One-hour, 20-mile round trip for nurse on wrong side of the tracks

Ridiculous: Sheffield nurse Karen Redmile, aged 42, is furious after a change in railway station rules means her train home leaves her stranded on the opposite platform.
Ridiculous: Sheffield nurse Karen Redmile, aged 42, is furious after a change in railway station rules means her train home leaves her stranded on the opposite platform.
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SHEFFIELD nurse Karen Redmile faces an hour-long 20-mile round trip into another county - just to get to the opposite platform - when she catches a train home.

Karen, an anti-coagulation nurse based at both the Royal Hallamshire Hospital and the Northern General, travels to work by train, and returns home to Thorne North railway station near Doncaster.

But, due to a disability which can affect her movement, she sometimes uses a wheelchair and is accustomed to being helped across the tracks to the opposite platform where there is a ramp out of the station, rather than stairs.

But Karen was stunned when the train conductor who usually helps her - as well as helping mums with pushchairs and elderly passengers - told her if she wanted to get to the other side of the platform after 2pm she would now have to catch a train to Goole, and then back to Thorne.

Karen, aged 42, says there are no signs alerting passengers to the rule change.

“The station has disabled parking and a ramp at one side, which clearly suggests it is user-friendly for disabled people - but if you end up on the other side of the platform you’re stranded!” she said.

“It’s ridiculous. There are steps up to the bridge across the track, and a set of steep steps down, but that’s it unless you are allowed across the track.”

Karen, who has Behcet’s Disease, said Network Rail told her provision would be made for disabled people to travel to Goole free of charge, but not for OAPs or mums with pushchairs.

“I was told I could travel to Goole for free, but that’s not the point,” she said. “I don’t want to be adding an extra hour to my journey, and whether it’s the law or not it’s still discrimination.”

A Northern Rail spokesman said they were aware of the access issues at Thorne North and were working hard to address them.

He said they inform all passengers with wheelchairs or pushchairs as they buy their ticket that there will be no access after 2pm on their return, and provide them with information on how to return safely.

The spokesman added: “We are sorry the current situation inconveniences our passengers and we are working hard to provide the best service we can. We display posters at the entrance to all our stations and on every timetable, urging anyone with access issues to call to discuss how their journeys can be made.”