Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting BOREHAMWOOD to 80360, or email us
Step free access to be built at Elstree & Borehamwood station, say First Capital Connect
Step free access will be built at Elstree & Borehamwood station after a wheelchair bound boy was banned from getting onto a train last week.
Managers at the Shenley Road station said they were “inspired” after reading a story in last week’s Borehamwood and Elstree Times about Benjamin Marks who was initially told his wheelchair posed “health and safety issues.”
The 20-year-old, who cannot walk or talk and requires 24 hour care, had been looking forward to a day out at the Olympics with his parents and his carer.
His mother, Erica Marks, was left feeling disgusted at the station attendant's decision and said that in an “ideal world” bosses would consider building lifts at the station.
Larry Heyman, First Capital Connect’s intergration and partnership manager, told the Borehamwood and Elstree Times : “After I saw Erica and Benjamin’s story, I felt very upset for them and realised how important it is to install step free access there.
“It had been on the cards for a long time but the story inspired me to contact my bosses at First Capital Connect to find out what is going on.
“They told me funding has now been accepted for it and I was over the moon. This is going to help so many people.
“I am dedicated to providing better facilities and support for people at the station, this will help everyone – mothers with prams and elderly people.
“Once again, I offer my apologies to Mrs Marks and Benjamin for what happened.”
Benjamin was eventually allowed onto the train after his father stood up to the attendants.
Step free access is currently only available at Elstree & Borehamwood station on the London bound platform, platform one.
Commuters in wheelchairs or with prams returning from London currently have to travel to St Albans and take a train back towards London to get off on platform one at Elstree & Borehamwood.
The upgrade, which includes a new footbridge and three new lifts, has been funded by the Department for Transport’s Access for All Programme.
Work is set to start in September 2012, and should be finished by June 2013.
A statement from Network Rail said: “These new improvements will make a big difference to passengers, especially those with reduced mobility or small kids.
“They are part of our plans to build a bigger, better railway. The new lifts and footbridge will better meet the needs of passengers.”