Folding mobility scooter

An elderly disabled woman says she cannot find another way of visiting her sick husband after she was told she could not bring her mobility scooter onto a train.

According to a report in the Express, Gillian Cockburn a disabled woman said getting the train is the only way she can visit her husband.

The incident took place in Redcar, North Yorkshire, where Mrs Cockburn usually travels from Redcar East Station to Middlesbrough. However she was told on this journey by a Northern Rail staff member that she could not take her mobility scooter on board. The rail company later confirmed it does not allow any type of mobility scooter on board due to their “restricted manoeuvrability and stability”, unless it is a folded mobility scooter carried on board as luggage.

“I have travelled to the Midlands to visit my daughter using this scooter and I have never had any problems,” said Mrs Cockburn. “I am severely disabled and I have to rely on public transport to travel around – I don’t understand why this train company is any different.

“The alternative they have suggested is using a manual wheelchair, but that would take up more space and be harder to get on the train. If the scooter was just lifted on, they wouldn’t have to use the ramps, and it would be so much easier and save so much time.”

A spokesperson for Northern Rail responded by saying the “variety of platform heights” was a key factor in the company’s policy: “This can cause safety issues when driving a mobility scooter on or off a train with a low platform.

“Unfortunately, the trains we operate were built before the introduction of mobility scooters and were therefore not designed with them in mind.”

A similar incident took place in Redcar when a disabled man was barred from boarding the train with his mobility scooter and told it was a “health and safety risk”. According to Gazette Live, Paul McGowan was denied entry by ticket office staff and had to pay £25 for a taxi to Middlesbrough instead. He said: “I was getting a train to Middlesbrough to get the keys to my new property and we went to the office to get the tickets. When I went in for my tickets they said I wasn’t allowed on the train as I was a health and safety risk.

“I’m a single bloke and my only way of getting about is my mobility scooter. But they won’t let me on the train. She said if I folded it down and carried on myself, it would be alright. I’m disabled and I can’t carry it on myself, it’s too heavy. It’s not a very nice feeling.”

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