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NIGHTMARE: St Albans resident endures the travel journey from hell 

 Published on: 11th November 2019   |   By: News Desk   |   Category: Uncategorized

A wheelchair user from St Albans had the travel journey from hell when she was left stuck on a train after not being able to get off. 

Theatre enthusiast Shona Cobb took to twitter when she had to live out her nightmare and was left in tears after not being able to get off the train, due to their not being disability access. 

Shona arrived at St Pancras at 10.45pm on October 15 and was set to take her 20-minute train home to St Albans when she was confronted with the issue that the lift at the station wasn’t working. 

Speaking to StAlbansNews, Shona said: “It wasn’t a surprise to me that the lift was broken, it has had problems since it was put in, especially over the past year. 

“I spoke to a member of staff and they said they could ring me a taxi, but I knew the tube would be quicker and all I wanted was to get home. 

“I checked with a member of TfL staff that Farringdon was step free and they told me it was, so all was fine, I was on my way home. 

“When the train arrived at Farringdon, to my dismay, there was a massive gap between the train and the platform. I looked around helplessly to see if there were any passengers that could help me, but there was no one and after a few seconds the doors closed shut. 

“I just burst into tears, I think anyone who is a wheelchair user or disabled will understand that it is something you are always scared of, like an actual nightmare, and I’ve managed to avoid it for a couple years but it finally happened – being stuck on a train I couldn’t get off. 

“I decided to get off at the next station, which was Blackfriars, even though it would take me an added 45 minutes, I was so upset I just wanted to get home. 

“I spoke to a member of staff at Blackfriars and I asked if they could ring through to St Albans and let them know I would need assistance getting off. Blackfriars are awful at ringing through, so I was fully expecting to arrive and there being no one there to assist me and I’d have to ring the train’s alarm to get off.”

When Shona arrived at St Albans station, as she predicted there was no one to assist her so she was left with no choice but to block the doors with her chair. 

Shona said: “I had my chair blocking the doors and a passenger who saw me needing help press the train’s alarm. 

“The driver of the train had to personally get off to lay the ramp down himself. I felt so sick and exhausted that this is my everyday life.”

The train journey that should have got Shona back to St Albans station for 11.15pm, actually got there just after 12.30pm. 

Shona added: “I go into London several times a week and there’s just always something and its so frustrating that when things, such as when the lift breaks, its not treated as an emergency or taken seriously. 

“Thameslink got in contact with me straight away and launched an investigation into what happened. Thameslink are always really good at rectifying what’s happened and always apologise profusely. 

“However, when TfL saw my tweets, they asked me to fill in a complaints form and it took them 10 working days to get back to me, and what came of it is that they told me they were looking at getting some refresher training for their staff. 

“Another occasion I was travelling into London to see a musical with my mum and the train broke down and the lift wasn’t working. 

“I was stuck on the platform for nearly two hours and I had to be evacuated by an automatic chair that the staff didn’t really know how to use, and I was jolted around a lot. 

“Something needs to change because at the moment there seems to be different rules for different people. This is becoming a regular occurrence for me to have an issue with public transport and its disrupting my life.”

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