EXCLUSIVE ‘I was scared, it felt like I was being held prisoner’: Disabled passenger was ‘trapped’ on a train twice in four days after railway staff forgot to help her off
- Claire Fisher, 56, was left on Transport For Wales services twice in four days
- Read more: Train passenger says he was refused entry to accessible toilet
A disabled passenger was left ‘trapped’ on a train twice in four days after railway staff forgot to help her off.
Claire Fisher, 56, was expecting the guard to turn up with a ramp so she could get off the train on her electric buggy.
But no one arrived and other passengers came to her rescue by lifting the arthritic mother-of-three onto the platform.
Three days later Claire, who has special assistance on public transport, was on the same train home from work and the guard failed to arrive again.
This time the doors closed and the train pulled off forcing Claire to push the emergency stop button.
Claire Fisher, 56, was expecting the guard to turn up with a ramp so she could get off the train on her electric buggy
Claire only started her job two weeks ago and is determined to keep working and contributing to society rather than live on benefits
She said: ‘I felt like I was trapped – both times they knew I was on the train and couldn’t get off without help.
‘It was horrible, I was in tears and it has put me in fear of using that service again.’
Grandmother Claire uses a Great Western train to get to Swansea from her home in Burry Port, Carmarthenshire and says it’s five star service all the way including free coffee.
But she dreads the journey after leaving her job as an administration manager with an international golf company in Swansea.
Claire said: ‘It’s only a 20-minute journey and they help me on to the train without a problem.
‘The guard or conductor is aware I’m on the train and is supposed to be there at my stop with a special ramp to help me off.
‘But last Monday I had to be helped off by other passengers and I was told the conductor forgot I was there.
‘On Thursday night it was worse – the train pulled off with me still on it. I panicked and hit the emergency button.’
Claire was told the train could not reverse 300 yards back to Burry Port station and she would have to get off at the next stop in the village of Kidwelly.
But she was told there were no taxis in Kidwelly and to stay on the train until Carmarthen 10 miles away.
The 56-year-old was told the train could not reverse 300 yards back to her home station of Burry Port and she would have to get off at the next stop in the village of Kidwelly – where there weren’t any taxis
Claire now dreads her nightly train trip home and has written to Transport for Wales demanding an apology and a promise they won’t let her down again
At Carmarthen she was informed there were still no taxis available and she had to wait for a train in freezing weather to take her back to Burry Port where her husband Andrew, 56, was waiting.
Claire said the episodes have knocked her confidence after being determined to carry on working despite being in constant pain from arthritis in her hip and spine.
She has undergone one hip replacement operation and is awaiting another but has been told it could be 10 years.
Claire only started her job two weeks ago and is determined to keep working and contributing to society rather than live on benefits.
But she now dreads her nightly train trip home and has written to Transport for Wales demanding an apology and a promise they won’t let her down again.
She said: ‘I was scared, I panicked, I didn’t know why I was being kept on the train. It felt like I was being held prisoner.
Claire said the episodes have knocked her confidence travelling after being determined to carry on working despite being in constant pain from arthritis in her hip and spine
‘I dread going home from work now in the evenings because it could happen again.
‘If it happens to me it could happen to anybody and I don’t want that.
‘I feel Transport for Wales has taken away my confidence and my dignity and that’s not fair when I ‘m trying to be as independent as I can.’
Marie Daly, Chief Customer and Culture Officer at Transport for Wales, said: ‘We’d like to apologise to Claire for her poor experience while using our services.
‘We’re disappointed the service provided fell short of what she or we expect, and we’re looking into it as a matter of urgency.
‘We’re committed to building a fully accessible rail network for Wales and the Borders and this is at the forefront of our planning.
‘While a significant amount of work has been done in recent years to improve accessibility there is still a lot of work to be done to transform our trains and stations, and ensure customers receive any assistance that they require.’
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