Paralympian forced to wet herself on train without accessible toilet

221129

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The guard may normally stay in the rear cab, but surely if they were made aware of a customer needing assistance by the Twitter team they would not do so and actually go and speak to the customer.
Have you ever tried to contact traincrew on a service in the middle of nowhere?
 
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Bantamzen

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Never catering on that train, used to catch it myself when I lived in Oakham. First one to leave Birmingham without it in the evenings.

Once she's left Leicester there are no toilets at any stations, melton, Oakham or Stamford, to peterborough. By the sounds of it the train would have had a delay at Peteborough (where the disabled toilets are plentiful on most platforms) but if they weren't going to get that far then as far as I can see the guard then had three options:

1. Open the disabled loo and allow it to be used even if it was knackered (probably what should have happened).

2. Use ramp to move passenger to the coach with the cupboard style toilet.

3. De train the passenger at an intermediate stop using the on-board ramp. Local knowledge would then be to direct the passenger to a nearby facility (eg several pubs near Oakham station). This would however probably have incurred as much bad PR as the story has anyway.
With regard to these options:

1) This would assume that the toilet could actually be used, we don't quite know the nature of the fault. If the loo was full to overflowing, allowing this lady to use it would potentially have caused equal distress and bad publicity, as well as potentially exposing the rest of the carriage to the contents.

2) As mentioned by another poster, the train could well have been at capacity, so whilst this might have been an option getting enough people to clear the corridors to the cubicle & having the people to assist her could have been an issue. Not just because it would invariably have caused problems with the standees losing their "spot" but unless the guard had adequate assistance from another member of crew or passenger, he could have found him/herself in hot water if the lady got injured moving through the carriage.

3) This assumes local knowledge of the area. What if the guard detrained her at a station with no facilities for some distance?

eastdyke said:
I agree with you, sadly there was a fourth way - to carry on regardless?

The three stations that you mention are all managed by EMT (who run only a token service) and seem to have 'modest' ney few facilities. Is there a disconnect here? I know that XC manage no stations, perhaps this should be looked at with respect to this route and future Franchises (but perhaps also on another thread).
This sadly is the nature of a privatised network. Not only do you have a disconnection as you suggest, but providing facilities at stations costs money, and in this day and age that doesn't just mean the cost of installing facilities. You are required to maintain these during the day to a certain standard, there has to be a level of security in case of attempted attacks etc. It just isn't as simple as saying more stations need them, cost is a key factor in these. It is exactly the same reason why so many councils close their public facilities either for later in the day or completely, because they simply don't have the funds to keep them serviceable and safe 24/7.
 

eastdyke

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With regard to these options:

1) This would assume that the toilet could actually be used, we don't quite know the nature of the fault. .....
The XC MD is quoted as saying that it was a door defect (http://www.railforums.co.uk/showpost.php?p=2831135&postcount=109) but that is pretty much irrelevant now.

With regard to 'facilities' I was generalising not specifically referring to toilets.
The information on NRE suggests that each of the 3 stations between Leicester and Peterborough on the XC diagrams (Melton Mowbray, Oakham and Stamford (SMD)) has help points only on platforms 1 and mentions very limited step free access between platforms.
eg SMD:
'Step free access note
Level access from car park to Peterborough bound platform.
Footbridge only to Leicester bound platform (i.e. no step free access).
Barrow crossing restricted times therefore Stamford to Leicester passengers to travel via Peterborough and return back.'

Bur all of this is really for another thread.
 

Dr Hoo

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The overall theme coming out of this story is the need for a pro-active approach.

Cross Country knew that they were short of stock and knew that they were pressing a defective train into service on a long distance diagram. They should have made sure that passenger information systems were updated to show the limited toilet facilities at all calling points.

The 'guard' should have announced the limited facilities as part of the 'welcome' after each pick-up, followed by the 'I will be coming through the train to assist with any problems...' spiel.

In particular the guard should have noticed a wheelchair bound passenger being put on board at Nuneaton. It was a short train, straight platform, etc. Obviously if the staff changed en route the relevant circumstances should have been briefed as part of the handover.

Sadly so often a 'fingers crossed' approach seems to be applied, leading to situations where it is then too late to do anything when an urgent need arises.

During my career on the railway I learnt many lessons from bad experiences. There are also many lessons to draw from this event, across all TOCs, controls, stations and rolling stock types. It isn't just about Cross Country, Turbostars and Oakham (or wherever).
 
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AlterEgo

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Someone mentioned contact with XC's twitter team... (tho was that after the train?)

