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Welsh train station kissing-type gate could trap disabled people and children in prams

Llanrwst grandfather, John Court

DISABLED people and those with small children could be left stranded at a Conwy Valley station due to a kissing-type gate preventing wheelchairs and prams from getting through, says a ‘frustrated’ councillor.

Llanrwst grandfather John Court is just one passenger who almost found himself stuck on the platform at Dolgarrog Station, which was refurbished in recent years.

John says passengers getting off at the remote Conwy Valley station would find themselves stranded if they can’t squeeze through the ‘kissing gate’.

Grandad John, 61, said he was livid when he was forced to lift a pram over the gate but fears those with disabilities could get completely stuck.

“I’ve got a thing about disability rights, and they are getting ignored all over the country, people parking on disabled bays, people parking on drop curbs,” he said.

“The gates at Dolgarrog Station won’t open to allow someone with a pram or wheelchair to get through.

“It is absolutely disgraceful. My grandson has just had his second birthday. We were going on a walk, his father and me, from Dolgarrog Station to Dolgarrog, and we found once we got over the railway track, we were stuck. It was lucky there were two of us. We had to take my grandson out the pram, and then I had to lift the pram physically over the gate while my daughter’s boyfriend carried him through the gate.

“My concern is if somebody in a disabled carriage gets off at Dolgarrog, they are stuck. The only other way out is onto the A470, and the last place you want to be with a disabled carriage or a wheelchair is on the wrong side of the A470. I was absolutely livid.”

Cllr Aaron Wynne said he had contacted Network Rail but claimed the company hadn’t responded.

“Network Rail invested in a new station at Dolgarrog; however, there is a kissing gate at the station. So if a wheelchair user or someone with a pram gets off at the station, they are stuck,” he said.

“I’ve been trying for months to get a commitment from Network Rail to replace the gates so it is accessible to everyone, but I can’t get that commitment.

“It’s inevitable that someone in a wheelchair or someone pushing a baby in a pram will get stuck at the station for potentially a couple of hours. It (the train) takes a couple of hours to go one way down the Conwy Valley and come back, so potentially someone could get stuck on the platform for hours.

“There’s a lot of money that has been invested in the station, but at the moment, only able-bodied people can get off, which really isn’t fair.”

Network Rail were contacted for a comment.