RAIL users have hit out at Stratford station bosses after a grandmother was left stranded on the platform with a double buggy and child.
Reverend Jo Williams, who was on a day trip to the RST from her Dorridge home, was stunned to see two families with children in buggies refused help by staff on Friday May 30.
Knowing passengers can either access the station exit via steps and a pedestrian bridge or be escorted by staff over a ground-level crossing, Rev Williams watched on as the two families asked for assistance.
But when they approached the booking office, a member of staff said he was off duty and there was no-one else around to help – meaning they would have to use the bridge.
Fortunately one family – who had already been escorted across the level crossing earlier the same day – had enough adults to carry both their shopping and the buggy up and down the stairs.
But the grandmother, who uses the crossing regularly with staff assistance, was forced to call her daughter who drove to the Alcester Road station and lifted the pram and shopping across the bridge.
Shocked by the treatment, Rev Williams contacted The Observer.
She said: “Although there is a sign requesting notification of a wheelchair user requiring assistance, there is no such mention about helping people with young children.
“I am fuming about the embarrassing, un-British lack of ‘welcome’. Stratford is one of Britain’s foremost tourist destinations yet there was no assistance whatsoever.
“I would have thought the travel experience would reflect the fact millions of pounds comes in from tourism but you’ve got this up-to-date theatre with what is essentially, a very old train station nearby.
“As a tourist destination, I imagine there’s lots of people coming with very little English as well who would struggle and it puts them in a very difficult situation.
“Had the lady not been able to call her daughter, I don’t know what she would have done and it raises the question of how people are meant to cope.”
Fellow traveller Ann Davis, who herself has mobility issues, also contacted us after she witnessed the same incident.
She said: “The failure of the station to deliver on the access it describes is particularly sad for a town, which welcomes many visitors and tourists. What is happening here?”
But a spokeswoman for London Midland, which is responsible for the station, insisted it was up to the traveller to inform them of any specific travel requirements.
She said: “London Midland asks passengers who require assistance boarding or alighting its trains to contact us in advance.
“That way, we can endeavour to ensure a member of staff is waiting at the appropriate platform to provide support.”
She added that work was currently underway to install a passenger lift, which would provide “improved access for all.”