Lifts installed to improve access at Chadwell Heath station - but wheelchair users still cannot get on trains
PUBLISHED: 14:20 09 January 2013 | UPDATED: 14:31 09 January 2013
Lifts worth hundreds of thousands of pounds have been installed to improve access at Chadwell Heath train station – but wheelchair users still cannot get on the trains.
Tony Parker, of Third Avenue, has been confined to a wheelchair since 2002 and was planning a trip to central London when he discovered he could not board trains because of the step from platforms.
Mr Parker, 58, has Guillain-Barré syndrome, which has left him partially paralysed with only limited use of his hands.
He said: “When I heard the lifts were open at the station, I told my girlfriend she could book the ride on the London Eye she got me for Christmas because I could get the train.
“But staff at the station told me you can get down on the platform but not on the train.
“There’s no one to help with a ramp and if you can’t get out your wheelchair there’s no way of getting on.
“They’ve done 99 per cent of everything but the most important part of the journey doesn’t seem to have been considered.”
Redbridge Mobility provides paid-for door-to-door transport for residents with mobility difficulties but costs rise if users pass their allocated number of journeys.
Mr Parker said he has used up his rides for the financial year and must pay more to use the service until April.
While Chadwell Heath station, in Station Road, has lifts, Seven Kings station, in High Road, and Goodmayes station, in Goodmayes Road, have no alternative to long flights of steps to platforms.
Ilford train station, in Cranbrook Road, has chairlifts to some platforms but people who cannot leave their wheelchairs, or have motorised chairs, cannot use them.
Train operator Greater Anglia runs services to London Liverpool Street from Chadwell Heath, Goodmayes, Seven Kings and Ilford.
A spokesman insisted the lifts had “greatly improved access” to Chadwell Heath station.
She added: “Wherever possible we would always ask passengers requesting assistance with their journey to contact us in advance so we are able to meet their requirements in providing the best possible service.”
Step-free access is planned for Ilford, Goodmayes and Chadwell Heath when Crossrail is completed in 2018.