Emma's fight to make Kirkby train station wheelchair accessible

Emma Donaldson is campaigning to get Kirkby station accessible
Emma Donaldson is campaigning to get Kirkby station accessible

A wheelchair user with a rare condition who has spent four years campaigning to make a train station more disabled-friendly said she will not give up.

Emma Donaldson, who ran a petition which was handed into Parliament in 2015 is still campaigning to make Kirkby Train Station on Lane End accessible.

The 32-year-old of Buckingham Avenue, Hucknall has limited arm movement and cannot use her legs due to focal cervical spinal atrophy and says the lack of facilities stops her visiting friends in Kirkby.

Ms Donaldson who regularly uses The Robin Hood Line which runs from Nottingham to Worksop and passes through Kirkby, said: “It has been four years since I first brought up the issue, I want to highlight it again.

“Four years ago I got 500 signatures and they went to Parliament and still nothing has been done. Disabled people don’t have the best luck.

“Now I know more about funding, maybe this time we can concur it.”

Ms Donaldson said she has to get a train from Hucknall to Sutton Parkway Station as she cannot access the Kirkby station, having to get additional transport into the town.

She said: “It would mean a lot to be able to use the station.

“I also know that people with buggies struggle to use the station.”

Ms Donaldson said she might start an online petition to make changes to the station but for now she just wants to highlight the issue again.

She said: “I need to get as many people together as I can.

“It is not just Kirkby station there is a national problem with accessibility. In this day and age there shouldn’t be. ”

A spokeswoman from Network Rail which manage the nations railways, said: “There are a number of stations across the country, such as Kirkby, which were built many years ago with little consideration of accessibility. We are committed to improving access at stations and work closely with our funders, including the Department for Transport (DfT) to deliver improvements.

“DfT has a dedicated fund, known as ‘Access for All’ which is used to make improvements at stations. The decision about which schemes receive funding is made by the DfT with the support of Network Rail and train operation companies.

"This process considers a number of factors including current access arrangements, passenger numbers and feedback from local stakeholders. Unfortunately, Kirkby does not currently have funding in the current ‘Access for All’ funding cycle (2014-2019) but should additional funds become available through third party investment, we would be happy to work on improved access solutions with all interested parties.”

An East Midlands Trains spokeswoman, said: “Most of the rail network was built many generations ago when the needs of passengers with reduced mobility were regrettably not taken into account. We are working hard to put that right and invest hundreds of thousands of pounds every year on improvements such as the introduction of lower counter ticket windows, handrails and accessible toilets and the vast majority of our stations are now accessible.

“The Department for Transport’s Access for All Scheme provides funding for larger accessibility schemes.

"Those using Kirkby station who are unable to access the platforms are currently offered a free taxi service to Sutton Parkway, the nearest accessible station, when they book travel assistance through our dedicated passenger assistance helpline.”