous answer that the Driver would leave his cab (having shut down the train presumably) and get the station ramp.

I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect disabled people to have to pre-book assistance – like other passengers they won’t always know exactly what train they’ll be getting.  So if only for DAA reasons I think there is a case for staffing a train with more than just a Driver. 

Easyjet can fly you from Luton to Glasgow in a plane carrying 180 passengers with 4 crew for about £40, so the DfT argument that a Guard (for want of a better name) is unaffordable on an 8 coach train carrying 500 passengers doesn’t seem to stand up. 

Easyjet’s air hosts/hostesses will announce that their primary role is safety.  It is, but they will spend all their time providing customer services like making sure everyone is in their right seats quickly, stowing luggage, selling you things (on commission), etc.  They are trained to get you off the plane quickly in an emergency, but that is a role that many will go years without doing.

So RMT, along with the DfT and train operators, need some modern thinking on the role of this second person on the train.  Forget the door opening and closing duties which Drivers can safely do, and move on to what adds value (from both the train operator’s and passenger’s perspective) to a passenger’s journey in a modern train.  They need to be trained in what to do to safeguard passengers in various scenarios of incident or accident (their most important role), but also to assist disabled people (a legal requirement which is not well fulfilled in DOO and unstaffed station areas), provide protection to vulnerable passengers (also, arguably, a legal duty), to check tickets (and thus bring revenue into the train operator), give journey information, help with connection issues etc.

And why could they not take on the trolley dolly (molly) role? Is there any good reason why the traditional “Guard” role could not be modelled on that of a modern air host(ess)? 
Logged
Charlie (in Gloucester)
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 390


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2019, 03:27:14 pm »

I agree that there is a case for a guard (for want of a better name) on trains. 
And why could they not take on the trolley dolly (molly) role? Is there any good reason why the traditional “Guard” role could not be modelled on that of a modern air host(ess)? 

At the moment, since introduction of the IETs I am lead to believe that Train Managers are being pushed to focus more on revenue - they no longer release the doors nor need to manually operate Selective Door Operation. Obviously,  Train Managers can’t be monitored at all times to see if they are doing revenue inspections however there will still be the odd few who don’t really bother, just close the doors and let the automatic announcements roll.

If GWR ever choose to get rid of the safety critical guard then I would be shocked if they don’t come back in the format of “On Board Supervisor” or something like that. Making so many people redundant won’t go down well..
Logged

We should be aiming towards a country where no matter where you are you can get around all day with an easy to use, affordable and modern transport system.
eightonedee
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 442


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2019, 10:06:46 pm »

What I do not understand about this story is that I thought SWR still had old-fashioned guards on all its trains. What was the guard on this train doing?
Logged
bignosemac
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 16989


Coffee Shop Forum Roving Reporter


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2019, 11:05:04 pm »

What I do not understand about this story is that I thought SWR still had old-fashioned guards on all its trains. What was the guard on this train doing?

He would seemingly have been at the end of the (breakdown in) communication chain. Many reasons why the Guard wasn't there to help Sophie alight. The message never got to the Guard. Didn't read message or forgot. Dealing with another issue. It does appear that the Guard was trying to dispatch, as the hustle alarm sounded several times while the good Samaritan held the doors.

One aggravating factor could have been that the Guard didn't do a walk through at any point in Sophie's journey. It's not unknown for guards to plonk themselves in a cab and only come out during station calls.

The preceding is only supposition on my part though. How and why Sophie came to be at her destination without being able to alight will only be known to SWR after they investigate.

Logged

TaplowGreen
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 4682


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2019, 09:16:17 am »

What I do not understand about this story is that I thought SWR still had old-fashioned guards on all its trains. What was the guard on this train doing?

He would seemingly have been at the end of the (breakdown in) communication chain. Many reasons why the Guard wasn't there to help Sophie alight. The message never got to the Guard. Didn't read message or forgot. Dealing with another issue. It does appear that the Guard was trying to dispatch, as the hustle alarm sounded several times while the good Samaritan held the doors.

One aggravating factor could have been that the Guard didn't do a walk through at any point in Sophie's journey. It's not unknown for guards to plonk themselves in a cab and only come out during station calls.

The preceding is only supposition on my part though. How and why Sophie came to be at her destination without being able to alight will only be known to SWR after they investigate.



Article on BBC Breakfast this morning & an interview with Sophie. Seems it's a pretty regular occurrence and a complete lottery for disabled people as to whether she (and others) get help. Usual "lessons learned" cut/paste stock response from TOC.
Logged
bignosemac
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
******
Posts: 16989


Coffee Shop Forum Roving Reporter


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2019, 05:01:43 pm »

Indeed TG. And we only get to hear the tales of woe from disabled folk who have a public profile. The athletes, comedians, Dames of the realm...

They are certainly not the only disabled rail users being let down by the rail industry on a regular basis. Their 'incidents' are just the newsworthy ones. I'm pretty sure disabled rail users are let down on a daily basis across the network.

The legislation in place (Equality Act 2010) has been hard fought for after decades of campaigning. It now needs to be robustly enforced. A disabled rail user should have exactly same opportunity to travel as an able bodied person. No excuses.
Logged

Do you have something you would like to add to this thread, or would you like to raise a new question at the Coffee Shop? Please [register] (it is free) if you have not done so before, or login (at the top of this page) if you already have an account - we would love to read what you have to say!

You can find out more about how this forum works [here] - that will link you to a copy of the forum agreement that you can read before you join, and tell you very much more about how we operate. We are an independent forum, provided and run by customers of Great Western Railway, for customers of Great Western Railway and we welcome railway professionals as members too, in either a personal or official capacity. Views expressed in posts are not necessarily the views of the operators of the forum.

As well as posting messages onto existing threads, and starting new subjects, members can communicate with each other through personal messages if they wish. And once members have made a certain number of posts, they will automatically be admitted to the "frequent posters club", where subjects not-for-public-domain are discussed; anything from the occasional rant to meetups we may be having ...

 
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
This forum is provided by a customer of Great Western Railway (formerly First Great Western), and the views expressed are those of the individual posters concerned. Visit www.gwr.com for the official Great Western Railway website. Please contact the administrators of this site if you feel that the content provided by one of our posters contravenes our posting rules (email link). Forum hosted by Well House Consultants

Jump to top of pageJump to Forum Home Page