The Anonymous Widower

Increase In Hate Crime Against Disabled Rail Users

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

This is the introductory paragraph.

New figures published by the Department for Transport have shown that hate crimes toward disabled people traveling on the rail network have risen by 24% in the last three years.

I don’t think the abuse has just been on trains either.

I rarely see any friction over the use of the wheelchair bay on buses in London, but my feeling is that I see it more often than I used too!

  • Perhaps six months ago,  a mother was not very pleased at having to get off the bus so that a disabled guy in a wheelchair could use the space.
  • Some people think possession of the space is all important.
  • I’ve also heard arguments over who takes precedent.

I wonder, if it is worse in other parts of the UK, where wheelchair access to buses is not as easy,as in London and there are fewer buses.

Are Some Passengers Annoyed At Being Delayed?

I’ve certainly seen moderate annoyance on buses and trains, when there is a delay caused by a disabled passenger getting on or off a bus or train, with sometimes some very offensive words being said.

So What Should Be Done About It?

Obviously, we need to do all the usual personal things to make sure that things run smoothly and serious abusers should be prosecuted.

But I also think, that we should aim for the following.

Every train must have a level platform and train interface.

The picture was taken from literature about the South Wales Metro and shows a visualisation of one of the Flirts, that will run on the routes in South Wales.

We should ban the ordering of trains, that don’t meet this criteria.

All routes between street and platform should be step-free.

It would be an expensive program, but there would be a lot who’d benefit.

  • People in wheelchairs
  • Babies and toddlers in buggies and their pushers.
  • People dragging large cases.
  • Cyclists with bicycles
  • Older people with mobility issues.

There will be collateral benefits.

  • Trains would be speeded up, as they would not have to wait so long in stations.
  • More people will use the trains and not just the disabled.
  • If the program were properly managed, it could create work for local construction firms all over the UK.

It might even encourage inward and stay-at-home  tourism from those with mobility issues.


April 3, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , ,


  1. Should we ban the ordering of trains that don’t have step free access? Yes.

    To order more step up trains means you are discriminating against not only people in wheelchairs but all other rail users that would benefit from level access

    So we now have:
    • Stadler class 745 Greater Anglia units that operator between Liverpool Street and Stansted and Norwich
    • Stadler class 755 Greater Anglia units that operate from Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Ipswich
    • Stadler class 777 Merseyrail units being delivered
    • Stadler South Wales Metro.

    Which shows you can have trains with level access.

    I seem to recall that when shops were required to have better access for people in wheelchairs etc, a reasonableness test was applied to determine whether or not shop owners (and landlords) had to modify access with the benefit of the doubt being towards providing better access.

    So if you apply a reasonableness test to ordering trains with level access vs trains without level access then I would suggest any non level access train would fail a reasonableness test and there any person or organisation responsible for ordering trains without level access would be guilty of discrimination. And ordering should include:
    • Developing train specifications
    • Consultations
    • Designing trains
    • Issuing of Requests to Tender
    • Evaluation of Tenders
    • Etc,

    i.e, the whole process from idea to in service

    And organisations would include:
    • Train Operating Companies (TOCs)
    • The Rail Delivery Group, the umbrella organisation for TOCS
    • Leasing Companies and any other owner of new trains
    • The Department for Transport (DfT), particularly as the DfT specifies and procures the train service
    • The Treasury – who decides of the DfT budget
    • The MPs who become the relevant Transport and Rail ministers.

    I would be interest to hear the view of wheelchair users, etc and particularly what is the legal requirement.

    Comment by TW | April 3, 2021 | Reply

    • Well said.

      One thing that isn’t often pointed out is that Greater Anglia and Merseyrail have adjusted the platforms without too much disruption.

      I also think, that as Dear Old Vicky has shown in London, Harrington Humps can be made to work.

      Comment by AnonW | April 3, 2021 | Reply

      • I was aware that Merseyrail had gone round all the platforms and had adjusted nearly all – adjusted meant new edging, track adjustment (vertical and horizontal), resurfacing and probably some more bits. I think the only platforms not requiring work were the underground ones which dated from when the Loop and the Link were built.
        I was not aware Greater Anglia had done a similar exercise but maybe not stations shared with other ToCs, Ely or Newmarket perhaps.
        I will add something later about Copenhagen – we holidayed there year before Covid and lots of level access roll on roll on boarding which was put in place 10-20 years ago!

        Comment by TW | April 5, 2021

  2. Speaking as someone who travels with a wheelchair-bound person, have thankfully not experienced issues with other passengers. Usually it is faulty wheelchair ramps or bus drivers with free wheelchair bays occassionally deciding to drive off rather than bother turning on the wheelchair ramp.

    Also find it helps to make sure we are waiting in a prominant at or near a bus stop where the driver can clearly see us, so they know beforehand the wheelchair ramp is likely to be needed (it is curiously rare to see users with prams that also likely need the ramp to take a similar proactive approach)

    Very much agree with the expansion of step-free routes between street and platform. Another suggestion that would also particularly appreciate is for all buses (where feasible) featuring Oyster / Freedom Pass validators at the exit doors, along the same lines as the New Routemaster’s pass validator at the middle exit door as it would save the hassle of having to walk pass other passengers up to the driver just to get both our passes validated.

    Comment by Al | April 3, 2021 | Reply

    • I have forwarded your comments to the boss of one of London’s biggest bus companies, who I’m talking to in another thread.

      Comment by AnonW | April 3, 2021 | Reply

      • Thanks. With regards to the Underground, would say the expansion of step-free platforms across the network would also free up the otherwise very helpful yet overstretched staff to focus on other things at stations. Without them having to deal with the additional stress of accompanying users to the platforms, particularly at busy times of the day just help set-up the ramps onto the trains whilst keeping in contact with train dispatchers to organise the journey (plus which trains is ready, etc) at most stations.

        Comment by Al | April 3, 2021

  3. IOne Sunday morning about two years ago, I had a long chat with a station guy. He told me, that if you’re on the platform, the most common question asked, is which way do the trains come in. I’ve been asked that question several times. We decided there was a need for arrows to indicate direction, perhaps as a frieze to the adverts. He felt it would ease platform crowding.

    The other thing was at Coventry station, a Virgin guy told me, that all platforms that had trains to London needed a tube map, as he was always being asked how you get to say Epsom from Euston.

    Several little things could ease train travel for those, who don’t do it that often.

    Comment by AnonW | April 4, 2021 | Reply

  4. Here are my comments on step free level access from Copenhagen referred to earlier. I have some photos but do not know how to upload the photos into the reply – the website describes each train type with a full fleetlist by individual unit or car and there is a photo asscocated with each unit or car. Perhaps our Anonymous Widower can do the honours of linking in some phoots or I can supply him with some. Or maybe it gives rise to a new article on what has already been accomplished elsewhere in Europe!

    In the summer of 2019, we spent a week’s holiday around Copenhagen and travelled a lot on public transport with a Copenhagen card –

    There were 3 lots of train transport which all provided step free level access roll on roll off boarding and these trains date from 1995-2010. The platforms at all the stations used have been modified to provide easy level access, From the condition of the platforms, I think the pltform works were done at the time the train types were introduced.

    Oresundstag EMUs – Helsingoer – Copenhagen – Copenhagen Airport – Oresund Bridge – Malmo – other Swedish destinations. Helsingoer is about 25 miles due north of Copenhagen and about 4 miles across the Oresund is Helsinborg (in Sweden).
    105 x 3 car EMUs where the centre car has a lower level section with 2 sets of double doors encompassing a multi user space (wheelchairs, buggies, bicycles, etc and thus tip up seats) with step free level access roll on roll off, build dates 2000-2010 approx.

    Copenhagen S-Tog, 4th generation – local suburban services based on Copenhagen Central, 105 x 8 car Talgo like articulated EMUs and 31 x 4 car Talgo like articulated EMUS, step free access to all cars, build dates 1995-2005 approx

    Lokaltog – operates the local lines in North Zealand – north of Helsingoer (connects with Oresundstag) and Hillerod (connects with S-tog), operates 27 x 2 car Alstom Coradia LINT 41, articulated DMUs where the inner ends are low floor step free level access, encompassing a multi user space (wheelcahirs, buggies, bicycles, etc and thus many tip-up seats) and wide walk through car inter connection, build dates approx

    Comment by TW | April 5, 2021 | Reply

  5. Re Copenhagen – Item no 2.

    I have created a flickr album with all my photos of the step free level access.

    GB P1140320 Helsingor station panorama from mid platform footbridge

    These photos show the Lokaltog Alstom Lint units and the Oresundstag units with the doorway, step and platform edge and a few of the multi-purpose interior section.

    The Anyonymous Widower is permitted to resue the photos in articles.

    Comment by TW | April 6, 2021 | Reply

    • Thanks!

      Comment by AnonW | April 6, 2021 | Reply

  6. Photo is previous post – Lokaltog Alstom Lint in Helsingor platform

    below – another view of Lokaltog Alstom Lint unit in Helsingor platform

    Hornbaekbanen low floor level access roll-on-roll-off 3 - RG P1130782D nee P1140196 Lokaltog Alsthom LINT 41 in Helsingor station platform 4 Hornbaek line platform

    below – Lokaltog Alstom Lint doors open

    Hornbaekbanen low floor level access roll-on-roll-off 4 - RH P1140191 Lokaltog Alsthom LINT 41 door and step

    below – Lokaltog Alstom Lint Interior

    Hornbaekbanen low floor level access roll-on-roll-off 6 - RH P1140191D nee P1140193 Lokaltog Alsthom LINT 41 interior by door showing cycle buggy wheelchair space

    below – Oresundstag unit centre car with low floor section

    Oresundstag low floor level access roll-on-roll-off 07 -E BD P1130687 Oresundstag at Helsingor

    below – Oresundstag unit centre car low floor doorway

    Oresundstag low floor level access roll-on-roll-off 08 - E BY P1140198 Oresundstag low floor door at Helsingor

    below – Oresundstag unit centre car low floor doorway

    Oresundstag low floor level access roll-on-roll-off 09 - E BZ P1140197 Oresundstag low floor door at Helsingor

    below – interior of Oresundstag centre car, centre section showing multi-purpose role

    Oresundstag low floor level access roll-on-roll-off 11 - E CB P1140203 Oresundstag low floor centre section of centre car

    Comment by TW | April 6, 2021 | Reply

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