Inquiry launched over train snub

RAIL operator One has launched an investigation after a disabled woman and her husband were forced to wait more than two hours at an unmanned station when a conductor refused to hold a train for the couple of minutes it took her to reach it.

By David Lennard

RAIL operator One has launched an investigation after a disabled woman and her husband were forced to wait more than two hours at an unmanned station when a conductor refused to hold a train for the couple of minutes it took her to reach it.

Christine Hayward, of Leiston, walks with the aid of two sticks, but together with her husband John, is determined to make light of her disability.

Last week the couple purchased an all-day ticket with One Railway that enabled them to travel over a wide area of East Anglia's branch lines.


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They caught a train from Saxmundham to Lowestoft, and then got another train to Norwich, before heading off to Cromer on the north Norfolk coast.

After an enjoyable day out the couple were using the same route to return home but ran into problems when their train pulled into Lowestoft station.

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"Our train was running slightly late and we knew it would be touch and go whether we caught our next train from Lowestoft to Saxmundham," said Mrs Hayward.

"When we pulled in to Lowestoft we could see the Ipswich-bound train on the other platform so my husband went round and said to the conductor that I was disabled and would only be a couple of minutes before making my way on board.

"The conductor said, 'sorry mate, we cannot wait' and the train pulled away off when I was just a few yards away."

The next train was not for another two hours and 15 minutes and the couple had to wait from 6.45pm to 9pm at the station at a time when the facility was unmanned.

"It was a sad end to what had been a lovely day out but I do believe that the railway staff could have been more helpful," said Mrs Hayward.

The couple said it would have been even worse if a young mother with a baby, or an elderly person, had been forced to wait for such a long time.

"We appreciate it was not an official train connection but surely One should review their timetable to make it so.

"Staff could also show a little more understanding for their passengers," said Mrs Hayward.

A spokeswoman for One Railway said yesterday that an investigation into the incident would be held.

"As there is only two minutes between one train arriving and the other leaving Lowestoft it would not be an official connection," she said.

"If the staff on board the Ipswich-bound train had been told to leave Lowestoft by the control room in London they would have no other choice but I would like to apologise to the couple concerned and a full investigation will be carried out."

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