It reminded me of the earlier Virgin PR which is such a contrast

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/01/06/toilet-paper-delivery-twitter_n_6423760.html
He he, that vlogger was working with Virgin on that PR stunt. I really like how many people get taken in by it!

XC's Twitter team did take the customer's details via DM, before she had her "accident", and do have the ability to phone the conductor. They also sit in Control. This is likely to be a much higher level failure than just not calling the guard, who, it seems, already knew anyway.
 

O L Leigh

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The overall theme coming out of this story is the need for a pro-active approach.

Cross Country knew that they were short of stock and knew that they were pressing a defective train into service on a long distance diagram. They should have made sure that passenger information systems were updated to show the limited toilet facilities at all calling points.

The 'guard' should have announced the limited facilities as part of the 'welcome' after each pick-up, followed by the 'I will be coming through the train to assist with any problems...' spiel.

In particular the guard should have noticed a wheelchair bound passenger being put on board at Nuneaton. It was a short train, straight platform, etc. Obviously if the staff changed en route the relevant circumstances should have been briefed as part of the handover.
Do we know this didn't happen? Sadly we do not as we only have an incomplete version of events. We also don't know that the social media team were not in contact with the guard for precisely the same reason. We are simply inferring this.

Is it not also equally possible that this situation didn't develop until after the train left Leicester and came to a head before it arrived at Peterborough? Is it not also possible that control and the guard were in contact all throughout the incident but that the lack of toilet facilities along that stretch of the route meant that they were effectively over a barrel with nothing that they could do?

I'm not excusing the defective door as things like that ought to be fixed, but the need to use that unit was still there. It was either use that unit or cancel the service. I should also point out that I am not aware of any facility to update the PIS with short term messages on individual sets.

O L Leigh
 

fredk

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The lady in the wheelchair may not have *wanted* to be the one holding everyone else up for 20 minutes whilst she went to the loo, even if she was offered it as a choice.

Personally, I would feel embarrassed if a 100-odd other passengers had been sat for 20 minutes just so I could go to the toilet, and then had to go back and sheepishly re-join them (imagine the glares a minority of other passengers would give, even if the vast majority - for which I would include myself - would be understanding).

Living with a disability is not always about expecting special treatment for everything; this lady may have just wished to be able to do what everyone else does (going to the loo without inconveniencing or delaying others), without having to be the one for whom special arrangements must be made above the needs of others. On the flip side, how many able bodied people would honestly consider an hour-long delay on their journey home just to use the loo acceptable? Especially on a cold winters' evening.

That's what many people with a disability would consider "equality".
She may not have wanted that but I'm sure she would have preferred losing 20 minutes for 100 people to what did happen in front of others instead. I imagine she would be very happy with the customer service given if she had been taken by the guard/platform staff to the station toilet. It's also not as if it would have to be announced as the reason for the delay.
 

eastdyke

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She may not have wanted that but I'm sure she would have preferred losing 20 minutes for 100 people to what did happen in front of others instead. I imagine she would be very happy with the customer service given if she had been taken by the guard/platform staff to the station toilet. It's also not as if it would have to be announced as the reason for the delay.
The point is that there are no Station toilets any of the stations between Leicester and Peterborough. (Melton Mowbray, Oakham and Stamford). By the time the train arrived at Peterborough it was too late.
 

222007

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Presumably the train crew knew the toilet was out of use when the poor traveller was assisted on to the train in the first place, or do these things go out of service on their own during the journey? If they did know, they could have informed her and suggested the next train might be better. If they did know but did not tell her then that is a poor show.
I used to work for Crosscountry and for all there failings they were good at getting information to stations regarding disabled facilities, i suggest this is as much the station staff's problem for not informing her facilities were not available and offering an alternative service.
 

Blamethrower

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Playing devils advocate here......

Could she not have held it? Should she not have gone before she got on the train?

Would this even be a story with pages of RailForum discussion if the "victim" was not a woman, or disabled or black or a paralympian?

If she was not all of the above, I think that people would have questioned this much more vigourously. As usual not all the facts are forthcoming and all the bleeding hearts are out in force influencing opinion making excuses for people they know nothing about.

What is it about peoples status/social class/race/sex that excuses them from being asked all the questions they would ask of an able bodied white male?

Equality is dead, self-entitlement is rife.

