Flitwick dad's railway station disability access campaign goes national
A campaigner who says that step free access for disabled people should be available at all stations has taken his fight for justice national.
Ian Cook, who lives in Flitwick suffered from polio as a child and lives with the repercussions of the illness which affects his mobility.
The Times & Citizen has previously reported that Ian was campaigning for better access at Flitwick Railway Station, for himself and other disabled rail users.
But the dad has now decided to expand his campaign, setting up a website and applying for funding to launch a national legal bid so that all stations in the country will be made rail accessible.
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Ian said: "I realised Flitwick is not unique. There are around 2500 train stations across the UK that do not allow people to travel step free. And that’s just not right in this day and age.
"I’ve seen targets and deadlines come and go, and those that just don’t go far enough."
In June 2013 the Department for Transport stated that by January 2020 all passenger rail vehicles must be accessible, but with a month to go many disabled users are still struggling to take the train.
Ian said: "If all passenger trains are to be accessible, by 1 January, 2020, if the train is not accessible from the platform, due no lift, or the gap between platform and train, then it is not accessible, so will have to be taken out of service!!!!!!
"Thameslink trains are great if you can get on them from the platform, but it is impossible, at some, due to the gap, the lack of staff to help and the lack of lifts to get on the platform in the first place."
And Ian says that his campaign is wider reaching still: "We’re not only campaigning on behalf of people with limited mobility - it goes much further than that. Families with pushchairs, holidaymakers travelling to airports. This is a problem that is highly likely to affect everyone at some point. If Mid Beds Conservative Ms Dorries is re-elected in December we look forward to her delivering on the promise she made this week to bring the campaign for step free access to the Secretary of State and Network Rail.
"We’ve extended an invitation to attend our next committee meeting to better understand exactly how she’s going to deliver on that promise, but we have yet to hear back.
"We have invited all candidates in this area to join us and have has a positive response from most of them, after the election those who have contacted us, will be attending our committee meetings, so Cross Party support is our aim and we seem to have achieved that."
Despite all of the setbacks, of the last 30 years, Ian says that disabled people will not be deterred from campaigning on this issue.
He said: "We look forward to working with whoever is elected come December to achieve our goal, which is seamless travel on our railway network, for all who have mobility problems, without help.
"I am getting legal advice about whether the failure to adapt stations is lawful."
If you would like to find out more about Ian's campaign click HERE