Anorak News | Going Nowhere

Going Nowhere

by | 28th, April 2006

‘“IS this the 7:25 service to Waterloo?” asks the woman. The train guard checks his watch. He notes that it is now 8:15. He is about to say yes. But checks himself. Where is the train heading?

‘Are we there yet?’

He can’t read the sign in the carriage. The LCD display is just too small. He steps closer. But, no, it’s no good. He blows his whistle. “All change. This train is being taken out of service. All change.”

And so it is that South West trains removes 28 trains from the tracks. As the Times reports, the lettering on the carriages’ information screens is wrong. Rules clearly state that letters should be at least 35mm high in the verticle; and these are 32mm.

It is not the guard’s fault you can’t get a train. He is just doing his job. It’s the people on the Disabled Persons’ Transport Advisory Committee. The DPTAC argues that the small letters could make it hard for those with learning difficulties and the sight impaired to understand the words.

Sure, the onboard guard announces each station upon arrival, runs down the route as the train pulls away from each station. And, granted, the ticket collector knows the way. But it is not enough. The trains need to be removed from service.

Roger Ford, editor of Modern Railways, calls it “political correctness gone mad”. He points out that less trains means a worse service for the disabled “because they suffer more on overcrowded trains than ordinary passengers”.

While the DPTAC surely contemplates taking Ford to task for calling them less then ordinary, special even, another disabled charity says it supports the move.

Guy Parckar, a spokesman for the charity Leonard Cheshire, tells the paper: “Passengers should blame overcrowding on SWT… Three millimetres might sound tiny but the rules are there for a reason. “

Without irony he continues: “Disabled people face great difficulties in accessing the rail network and the regulations must be adhered to if the situation is to improve.”

Meanwhile the platform is getting increasingly crowed as passengers wait for the next train. And the woman’s foot gets run over by a wheelchair…’

Posted: 28th, April 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink