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Disabled man left stranded on platform told to wait for HOURS – and staff refused to help him

Disabled man is left stranded on platform and told to wait for HOURS after his train was cancelled half-way through journey – and staff refused to help him for ‘health and safety’ reasons

  • Wheelchair user Chris Nicholson stranded on train platform in Milton Keynes
  • The lift was out of service, as were the toilets on the hottest day of the year
  • Station staff refused to help Chris up the steps due to ‘health and safety’ reasons 
  • Chris was eventually forced to drag himself and his wheelchair up the stairs 
  • Incident sparked outrage with many venting at ‘ableist’ Avanti West Coast trains

There has been an outpouring of outrage after a wheelchair-bound fitness enthusiast was stranded on a train platform with a broken lift and no disabled toilet – and staff refused to help him on the hottest day of the year.

Former rugby player Chris Nicholson was on his way to London for a fitness event when his connecting train at Milton Keynes station was cancelled, meaning he needed to change platforms to catch an alternative.

Chris took to Instagram to explain one of his ‘worst days in a long time.’

The platform lift was out of order – and had been for seven days – leaving the disabled wheelchair user with only stairs to access the next platform, and Avanti West Coast staff refused to help him up them due to health and safety reasons.

He was told he would have to wait on the platform without a disabled toilet for four to five hours while they rerouted a train specially for him – which would not be necessary if staff helped him up the stairs. 

Those able to change platforms could take an alternative train in 40 minutes.

Avanti staff told him that he would have to wait there and even refused him permission to use the able-bodied toilets, which were also out of service.

According to Chris, with a full bladder causing presure on his lower back, he was left with no option but to ‘bum shuffle’ himself up two flights of stairs. Avanti staff said they could and would not help him because they deemed it ‘too much of a risk to them’.

Former rugby player Chris Nicholson was on his way to London for a fitness event when he got stranded on a platform due to a cancelled train and a faulty lift

Former rugby player Chris Nicholson was on his way to London for a fitness event when he got stranded on a platform due to a cancelled train and a faulty lift

Station staff told Chris he would have to wait four to five hours for a train to be re-routed to him while others could simply go up the stairs and change platform for a 40 minute wait

Station staff told Chris he would have to wait four to five hours for a train to be re-routed to him while others could simply go up the stairs and change platform for a 40 minute wait

Chris had no way of getting from platform six to platform one due to the faulty life, with staff refusing to help him up the stairs on health and safety grounds

Chris had no way of getting from platform six to platform one due to the faulty life, with staff refusing to help him up the stairs on health and safety grounds

The lift was out of service

The platform was metres away but Chris had no way of getting there

Eventually Chris was forced to drag himself and his wheelchair up the stairs while staff watched – until a member of the public helped him

‘They weren’t willing to even take my f***ing bags,’ he said. 

‘A gentleman from platform one saw me struggle and he helped me,’ Chris went on to explain, carrying his wheelchair up the first flight of stairs.

It was only when Chris started crying half way through that station staff started to show concern for him, with the assistant manager complaining to the manager, according to Chris. 

‘Because of health and safety reasons, that they would be liable, they couldn’t do the decent human thing and help me,’ Chris said.

Eventually the assistant station manager ignored instruction and helped Chris and his bags up the stairs.

Chris wished for the station manager to ‘really consider how much it’s actually affected me because I would hate to see your family members put through that.’

Chris said on Instagram after the ordeal: ‘My back’s in bits, I’m tired, I’m really emotional. One of the worst days in a long time. I was looking forward to coming down, not in a good spot which is unusual for me.’ 

Afterwards, there was an explosion of outrage on social media, with much of it directed at train service Avanti West Coast.

Chris said afterwards that his back was 'in bits' and that 'I'm tired, I'm really emotional.' It was  'one of the worst days in a long time. I was looking forward to coming down, not in a good spot which is unusual for me'

Chris said afterwards that his back was ‘in bits’ and that ‘I’m tired, I’m really emotional.’ It was  ‘one of the worst days in a long time. I was looking forward to coming down, not in a good spot which is unusual for me’

‘Is this seriously the world we live in?! Honestly disgusted people can still be treated like this,’ one user wrote.

‘@avantiwestcoast Are you seriously this unprofessional, unethical and ableist?’ another said. 

Former rugby player and avid fitness enthusiast Chris suffered a spinal and brain injury in 2014 while playing rugby that left him wheelchair bound. 

He now speaks about his experience and and the journey he has been on to overcome the trauma and get on with his life.

He has climbed Mt Snowden in his wheelchair and completed the London Marathon. 

Avanti West Coast have been contacted for comment. 

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