Wheelchair user has problems getting OFF a train (FCC)

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by jon0844, 11 Nov 2011.

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  1. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    First we had someone who wasn't allowed on a train in a wheelchair, now we have someone who couldn't get off!

    http://www.whtimes.co.uk/news/disab...doors_at_welwyn_garden_city_station_1_1124340

    It's quite possible FCC wasn't aware of the need to provide a ramp if it hadn't been requested, but it's surprising that the doors would close on someone trying to get off. The driver would surely have had a good clear view at WGC? And aren't some trains manually dispatched?

    I am guessing it was a 365 as they will open a little and try again, and have a bit more force - although not so hard that I expect it did any actual damage to person or chair.

    When a ramp is 'booked' I presume the member of staff signals to the driver as the train comes in, or does the driver get informed too? Otherwise, how do ramps normally get used without the driver just deciding to close the doors after 10-15 seconds? It's not the first time a driver has closed the doors on people as they were still trying to get off, let alone others trying to get on.
     
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  3. ChrisTheRef

    ChrisTheRef Established Member

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    In my TOC, the staff providing assistance will be wearing hi-vis and will acknowledge the driver as the train pulls in. As the guard steps off the train, the platform staff will make sure the guard is aware they're there. Simple.

    To be honest, it's pretty hard to miss a big yellow wheelchair ramp.
     
  4. raildude

    raildude Member

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    It is not a requirement to wear a Hi-vis to take a wheelchair off a train though. In fact, most TOC staff don't wear them, even for things like train dispatch. To be honest I find it distracting having non safety critical staff wearing Hi-viz.

    Platform Staff have no requirement to wear it unless they are going on or near the lines, and a platform is not counted as being near the line for that rule.

    Why would you need to acknowledge the driver?
     
  5. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Of course, this train was DOO and during the day may not be dispatched by anyone on the platform (and I'm not entirely sure that happens at any time of the day, but I am sure I've seen it in the evening rush hour for northbound trains - but someone will correct me).

    I do think platform staff will usually wear hi-vis clothing though. A lot of staff at Finsbury Park do, even if they're not actually dispatching. RPIs don't though - and it was an RPI that apparently went to get the ramp in this case.
     
  6. ChrisTheRef

    ChrisTheRef Established Member

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    No need, we're just a friendly bunch
     
  7. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    :roll:...DOO train provides customers with crap service 'coz there was nobody on the train to keep an eye on things...

    Welcome to the future folks :|

    This could have had nasty consequences actually, lucky it didn't. If only somebody had thought to provide a second member of staff on the train who could take charge of dispatch and stop people being jammed in the doors, deeply humiliated and potentially injured...Hang on a minute...
     
    Last edited: 12 Nov 2011
  8. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    Sounds like an overblown complaint. FCC have already denied that he had assistance booked. Such a denial would only be made if the TOC were absolutely certain of the fact.

    As usual, we hear only one side of the story! Pinch of salt chaps...
     
  9. Tomonthetrain

    Tomonthetrain Established Member

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    Hear hear
     
  10. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I recently asked on the FCC forum what they were doing about the train that stopped short at New Southgate, after it had been put on the fast line. A poster on here had shown that for some odd reason, they'd put the 8 car stop sign just after the 4/6 sign on that platform - meaning a driver would stop in a position that left part of the last car off the platform.

    They said they'd reviewed the CCTV and established it never happened! I was *ON* the train and saw it - and saw the man who decided to jump down to the floor and walk up the platform ramp. I'm annoyed that I didn't take a picture or video. I said on the forum that I was on that train, and they said they'd look again. Now, they cannot have possibly looked the first time can they? If they did look and it didn't happen, then I made it all up and I know I didn't!

    There was a time I'd have said FCC would hold their hands up, but now I am not so sure.

    However, for the record, it is quite possible that the person hadn't booked assistance (on that basis, they must have boarded without assistance too - as the person that loaded them on would almost certainly have taken it upon themselves to ask where they were going) but we can partly ignore that bit of the story as it isn't relevant to what happened.

    The driver has, for whatever reason, deemed it okay to close the doors and proceed - when a wheelchair was attempting to get off. As there's CCTV at WGC, I am certain the truth will be established - unless it was faulty that day!

    I know people at the paper, so I am sure they'll write a follow up story later on. Local papers are usually desperate for news, so will return to older stories - unlike the nationals that may get something wrong, or receive new information, and then bury the story and go all quiet!
     
  11. cyclebytrain

    cyclebytrain Member

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    I've seen wheelchairs stranded on Pendolinos at Euston a couple of times, (indeed I wondered whether it's the guard or the platform staff who should be responsible for checking this doesn't happen) in one case I know that they had booked assistance because I boarded at the same station and the platform staff there knew they were coming, so neither guards or booking assistance in advance guarantees there won't be problems.
     
  12. SS4

    SS4 Established Member

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    If you did get a pinch of salt for each time a story like this was made/swallowed you'd be able to keep Birmingham's roads clear this winter!
     
  13. John55

    John55 Member

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    "This could have had nasty consequences actually, lucky it didn't. If only somebody had thought to provide a second member of staff on the train who could take charge of dispatch and stop people being jammed in the doors, deeply humiliated and potentially injured...Oh, hang on a minute..."

    Like at James St on 22nd October.......
     
  14. BestWestern

    BestWestern Established Member

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    The Merseyrail incident was a totally different occurrence. We are talking here not of somebody on the platform falling, but actually attempting to alight from the train and finding themselves trapped in the doors. The report states that the passenger and his wheelchair were repeatedly hit as the doors attempted to close on him. That is an injury waiting to happen. This person was presumably immobile, and less able to deal with becoming trapped than others might be. We don't know the full facts yet, but what this underlines are the dangers of the person hitting the close button not actually being fully aware of what is happening around the doors.
     
  15. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I don't think the person was ever in any serious danger, but having doors (which we know are pretty harsh - if it was a 365) close on you over and over is not going to be nice - and the real question is why the driver didn't see what was going on in the first place. It almost certainly was platform 3 (down fast) so the driver would have looked out from the left hand side if there isn't a mirror or monitors.

    Now, I fully accept the story may have been exaggerated. It could be the doors closed once, detected an obstruction, tried again and then the driver opened them fully after looking out. But even if the story is exaggerated and even if nobody from FCC had been asked to assist in advance, there's still a valid complaint here.

    I just hope the person is more interested in getting an explanation and helping ensure it doesn't happen again than going after compensation. To be fair, that hasn't been mentioned yet so let's give the person the benefit of the doubt that they have good intentions AND haven't lied!
     
  16. TEW

    TEW Established Member

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    Having dispatch staff wearing hi viz is useful so they stand out in a busy platform, I know on FGW they were yellow rather than orange hi viz, so there is no confusion about them being allowed on the tracks.
     
  17. ralphchadkirk

    ralphchadkirk Established Member

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    If he was on a ramp, which would block the doorway, then surely there's no way it could "repeatedly crash into his wheelchair" or "crush his wife's hand".
     
  18. ANorthernGuard

    ANorthernGuard Established Member

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    Wait until the facts come out before spouting Sarcasm,it doesn't help anybody or provide anything useful to the debate!
     
  19. ajax103

    ajax103 Established Member

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    All First TOCs require their dispatchers to wear a hi vis vest, I believe National Express is the only operator not to do so which is something carried over from GNER days.

    Very true, FCC staff usually are ready and waiting with the wheelchair ramp on the platform prior to the train arriving however it's not always helped by the fact that despite passengers having booked the assistance for the request to not come though for some reason.

    Some wheelchair passengers have different needs to others, 2 of the regulars I know just need a ramp to get on the train and they're fine getting off.

    Welwyn GC only has staff dispatching on Platforms 3 and 4 as Platforms 1 and 2 are fully DOO and as I've said above ALL dispatchers wear hi vis vests as it's a requirement by First Group.

    Finally please remember all that there is always two sides to a story, okay please just wait for all the facts to come out.
     
  20. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    I've seen FCC platform staff wearing pink hi-viz- no confusion with orange, and fits the corporate colour scheme...
     
  21. WestCoast

    WestCoast Established Member

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    I don't think Virgin dispatchers wear high vis. jackets. Some wear bright red coats though!

    Which reminds me of something a visitor from Canada said to me a couple of years ago, "everyone wears those jackets in this country".:lol:
     
  22. bignosemac

    bignosemac Established Member

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    That's a bit contradictory.

    FCC issued a denial. Is that not their side of the story?
     
  23. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    FCC denied assistance was booked. They didn't say someone wasn't hit by the doors, whether once or repeatedly.
     
  24. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    I took this:
    to mean that the doors tried to close while the inspector was getting the ramp. Ie the driver thought everyone was off but this couple were still waiting for the ramp.
     
  25. Bungle73

    Bungle73 On Moderation

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    If they were waiting for the ramp why would he be in the doorway? His wheelchair would have had to have been sticking out of the train to obstruct the doors.
     
  26. Username

    Username Member

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    Wheelchair users are generally recommended to disembark by coming backwards down a ramp.
    If they were waiting for the ramp in this position then I imagine it's possible that his wife could have been standing on the platform whilst still holding the handles of the wheelchair.
    This then could mean the chair handles were above the threshold and in line with the doors as they tried to close.
     
  27. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    The safety poster at Hatfield (for buggies) does say to board with the buggy facing forwards, and to alight by pulling the buggy off backwards.

    Realising the train was going to London, it would have been platform 2, not 3 as I'd previously said. It would have also been the up fast.
     
  28. EM2

    EM2 Established Member

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    Even if the customer didn't book assistance, I'd be very surprised if he wasn't assisted by staff at Peterborough. Otherwise, how did he get on board?
    And if that is so, did staff at Peterborough contact the staff at Welwyn?
     
  29. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I would have thought you could board a wheelchair on a 365 if you had help. He was with someone else.
     
  30. ralphchadkirk

    ralphchadkirk Established Member

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    A member of staff will have to get a ramp though. Hence EM2's post.
     
  31. EM2

    EM2 Established Member

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    I don't know the platforms at Peterborough, though. Jon has a point, in that if the gap between train and platfrom is minimal, then a wheelchair user can board without the use of a ramp.
    If that is what happened, and staff didn't know he'd boarded, how would they know to get the ramp for him, to get off at Welwyn?
     
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