Former Paralympian left stranded in cold on Dewsbury platform

Paul Cartwright.
Paul Cartwright.

A former Paralympian has lashed out at rail authorities after being left stranded on a Dewsbury Train Station platform.

Paraplegic Liversedge resident Paul Cartwright, a former British wheelchair sprinting champion, was returning to his car from a trip to Manchester when he found himself marooned with nowhere to go.

Staff had left for the evening, leaving Mr Cartwright alone with no access to the locked-up lift.

“Nearly 25 years on from the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act this sort of thing shouldn’t be happening,” he said.

“I was frozen to the bone and didn’t get a wink of sleep that night because I was still so cold.

“We’re in the 21st century and disabled people aren’t what we used to be - some of us have a life! We’re not in the dark ages.”

Having been alerted via an emergency phone, authorities managed to stop an express train to Newcastle and after Mr Cartwright was taken to Leeds, Trans-Pennine Express supplied a taxi back to his car in Dewsbury.

“The staff who helped me were great and this isn’t a slight on them, but it’s about taking a stand about what’s right, and legally right.

“If the keypad has to be locked then give people with disabilities access. Get it sorted.

“Disabled people shouldn’t be discriminated against in this day and age.”

Mr Cartwright did praise a gentleman who helped him while he was stuck on the platform at Dewsbury.

"I was stuck and there was a bloke on his own on the opposite platform who came over to help me.

"A train came and went and I asked him, 'what time is your train?' and that was it.

"He went out of his way to help me. I didn't get his name but I'd like to thank him for what he did for me."

Dewsbury Train Station has long been the central focus of a campaign to improve disabled access in train stations across the region.

A spokesperson for Trans-Pennine Express said: “We were truly sorry to hear about Mr Cartwright’s experience at Dewsbury station yesterday and we did everything we could to ensure he could get home.

“Dewsbury station does have customer lifts but due to significant antisocial behaviour that has previously taken place in the lifts themselves we had to close this service out of hours - when the station was not staffed.

“We appreciate that this is not ideal, but feel this is the right decision given that the safety of all our customers is of paramount importance to us.

“Information about accessibility and features at all our stations can be found on our website and on National Rail Enquiries.”