Would you excuse a disabled person for holding up the train because they are late?
 

najaB

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Could she not have held it? Should she not have gone before she got on the train?
Had she known before boarding that there wouldn't be a toilet available she very well may have gone before boarding.
Would this even be a story with pages of RailForum discussion if the "victim" was not a woman, or disabled or black or a paralympian?
Yes. See the 137 post thread about toilet provision that existed before this one. And that was based solely on an interaction with customer services - nobody wet themselves.
If she was not all of the above, I think that people would have questioned this much more vigourously. As usual not all the facts are forthcoming and all the bleeding hearts are out in force influencing opinion making excuses for people they know nothing about.
I don't think there has been much in the way of 'bleeding heart' comments, and I haven't seen much in the way of excuses being made.
What is it about peoples status/social class/race/sex that excuses them from being asked all the questions they would ask of an able bodied white male?
In this case the fact that she was disabled is pertinent as it means she was unable to use the working toilet. I've not seen any comments making reference to her social class, race or gender.
Would you excuse a disabled person for holding up the train because they are late?
No. And I don't think many people would, unless the lateness was caused by the railway (e.g. delayed transfer from another service).
 
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WelshBluebird

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Playing devils advocate here......

Could she not have held it? Should she not have gone before she got on the train?

Would this even be a story with pages of RailForum discussion if the "victim" was not a woman, or disabled or black or a paralympian?

If she was not all of the above, I think that people would have questioned this much more vigourously. As usual not all the facts are forthcoming and all the bleeding hearts are out in force influencing opinion making excuses for people they know nothing about.

What is it about peoples status/social class/race/sex that excuses them from being asked all the questions they would ask of an able bodied white male?

Equality is dead, self-entitlement is rife.

Would you excuse a disabled person for holding up the train because they are late?
Well obviously she couldn't have held it! People don't decide to wet themselves if they can hold it.

As for going before hand, presumably she expected facilities to be available on the damn train (as is normally the case). OR perhaps, believe it or not she didn't feel the need to go beforehand?

And for the rant about her being a woman / disabled, well for being female, lets just say it is easier for a male to quickly pop somewhere to urinate if pushed for it than it is for a female. But as she was disabled, guess what, that makes it a hell of a lot more difficult to use normal facilities. A fully abled person could have much more easily made it to one of the other toilets, or would have find it easier to alight at a station inbetween. Not even mentioning some disabilities result in the increased need for toilet facilities as a symptom.

I'd like to highlight this line from the post above, before things get too energetic:
People use that phrase disregard other people's legitimate issues way too often.
 

Via Bank

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Playing devils advocate here......
Must… resist… oh OK, I'll bite because this has gone far enough.

Could she not have held it? Should she not have gone before she got on the train?
Clearly not. And also clearly not, since she was not informed before boarding of the defective toilet.

Would this even be a story with pages of RailForum discussion if the "victim" was not a woman, or disabled or black or a paralympian?
Let me ask you this: if the victim had been a White, able bodied, cisgender, heterosexual male who wasn't a paralympian, would you be on this thread asking if he was using his status as a white able-bodied non paralympian to push his self entitlement or gain special treatment?

What is it about peoples status/social class/race/sex that excuses them from being asked all the questions they would ask of an able bodied white male?
I must've imagined all those posts earlier in this thread asking if there was another side to the story, or the ones saying that this lady wetting herself was acceptable if it didn't put a wrecking ball through the timetable.

Equality is dead, self-entitlement is rife.
Clearly equality is dead if disabled people can't even demand a place to p*ss and sh*t on an intercity train journey without being accused of being self entitled.

Would you excuse a disabled person for holding up the train because they are late?
When was arriving late for a train ever mentioned? I could be forgiven for thinking you were introducing a straw man argument here.
 

Class 170101

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We don't know which station was the unstaffed one in question but I would have thought many of the stations on that route would be staffed and I'd expect would have those facilities, including Leicester, Peterborough, Ely, Cambridge, and Audley End.

At a guess, it may have been between Leicester and Peterborough.
I understand it was between Leicester and Peterborough. Not aware of loo facilities at Audley End, stand to be corrected on that one.

The only station that would make sense for is March, its the only station en route with toilets and shorter staffing hours. And that doesn't make a great deal of sense as March is only ~15m from Peterborough and ~20m from Ely which are both start to finish stations.

More logical is between Leicester and Peterborough where you have an hour between stations with facilities.
Whilst March may have facilities. Are they open when the ticket office is closed? I don't think it has that long a opening hours.
 
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trainophile

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Presumably there are staff facilities at stations that don't have toilets for passenger use. In an exceptional situation these should be made available, and there should be some means of opening up access to the staff cloakroom. Perhaps if they were externally locked by the same system that guards use their "T" key for, then all guards would be able to open the door/s to them.
 

