Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Travelling by Train to Birmingham a Few Years Ago

I’ve once had a situation where a member of the station staff was less than helpful. I’d booked a place on the train and made my own way to the platform (informing the relevant person in passenger services). There I was sitting by Coach D (the designated coach) waiting for assistance. Next to me there’s a column to which a portable ramp is attached and the carriage door has a wheelchair symbol emblazoned upon it – so, I knew I was in the right place.

A geezer in railway livery strolls past; I politely point out I need to get on the train; he tells me it will be leaving in a few minutes, blah, blah, blah...shrug, sorry.

I wheel perilously close to the gap between platform and train and through the open door grab onto a fixed part of the train. Getting the attention of other passengers I inform the guard in no uncertain terms that I’m not moving; and, if he wants to wave the train on, then to go ahead.

He threatens me with Old Bill. Go ahead; get the Old Bill, I defiantly challenge. He bottled out; unlocked the ramp – by now a passenger standing in the door had assured me the door wouldn’t be closed until I was on the train – and pushed me onto the train.

The guard was in the wrong; he knew he was in the wrong; I knew he was in the wrong; and, several passengers knew he was in the wrong.

Sadly, the guy at Manchester Piccadilly didn’t win the support of the other train users.

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