Llanigraham

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Presumably there are staff facilities at stations that don't have toilets for passenger use. In an exceptional situation these should be made available, and there should be some means of opening up access to the staff cloakroom. Perhaps if they were externally locked by the same system that guards use their "T" key for, then all guards would be able to open the door/s to them.
Knowing how common T keys are, that would be a terrible security risk.
 

Steve Harris

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I understand it was between Leicester and Peterborough. Not aware of loo facilities at Audley End, stand to be corrected on that one.
I have no idea if Audley End still has loo's. I know there used to be a gents on the down platform (which was ropey to say the least), never saw any disabled ones though. Although I am talking about early 90's here when I was frequently bashing 86's.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
This story has just been covered again on BBC 1's LOOK EAST. As more disabled people have come forward in the Anglia region to say that have had similar issues with disabled toilets being out of use, most notably on AGA.
 

cjmillsnun

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Somebody has mentioned the Radar key being required for some toilets.

Although these keys are often given to people with problems they can also be bought of either Amazon or E Bay for a couple of pounds
Makes life easier .

Graham
Many years back I purchased a disabled toilet key from Ebay, which has often come in handy
And if you're not disabled, isn't that abusing the facilities?
 

Liam

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Isn't RADAR/Disability Rights UK a charity? If you are going to buy from anyone, it should be from them.
 

MarlowDonkey

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. A requirement for frequent use of a toilet is not seen as a disability (in my view it should be)
That's a slight surprise. For anyone with that problem, the disability rights movement is actually hostile, since it encourages the closure or lack of provision of facilities only accessible to the able bodied. Crossrail in Central London is a high speed, high capacity Central line, but out in the sticks, it's a main line stopping service. Removal of toilet facilities is a retrograde step, even if forced by the need to parallel ordinary facilities with those providing wheelchair access given the amount of space they take up.
 

Via Bank

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That's a slight surprise. For anyone with that problem, the disability rights movement is actually hostile, since it encourages the closure or lack of provision of facilities only accessible to the able bodied.
What are you on about? Since when has the "disabled rights movement" encouraged the closure of non accessible toilets? Surely the goal of the disabled rights movement is to campaign for the removal of barriers that disable people (be they blind, wheelchair users, or whatever) from getting on with their lives?

Removal of toilet facilities is a retrograde step, even if forced by the need to parallel ordinary facilities with those providing wheelchair access given the amount of space they take up.
On this we can agree, although replace "forced by the need" to "cannot be bothered to fulfil the need." Withdrawing toilet facilities because the hypothetical TOC would rather not shell out to stop discriminating against disabled people is, frankly, rather spiteful.

It is a basic requirement of human beings that they need to excrete solid and liquid waste at regular intervals. If we intend to have a railway in this country that carries passengers, it needs to account for this, for all the passengers likely to use it. Otherwise, we might as well ask what the point of providing windows, carriages, heating, etc. is.

I think the Crossrail situation would be less bad if every station en route, as a minimum requirement, had toilets available during all hours of operation. But given TfL's current situation when it comes to staffing their stations I am not hopeful.
 

MarlowDonkey

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What are you on about? Since when has the "disabled rights movement" encouraged the closure of non accessible toilets?
Giving a cheaper and legal option of making no provision encourages closure.

It's the same with new stations and footbridges. If a new footbridge with lifts is required, this discourages the opening of new stations.

It's a trade off. If facilities with disabled access are too expensive to provide, the outcome will be no facilities at all.
 

O L Leigh

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I think that's needlessly bleak.

There is no suggestion that the provision of footbridges with lifts is discouraging the opening of new stations. Likewise the provision of accessible toilets for the use of all passengers, not just those with disabilities, is ensuring that toilet facilities are not being closed. Obviously where no toilet facilities exist there is no need to provide an accessible alternative, but I don't see that the lack of accessible toilets is resulting in the closure and removal of non-accessible toilets in order to ensure that no-one is being discriminated against. Unless a trend of closures can be identified I suggest that we close off this avenue as needless scaremongering.

As for Crossrail, I doubt that many passengers will travel beyond Central London anyway, so the need for onboard toilets is moot. On the GE side, passengers have long been used to using trains with no toilet facilities so it's only likely to be on the western end of the route where sphincters might be tested. But I'm sure the resourceful people of West London will adapt. As with the eastern half of the Crossrail route, there will be interchanges with mainline services and stations with toilet facilities between the geographical extremities of the routes and the points where they will diverge from the mainline. If the need is pressing I don't think it would be too much of an inconvenience to bail out somewhere en route to take one's ease before then catching the next service.

O L Leigh
 

matt_world2004

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Western and Eastern ends of crossrail are going to have toilets at most stations anyway. No advanced tickets on these services mean you are not tied to a specific train either.
 

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